What started out as a random conversation with a friend has turned into a mad reality that will either be the stupidest, or best thing we’ve ever done. I hope and fully expect it to be the latter!
The last few weeks have been packed. A variety of leaving drinks including a raucous night out in London, a party at Katie’s family home in Hamble and various work leaving do’s. We’ve also had embassy meetings to progress visa applications, moved house, sold our furniture, given about 50% of our clothes to charity shops, burdened family with stuff to put in storage, picked up final bits of kit and generally sorted out our lives...
It’s also been great talking to people about the trip and hearing the interest people have in what we’re doing. Aside from the frequently asked questions we get, people’s responses generally range from “that sounds absolutely awesome, can I come and join you for a leg?” to “I can’t think of anything worse than spending a year on a bike!” and everything in between.
One comment someone made that made me think, was something along the lines of:
“It’ll fly by. You’ll come back in a year and everything will be same as when you left, nothing will have changed”
I can see what they mean:
Thinking back to 12 months ago, pretty much all my friends are the same, with the addition of a few. Work has changed a bit but broadly it’s still the same people and the same challenges. The weather is the same, we were living in the same house, and enjoy doing the same things at weekends. A few more people have bought houses, got married and had babies, but for the most part, nothing’s really changed.
But then if you take a different perspective, in the last year everything’s changed.
Britain voted to leave the EU. We’ve a new Prime Minister. UK politics turned into a soap opera for about a month. Donald Trump is an election away from being the most powerful man in the world. No one in the Labour Party is really sure what's going on. David Bowie died. Paris/Belgium/Turkey and a load of other Middle Eastern countries suffered savage terrorist attacks. Leicester won the Premier League. Team GB had their most successful Olympics ever. Hibs won the Scottish cup after 114 years.
The odds on Leicester winning the league this time last year were 5000/1. I wonder what the odds would have been if you had an accumulator on for all of the above to happen?
Someone leaving to go on our trip in October 2015, would be coming back to the UK to a totally different country. A different Europe and arguably different world.
I understand what my friend was trying to say with the “nothing changing” comment, but I disagree. The nature of the world at the moment is that times are changing unbelievably quickly, and if anything over the next 12 months it will only speed up.
That’s what makes this trip so exciting. What better time to explore the world, than at a time like now when there is so much to experience, so much political and environmental change, and so many people to meet with stories to tell.
We’ll be writing blogs en route. We promise these will never be “how’s your Monday?” type gloats, with a picture of us lounging on a beach. The aim is for them to be informative, interesting and perhaps open your eyes to a new part of the world you didn’t know much about before.