When talking about my trip, people often respond: ‘Wow, how I would like to do something like that’. Well, there is one way to make that dream come true: just do it!
I came up with the idea about two years ago, after reading one of the books of Frank van Rijn, who has spent almost his entire life on the saddle.
Frank, maybe not coincidentally a namesake, has cycled around the world for over forty years now, and in between writes books and gives lectures about his journeys. I happened to meet him once, in his idyllic little house on the moore in Holland (where wild boars roam in his backyard) and we spent the afternoon and evening talking about ‘do’s and don’ts’ in trekking on a bycicle. We even hovered over some old maps of France and Spain. Maps that were heavily tied together with tape and were cracking of old age because of regular use. “This place you definitely have to visit… although it might as well have been spoiled since the last time I have seen it… some thirty years ago”, was one of the advices I received that day. Actually, many of his tips were very useful and handy for my preparations.
Here the comparison in travelling certainly ends. My journey is in luxury and convenience (smooth roads and EU controlled campsites, with hot showers and a campshop) for him as like driving a limousine with chauffeur, and in miles it equals a biking trip to the bakery (his countrylist shows places he crossed like Cuba, Congo and Colombia), but still, you got to start somewhere, right?
Fortunately, there are many others who have made the trip to Spain, enjoying small countryroads and beautiful surroundings. One of them, Paul Benjaminse, even wrote some nice and handy booklets about the trip, in which he describes routes to the south, illustrated with clear and attractive maps and simple, but useful explanations. I make good use of his experience; his books are my guide on the journey.
So I had a plan, but I still had to discuss the plan on the home front and, also important, at work. To give you as a visitor of my blog a free advice: discuss the idea well in advance. The first time between just nose and lips, but after that: be specific in year and time you plan to go! This way the people around you can get used to the idea of you going away for a while. Things at home have to go on without you (which in my case is not that big a problem, especially because my two kids are fairly grown up; which is again a reason to undertake such a trip around the age of 50). Moreover, no one is indispensable at work. Sure, some preparations had to be made at both sides of life, but in the end everyone agreed to let me go. With special thanks to my dear wife Mieke and an understanding boss!
Next thing to bother was the Route to follow.