Wow, here we go. It’s approximately T – 10 weeks and the last couple of days have cemented the plans and potentially changed the trajectory of the rest of my life.
Last November on a particularly dark winter evening Herb and I decided to go on an adventure. I’m not 100% certain of the events of that evening, but it was probably raining, it was definitely dark and Herb had probably had a bad day at work. Anyway, what I do remember is unrolling the world map, lying it on the floor and deciding we would cycle 15000 miles across the Americas, on a tandem.
Fast forward a few months of big chat, procrastination, modifying dates, researching lightweight loo roll, deciding against the tandem and applying for new passports; here we are.
Stage 1 – Buy a bike
Lots of research (by Herb) concluded that we were looking for ‘Surly – Long Haul Truckers’ to be our noble steeds for the journey. As we are trying as hard as possible to do this on a shoestring we’d set ourselves a max of £1000 each to purchase the bikes and all essential bike kit. This meant EBay was the way forward and we started trawling the site on a daily basis.
To cut a long Ebaying story short, we were led to Nottingham and a guy called Lee. Walking up Lee’s drive had us grinning from ear to ear. His cars were in immaculate condition, his garage was more organised than an Army base and you could probably eat off the floor. This guy clearly looks after his stuff. Then there she was, a beautiful maroon disk trucker in immaculate condition. A short test ride confirmed what we’d already seen, the bike is in amazing condition and raring to go on an adventure. Lee turned out to be an absolute legend, also throwing in a saddle, all the maintenance equipment and even some home brew beers. If this is an omen of things to come, we are going to have an amazing trip. Needless to say we drove back to London on cloud 9. Lee, if you read this, thank you so much for your generosity and for letting go of your bike. Herb is a delighted new owner and we promise to do her proud.
Step 2 – Tell the boss
Throughout the whole ‘will we/won’t we’ process, I had been putting this off. I absolutely love my job and I didn’t want to tell them I was leaving until it was 100% certain. Then unfortunately, when it became 100% certain, my boss was on holiday. This left me fretting and worrying for an entire week. I am also the world’s worst liar and having to sit on a secret for a whole week was killing me.
Luckily on the Monday morning of ‘Boss’ returning, an opportunity arose pretty early in the day for us to go and grab a coffee. This I was thankful for, as I sat there with sweaty palms, heart palpitations and white with fear I blurted out something along the lines of ‘I’m really, really sorry I’m leaving’. Immediately, and without even a breath of explanation as to why ‘Boss’ looked at me and said it was completely ok. (In hindsight, there’s nothing else he could really say, however this hadn’t crossed my mind previously.) Then the tumbling of words started as I tried to incoherently explain why and what I was planning to do. Normally, this is the part when the person you are explaining your adventure to proclaims you are mad. Luckily for me, Boss already knows I am mad so we managed to skip that phase of the chat.
What followed was the best outcome I could possibly hope for, an employer who is completely supportive of what we’re planning to do and who has even offered to keep a job open for when I return, if I want it.
That is what you call winning on a Monday.