From July 2015

Trial tour… or not?

Well, well… There was this gorgeous idea, that spontaneously popped up: European championships of ultimate frisbee are happening this week in Copenhagen and a lot of very good friends of mine are playing there, many of them for the German national teams. And those are doing really well, each on their path to winning a medal. As you can imagine, I would have loved to be there to watch games, particularly finals.

So, when I did not get the lifestream to work two days ago, a friend of mine and me spontanteously came up with the idea ‘why don’t we simply cycle to Copenhagen to watch the games live?’. What an electrifying idea! Combining my trial tour with viewing European Championships!

A day filled with whirlwind action and last minute planning later (plus a visit to my physician), I had to face the truth: even though I could have pulled this off in terms of quickly getting the missing gear, there are too many urgent things on my todo list now which cannot be postponed. After all, this whole trip (including stretches by train) would have taken almost a week. Plus, as my physician told me yesterday, I injured one of my joint capsules in my latest accident. Which explains why I cannot walk without pain. Well, cycling roughly 600km might not have been that much fun… In particular since this has to heal well before I head off to Asia.

Sometimes, the truth is a lot less fun than spontaneous actions… But I am there in spirit, dear EUC-playing friends!

‘So… what do your parents say?’

I am sure all of you had had situations with parents or loved ones who were concerned about what you were doing at some point of your life [If not, maybe they were good in concealing their feelings, or maybe you have not dared greatly enough. In the latter case, you could think about which project you always deemed to crazy to try – and then go ahead and realize them :-).]

In any case, telling my parents about this trip was an important milestone. It was a long process (6 years!) for me to step into my fears and dreams, to dare making this real. So who am I to expect my parents to fully play along from the first moment I told them? My mother’s first reaction in April was to question my sanity. She told me that she had always thought I was joking when I had mentioned the idea of this trip earlier. I had not gotten such a reaction ever since my first journey to India when I was 20 (i.e., quite some time back)… well, this adventure now is also quite a step ahead from all the previous adventures I have taken.

Last week, I was visiting my parents. And my mother handed me some bungee cords she had bought, telling me that I might need those for my bike ride. That was a really emotional moment for me, the manifestation that she had accepted that this is going to happen. In a way, also a manifestation of how my family works together: a lot of personal freedom, but even more mutual support, no matter whether we fully dendorse every one of our projects or not.

Fun with visa

Hurray for changing visa regulations! And hurray for Kazachstan! I was biting my nails to see whether they would change their visa regime again – and the embassy announced that the decision would be made on July 15. And guess what? From today on till Dec 31, 2017, German nationals can enter the country for 15 days without a visa :-).

Visa applications can be a hassle for any journey. But in particular for longer overland trips, the timing of all the visa is somewhat of an experiment… Trying to estimate when I enter which country, filling out a lot of forms, getting even more passport photos, … Now I have one item less on my todo list- brilliant! 

In fact, quite a few of the countries along the Silk road have eased the bureaucratic burdens of visiting in recent years. Nowadays, you can spend up to 60 days in Kyrgystan without needing a visa (as a EU citizen, at least). And the visa for Azerbaijan is issued by e-mail. So overall, I surely cannot complain :-).