Trip planning is in full swing and we have run up against our first full snag: shipping the bikes from Vladivostok to Valparaiso. When Patrick shipped his bike from Korea to Chile he paid just under 500 US for the bike. We were hoping around 800 per bike either by air or by ship from Russia. The quote came back, we can not ship per bike, we need to rent an entire container. For close on to $5000 (we were quoted 4, 500 but that does not include harbor fees in Chile, so we are thinking in the end it will be more like 5,000). The thing is a container fits up to 8 bikes. We are 3 bikes. That means 5 more could fit and that would bring the costs down dramatically (although cheap it will not be). So if you know anyone with plans to try and get a bike out of Russia in October in the direction of South America, pass on our address!
Patrick In Mongolia:
But that also means it is crunch time. We have 4 months (more or less to the day) before we head off on our world trip. (The date is flexible, Patrick wants to leave the 25th or 26th of May. This is when the house in Tuscany becomes available and the rest of his family head to Italy for 2 weeks of vacation. I am torn between this is much better than working, and that 4 extra days of work brings in enough money to finance half a month on the road). But then life is short, and this was really hammered home last week when I lost my Aunt Liz to cancer. There is one good thing that comes out of the grief of a loss, it really brings home just what, and who, is important. 4 days of work is very little in the grand scheme of things, and Patrick’s family have become mine. In the end what will I gain from those 4 days working versus the memories of the 4 extra days in Italy with family?
Either way, the very last day to head off is May 31st, because we plan to have the apartment rented, and although flexibility is the most important thing you can bring to a trip, postponing departure should be an absolute last resort!
But this Russia thing is freaking us out, we checked with a shipping agent in Korea (flexibility is good, we don’t HAVE to fly out of Russia) and we were quoted 1,500 per bike. They refuse to fly them and Patrick seems to have lucked out last time with getting someone to ship it for 500. At 1,500 it is about the same price as from Russia, since we still need to get us and the bikes to Korea, and the ferry ride for that is quoted as 500. Therefore we might as well do it from Russia without the hassle of trying to ride in Korea.
If worse comes to worse we will just change our plans and ship from Europe or another direction, or suck it up and spend the money. (3 bikes, 3 people, we are looking at about 3 – 4000 to get us all out from Russia, versus if we ship from Europe about 2000 per person with bike). Or we ride to Russia anyway and see what happens when we get there.
Which is sometimes hard to explain to your non-traveling friends. “All that money, are you crazy?” (probably) “what if something happens” (you deal with it, stuff happens at home as well) and “what if you fail?” (you fail! You still had the ride of your life, you met some wonderful people along the way, and your photos are cool, if not of every country you had planned to have them of). With motorcycle travel it really is the truth that it is much more about the journey than the destination. Although sometimes you may just find you end up with more than you bargained for, including an innocent foray into a bar that results in an unexpected pillion in Argentina, and a new roommate in Germany.
But if you are thinking about a trip and somehow the search engine spit this page out, then I would say do it do it do it! But be ready for anything! And there is the kicker, being ready for anything means being ready for anything, and that can include a trip that is much longer than anticipated (from 1 year to 18 as in the case of these guys, who thought they would be gone for 6 months) or maybe even a much shorter trip than anticipated. I firmly believe that just as much as you should never let someone talk you out of your dream, neither should you let the pressure kick in and keep you in something you may want to bail on. And by bail I mean something you are already doing. Not giving up in the planning stages, not cool!
The trick is knowing what is what. You should not pack it in at the first sign of homesickness. But don’t be an idiot and push yourself into doing something you can not do – like keeping up with your boyfriend who has been riding for over 10 years and has literally ridden half way around the world, things like this happen:
Which is me going crazy from the pain and boredom of the after effects of crashing my motorcycle into the side of a Turkish mountain as a result of trying to go as fast as Patrick in a curve.
We often forget that romantic ideas are just that, romantic, only the real definition of it. The one that comes with all the pain and anguish as well as those intense highs. If the romance is not part of the fun, there is no reason in sticking around. (Really, when you see us wet and miserable on the side of the road we are absolutely that, have no doubt about it. But we are also having the time of our lives. We will not trade those bad days when it means losing all the fantastic days. It is part of the sacrifice). In the end even the worse events turn into fantastic stories. As is demonstrated by this podcast from Simon and Lisa, a couple who have been traveling the world for years on their bikes, and he broke his neck in the Amazon:
Would you say they wanted that to happen? Of course not. Did they accept it was a possibility? Of course, we all sit on our bikes and we know we are taking our lives into our hands. But while we are on it we are having the time of our lives. But if you are not, it makes no sense to pretend you are. But I would recommend that you at least stick it out a little but to make sure it’s not a temporary reaction.
Wow, that went on longer than I anticipated. I just had a train ride home to kill and thought I could give a shout out to the internet world should someone out there be facing the same shipping issues as we are, which got me started on the family events of the past week and thinking about quiting before you get started, or changing plans, and then I began to ramble.
Enjoy Episode 9 while we are it, if you made it this far you deserve a reward: