It Suddenly Seems Very Soon

Taking into account my Australian ride it’s like three months and a week or so to go. Shit. Okay. I need to settle on a starting point: Sydney or Melbourne. Melbourne is pulling on me but I need to look at what the cost of getting there will be. I have a lot to do; I have a lot of decisions to make. I’ve begun reading The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget – a Hanukkah present from my friend Laura S – Albania is a YES. But later in the trip when I’m a little more road seasoned.

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Flight Changes are Giving Me Grief

Qatar Airways has changed my flights leaving me with the option of either taking a later flight from Sydney to Hong Kong on Cathay keeping short layovers there and in Doha but losing 10 kg from my baggage allowance (as Cathay offers 20 kg to economy passengers on that route compared to Qantas’ 30 kg). Or I can stay with Qantas but have nine hour layover in Doha without the provision of a hotel room. I’ve told my travel agent neither of these options are acceptable as they both materially change the product I bought. I wouldn’t have bought a ticket …

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My Traveller’s Year Continues

As I wrote about my journey to Jibbon Beach: I feel like I’ve opened myself to a traveller’s life and a traveller’s experiences even while still in Sydney. … I’m seated in the bow of the Bundeena Ferry surrounded by people speaking many different languages in many different accents. Opposite me two women of a certain age are chatting, they are wearing beach moo-moos and sun hats, gold jewelry compliments fresh manicures. What language are they speaking? Something Eastern European. At times it sounds German: und, nicht – but at other times it doesn’t sound like German at all. I am …

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Let My Traveller’s Year Begin

I feel like I’ve mentally turned toward the trip and that it is now front and centre in my mind. This morning I was catching up on some emails and watched the videos Matthew Harris had posted, in two parts, of his ride so far: from Eindhoven to Dubrovnik and from Dubrovnik to Istanbul. They were excellent. On his blog post, I commented as much and he replied quickly with thanks. Matthew is an Australian who has been living in Europe for 21 years and is cycling home. He’s taken a winter break and come to summer in Australia. I suggested that …

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Finding Inspiration at the Art Gallery of NSW

I spent part of New Years Day at the Art Gallery of NSW having a wander through the exhibits. The text accompanying Tony Albert’s Hey Ya! (Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture) read, in part Ritsi (the young man in the photographs) and Albert share an experience of re-connection to country and community by following the movements of their ancestors.   Part of what I’ll be doing on my Big Ride is, in a way, just this: I’ll be re-connecting with the places my antecedents lived for thousands of years by following their movements across Europe. I will visit reminders and …

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I Think I Need a Backcountry Bed

Yesterday I looked at a recommended sleeping bag – recommended by the authors of the Bike Touring Survival Guide. It’s called a Backcountry Bed by Sierra Designs and is amazing looking. I want – very much. And I’m inclinded to get it. It’s less than US$300 and is like someone started from scratch: a zipless foot baffle, a sleeping mat pocket, an opening with an attached doona covering, pockets for arms out belly sleeping. Something which increases my tent-sleeping comfort as much as this promises to = must have.

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I Needed a Distraction to Keep from Over Thinking

I’ve concluded that had it not been Learning German with Christoph Waltz it’d have been something else. That subconsciously I needed a way to avoid over-thinking and over planning my Big Ride. I needed a side obsession that was complex enough to keep me engaged but ultimately unimportant. Something to fill my idle mental time with because otherwise I’d be stressing over the trip.

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My Big Ideas About Bicycling and the Cities We Ride In

Forget about the damned motor car and build cities for lovers and friends – Lewis Mumford In January 2011 I gave this 15-minute presentation to the Australian Cycling Conference in Adelaide, South Australia. My talk, as you’ll see, was based on the paper I wrote while completing my Masters of Letters in US Studies at the University of Sydney. If I can I’d like to begin at the beginning. This is me, aged about four, around the time I got my first bike: a Schwinn Pixie which looked an awful lot like this one. Me, aged about four Mine is …

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“Who Do You Think You Are?” with Andrew Denton

Remember when I said I’d take a break from Holocaust stuff? I think you send a vibe of interest into the universe and queue stuff up to come to you – literally, though perhaps without intent. I just watched the Andrew Denton Who Do You Think You Are? in which he traces his family back to a town in Poland. There he met a man in his 90s who spelt out the whole thing  out to him – no, no one left, rounded up, forced to destroy their synagogue and holy books, forced into a ghetto, then transported to Treblinka. Andrew …

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