I’ve been in Kathmandu over the last few days, the city isn’t great, full of tourists, in fact it’s the most touristy place since Istanbul. There doesn’t seem to be much to see here, I imagine it’s just the start and end of everyone’s trekking holiday?
On arriving here I pulled over in the main tourist area and an English guy came over as he saw me on the bike. It turned out to be Ian one of the guys I’m crossing Myanmar with on 30th of this month. Ian was with 6 guys who had ridden across China and arrived in Kathmandu a few days earlier. I’ve been spending time with these guys (English, Russian, German, Spanish, Australian, Dutch) swopping stories etc.
As I’ve been away 6 months I thought I would do a summary.
The Dakar has been great. Whether cruising a main road or heading over a mountain pass she has performed brilliantly, I haven’t found myself in a situation where I wanted a different bike once. I’ve ridden 16,000 miles (25,000km) carried out two services, half way through my second set of tyres and have had very few breakdowns. I had to replace the throttle cable, the battery, the chain adjustment mechanism and a few days ago I noticed one of the pannier frame struts has broken so today I took it to a mechanic who found a further two parts of the bike frame where the panniers attach that enquire welding too. So, overall not many problems. As its a 1/2 birthday for the Dakar I took her to get cleaned yesterday which is possibly only the 3rd time since leaving.
Regarding my clothing, again I’m pretty pleased with what I started with although I would seriously consider a ‘flip helmet’ next time. My gloves have finally disintegrated but after 25,000 km that feels ok. I have an issue with two further items firstly, my tent and camping gear which I have only used 4 times but takes up a lot of volume, maybe 15+ litres including stove, sleeping bag etc. the second item is the 3.8 litre fuel can on the back which I haven’t need once. Both the camping gear and fuel are ‘peace of mind’ but not really needed, if I get to Australia where I’m told everything is very expensive and long distances between towns I may be grateful? Having said that I travel lite compared to many bikers even though I have these superfluous items.
Regarding tools and spares again I carry fewer than most but to date it hasn’t been a problem and I’ve sorted all servicing and most mechanical problems out myself.
As I have said previously everybody travels differently with different bikes, clothing, spares and luggage. I’m 95% comfortable with my set up.
I’ve travelled through 23 countries and its cost £1,000 per month for all hotels, food & drink, petrol, service & repairs, visas, guides etc which is under what I budgeted.
I’ve met so many amazing people everywhere I’ve been, too many to mention. Local people in every country have helped me out whenever I needed it, the overlanders I’ve met on the road and the experiences we share have influenced where I’ve been and where I will ride to. Talking to other RTW (round the world) bikers we feel there are not many people riding bikes RTW as we tend to hear about each other and occasionally meet up, I feel there are far less people doing it than I thought.
I’ve been in good health the majority of the time. I had a virus in Georgia which confined me to bed for 3 days and then I was run down, losing weight and felt pretty low at times in Pakistan and some of India. I think the ‘larium’ weekly anti malarial tablets made me I’ll and depressed so I stopped taking them, I’m not taking any anti malarial currently. Over the last week I damaged my hand somehow so I’m taking nurophen for that, two days ago I got an infection in my eye so I’m using eye drops for that and yesterday lunchtime I became freezing cold and went to bed. I woke up 18 hours later! I felt much better today but this evening I felt freezing cold again so I’m taking antibiotics for that! So, when I said I’ve been in good health the majority of the time I not so sure now that I’ve detailed it?
I miss my kids and on occasions when there is a problem at home I feel helpless and wonder if I should be flying straight back to be with them. I haven’t met one other RTW biker who has children and this makes me wonder if I’m being irresponsible at times?
Looking at the map I think I’m about 1/4 way around the world, not that I ever intended to go all the way around but it’s a long way. My blog site is called ‘destination unknown’ and that hasn’t changed, I don’t know where I will end up after SE Asia, over the next few months I will cross Myanmar (Burma) into Thailand where my daughter, Beth is coming to travel with me for 6 weeks and then I hope to cross into Cambodia and Laos before heading south to Malaysia.
I’m so pleased I decided to do this adventure, it’s easy to sit in the warmth of home dreaming about things we all would like to do, the reality is its so easy to make dreams come true. A bit of research, planning and commitment is all it takes. So, will I be away one more week a month or longer, I have no idea, I just keep on heading east and make most of it up day by day.