Over the past month I have started this post about a hundred times, deleted most of them, left and restarted some, deleted those and ended up with a list.
The foundation of this plan of mine started close to ten years ago, back when I was mountain biking frequently and the internet was exposing us to multi-day scenic riding events in some very cool places. My friend and riding buddy, Miles was very attracted to the idea of the Trans-Africa ride, north to south over a few weeks, but for myself I liked the idea of the multi-day Trans-Alps race in Europe. After months of reading and pondering I decided that this would be my 50th birthday present to myself, and the idea of having my 50th in Europe was conceived. Over the past few years my riding has languished and the training involved was too hard (I need some concrete pills), but as the idea of having my 50th in Europe never really left I elected to leave my job in June/July 2012, take a couple of months break and see the bits I missed when I was there in the eighties.
As happens all too frequently circumstances changed at work, I was extremely stressed, over worked and in the end so unhappy I gave three months notice and resigned in October. This left me with the prospect of going to Europe over winter or finding an alternative – so the visit to SE Asia was planned.
Numerous people who know me well, have asked why SE Asia ?, and why so long ? The why is easy, I have always wanted to visit Angor Wat and I want to see orang-utans ! That is it! I could easily do those in a couple of weeks, so why so long ? Buggered if I know !
SE Asia is so severely outside my comfort zone, everything about going there and being there is a challenge. From getting off the first flight in to the heat and humidity of Singapore to the complete lack of a plan of how, where and when it should end is just not how I roll or have rolled for the past 49 years. I believe that if I can survive a few weeks, months even better, travelling in SE Asia, then I can survive anything !
I see this as a challenge to myself, an opportunity for me to change the way I see Phil Platt, and hopefully make him a better person at the end of it. If I don’t do the time and leave for Europe or back to New Zealand in a couple of weeks I will not see this as a failure, but I will be glad that I at least tried !
Below is the list of why I think this idea is a bit ridiculous.
Like many people I have irrational fears of many things; Spiders, snakes, sharks, heights, unexplained noises at night, other peoples driving on tight, windy roads with cliff edges, being mugged (experienced it, not nice !), being scammed/pick pocketed etc.
I also have a completely rational fear of zombies and sometimes they DO keep me awake at night, this is completely true and I will get up in the night and close a window if I am feeling it !
I dislike; heat and humidity, crowds, drunks, loud people (especially loud drunk people !), smokers and worst of all – other peoples bad taste in music.
I am uncomfortable with; standing out – hence I don’t do street photography, confrontation – even with people i know, being alone – I can easily go into hibernate mode if I don’t watch out, approaching strangers for companionship or to travel, seeing the poverty, beggars, the crippled and the other sites and smells of the third world.
I suffer from insomnia and really like dark, quite, cool places to sleep, or I will go days without sleeping.
In a way I am quite naive, I have no idea if my plan, or lack of plan is a good thing, if cruising SE Asia on my own at 49 and 25 years away from any other travel experience is a smart thing to do
So all in all is this trip “Crazy ? yes, Dumb ? no ! I guess I will find out.