Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum
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LATEST 1st February 2009
This Diary has been a daily part of my life for over two years.... But, our cycling is now over and we return to Australia on the 25th February 2009. We had intended cycling more in Vietnam, however, it is too dangerous for us to continue on our Trikes. Initially our cycling was to be 5-7 years, but, the global financial meltdown has caught us in it's death grip.
All we can do is return and salvage what we can of our financial lives. We both know it is going to be tough and we are aware we will have an entirely different future than what “seemed” to be the case when we started.
The return date was set in mid 2007. when we could see the “writing on the wall”. Which was alluded to in our “Philosophy Pages” (Still being written) at the time. It was at this time we purchased our tickets on Tiger Airways. Luckily we purchased in Singapore Dollars that were AUD$0.70 at the time – now a Singapore dollar will cost us about AUD$1.05. Iceland is the only developed country to have dropped more than Australia.
We have now bought a ticket from Saigon to Singapore – Again on Tiger Airways as they are one of the few “bike friendly” airlines. We leave Saigon – (Ho Chi Min City) on the 23rd of February 2009.
Our diary will continue until we get home, with photographs and daily reports – so please check in.
There is a daunting task ahead of us and that is, trying to thank so many people for their kindness and hospitality. I tried, but soon realised I could not name everyone and it would be unfair to single out those that helped “the most”.
Plus of course “the most” is very difficult to quantify, each and every time was “the most” for us..... For those with a lot and those that had so little and gave so much, we are truly humbled and grateful. We will never forget you all......
After our return we will send a “personal” thank you, to as many as possible.
Living our lives like we do, means some contacts will be lost – and are lost. It is just the nature of living out of a “Pannier”.
Our “Thumb Drive” which contained a lot of our contacts was lost in Europe. The file was heavily encrypted, so even if the drive is found by someone, it would be next to impossible to get their details. Almost a year has passed since the loss and no one has reported a “compromise”.
Business cards, and other means of keeping addresses get wet, bleached and destroyed in a myriad of ways... Rest assured we will try our best to contact you all.
To those we have never met, who have emailed or signed our guestbook, we want to thank you too. Cycling in particular and travelling in general can take it's toll on ones “psyche”... it was always inspiring to get the messages of support and the criticism.
We only recorded A-B travel (town to town) on our website hence our statistics are rather meaningless, however we think we have cycled around 20,000 kilometres. As our computers have died many many times – as those reading this diary will know – they do not have the total mileage on them. Virtually none (just a little) of the mileage we did, when using the bikes for transport, on our lengthy stops, was recorded.
We have cycled in or through 18 countries.
Cycled on three continents
We have camped in temperatures well bellow freezing, in very oppressive heat, torrential rain and snow.
We have cycled in snow, snow storms, ice, and torrential rain.
We have eaten all manner of food and have both become Vegetarian, as a result of witnessing the most extreme animal cruelty.
We have made 7 flights with our bikes – The ONLY one who treated us badly, was Emirates – see warnings
Countless crossings of oceans, rivers and canals, by ships/boats of various types.
Travelled under and over several rivers.
Used train, bus, and car/ute/truck to transport our bikes.
Crossed more than 20 borders.
We have stayed in several hundred guesthouses/hotels/camping parks etc...
We have spent countless nights in the wilderness, in our tent.
Out CATRIKE trikes, NEVER let us down. Not ONE single standard component caused us any problem whatsoever.
Mal lost his Mum and she is very dearly missed.
Our dog Suzie has passed on and we miss her too.
I have a Grandaughter I have never seen.
We have stayed with over 25 families.
Have witnessed life on a level never before imagined.
Mal has lost about 20+ kilos (about 44 pounds).
Lee has remained stable throughout, however, muscle is heavier than fat, so she is very trim.
Both of us are fitter than at almost any time in our adult lives.
We have both gained that which is hard to quantify – a kind of acceptance and serenity.
Apart from severe sunburn in South Australia and flu in Britain, we have rarely been sick and are both healthy.
Australia changed its Prime Minister
America and Canada changed their leaders.
Britain Changed its P.M. – All of this, in the time we have been away.
Plus, there are many more political, financial and global changes, than ever seemed possible..
Couchsurfing – People you can stay with FREE all over the world.
Warmshowers - Cyclists you can stay with FREE all over the world.
WOULD WE DO IT AGAIN – NO.
DID WE ENJOY IT? - Most of it – a resounding, unequivocal YES!!! The memories will last to our graves. The minor exceptions and altercations, have largely faded from memory.
We will cycle again, but, not the same route. Nor with much of the same equipment.
We are planning our next cycling adventure, but it will be China, Russia, Korea and Japan. If the middle east settles down, we will include India, Sri Lanka and many of the Arab-Islamic countries.
On our “wish-list” is the Americas, including Canada... But the vagaries of immigration – particularly the USA, makes this difficult.
All this depends on our ability to salvage whatever we can from our investments... If anything.... Or a bit of old fashioned LUCK.
WHAT WILL WE DO NEXT?
The simplest answer is “we do not know”. It is certain we need to find work, so if anyone out there wants a couple of people with our unique abilities.... We are not deterred by extreme challenges and “think outside the box”....Please contact us.. HERE. We will be get back to you ASAP.
“Sticky” (permanent notice)
PLEASE NOTE: Some people have been upset that we have not emailed, yet they have seen our site update. We can update our site in a matter of seconds in all sorts of situations.. Our diary is done daily in our tent, without internet in most cases. It is IMPOSSIBLE to cope with email during many of our internet opportunities. We WILL email you as soon as we can get sustainable internet for a reasonable length of time... We cannot download and reply “off line” as we need to conserve battery power in our laptop, for our diary's.... PLEASE be patient it may take weeks but we WILL try and reply to everyone...Thanks for your patience - Mal & Lee.
April 2008: Web Page added to our site Testimonial to a couple we admire and respect Andrew and Joanne Hooker – Adventure Cyclists.
May 2007 – counter added
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