Thursday, 31 January 2013

Leaving Egypt and making our way to Wadi Haifa, Sudan...

The rest day in Aswan was absolute bliss. After an informative riders meeting, a few of us made our way to the famous Old Cataract Hotel, 5 Star and truly luxurious. We were all staying in a very average 2 star hotel just down the road, but the Internet wasn’t working. All the locals kept saying was that Cataract has the best connection, so we went through. Even though we weren’t guests, it didn’t mean we couldn't have a coffee at the hotel… We walked in as though we belonged, and when security asked if we were guests, we pretended to be in deep conversation. We sat on the hotel's front patio and had the most delicious (... and most expensive) coffee, which we sipped ever so slowly in order to take advantage of a good Internet connection. After sipping the same cup of coffee for over an hour, we thought it only fair for us free loaders to splash out a little and have lunch at the hotel. Besides, then we could remain online longer. Video Skype was a treat, so we all connected with family and friends back home. I took them all on a tour of the hotel using the good quality skype and joked this was the hotel I had booked into for the night. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Some TdA riders, however, did spend lots of money at the Cataract getting spa treatments and massages. Once we finished the biggest Gourmet Burger ever, we joined them at the pool, being treated like royalty. The luxury was worthwhile, because thereafter was the ferry ride to Wadi Halfa, Sudan.

The Old Cataract Hotel, truly breath taking
Enjoying the luxury of fast internet at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan
The ferry to Sudan... well it was a hurry-up-and-wait situation throughout the entire experience. We cycled in convoy to the ferry which was 17km away, which also marked the first 1000km mile stone. Once at the ferry, it was chaos. Locals were crowding on, loading boxes, food, luggage... and there we are trying to load almost 70 bicycles into the top deck, and then the TdA luggage was next. It took me a total of 5 trips to get my personal belonging onboard, because taking more than 1 item at a time was impossible in terms of space in the passage ways. There is no system, only push, push harder and try not to fall over. Once bikes and luggage were safely on the ferry, it was just after lunchtime. We had cabins assigned to TdA riders, which were groups of 3. They had 2 beds, but so dirty and disgusting it was actually a fight as to who would sleep outside and who would stay inside and keep watch over the belongings. I was lucky. My group wanted to stay indoors, and I happily set up camp outside on deck amidst other TdA riders and locals who were still squeezing in. Even when you think the ferry is full and there is no way any more can be loaded, another truck arrives full of people and each one pushes on. Only at sunset did we begin moving, and finally we where en route to Wadi Halfa, Sudan. The first class passengers, meaning us in the cabins, got food, but while wandering around the ferry I stumbled across the Galley where the cooking happened, and the state of that area was enough to turn anyone’s stomach… so I didn’t have much of an appetite when the meal arrived. I did warn everyone, but most seemed okay with taking the risk and eating the provided food. It seems no one actually had any problems, to my surprise.

The 1st class Cabin

The Ferry Foredeck

Top deck, storage for bicycles and outdoors sleeping area

Organized Chaos as the Ferry gets loaded

Arriving in Wadi Halfa was a process. Immigration came onboard and then the paperwork began. One can imagine the difficulty a single person has with immigration, now imagine 85 foreigners trying to get through immigration with limited English. A few of us watched the entire Eat, Pray, Love movie in the cabin on someone’s laptop while waiting, and still had to wait a few more hours. Finally with the paperwork sorted, it was time to unload bikes, bags, TdA equipment, people, etc. Offloading was definitely a faster process, as everyone was just so happy to be on land, in a new country with new experiences and challenges.

Wadi Haifa locals welcoming the TdA riders to Sudan, the guy with the knife was just playing around.... Promise! The Sudanese have been very kind, warm and friendly
At the end of a very basic dock were the rest of the TdA crew and the proper TdA trucks and equipment. It felt like we had upgraded to 5 star camping. The TdA trucks are super organized, with a mobile kitchen and lockers system for all our goods. The lockers... this was a scary thing for me. I had a lot of stuff and looking at them, they didn’t look big enough for my wardrobe. On arrival at camp, about 10km away from the ferry dock, we began the process of assigning lockers. I went into Wadi Halfa with a few friends to grab a local dinner, because the rush to sort out the locker wasn’t something I wanted part of. I through it best to let others do their lockers and when everything was less busy, I’d get my chance. After a fun tuk-tuk ride and a yummy falafel dinner, it was time to tackle the locker. To my surprise, I had one of the neatest lockers and everyone was just as shocked that everything I brought with actually fit inside... but only just just, I must admit. I couldn’t have fit a spare pair of socks if I wanted. My locker is filled to its MAXIMUM capacity…. So no shopping for me the remainder of this trip.

First day cycling in Sudan was very pleasant. They didn’t start us easy either… 149km to desert camp, but to everyone’s delight it was near the Nile and swimming after a day cycling 5 hours through the desert is basically heaven. With a my bikini on, I rush to the rivers edge. It was incredible; I washed my hair, shaved my legs, did my laundry and felt like a million bucks. Everything about Sudan has been an absolute pleasure. Friendly locals, beautiful terrain, but the bugs are terrible, especially near the river, which is exactly where we want to be, but the bugs make it fairly unbearable.

Lunch Stop on route to Camp, smoke helped keep the bugs away

Almost at camp, stopping for a quick water break
Bathing in the River Nile

Trekking back to camp feeling fresh as a daisy
The second day of cycling in Sudan was another 145km, however this was not as pleasant as the day before. Thus far I consider it the toughest day yet and was the make-or-break for a lot of TdA riders. Conditions were hotter than hot, and straight from the start at sunrise the sun baked us alive. Stopping wasn’t an option because the bugs are to irritating and the heat too intense. Dehydration was the biggest risk, because without realizing it, you're sweating as fast as your drinking… The 69km to lunch was doable, but the second part was a hard push on everyone's part, especially when the final 20km to camp had a strong head wind sucking every last bit of energy out of your body. That afternoon around camp, everyone was pretty dosile. I was so exhausted, I feel asleep mid-conversation while sitting in my seat. I almost didn’t make dinner, because all of me was just so tired. Once in bed I felt my body getting rundown. Waking up with the sniffels and sore thought means it’s time to bulk up on the vitamins and keep my meds handy… Can’t be getting sick because there is much more to come from Sudan, and I got the feeling it’s not getting easier or cooler…

The last desert ride of the week into Dongola was only 117km, and started of with a fun team time-trial race of 25km. I was part of The All Africa team, which included myself, South African Bridget, Alan from Tanzania and Ahmed from Egypt. That morning we were very eager to get going and turned out to be the first team at the starting line. We pushed it hard taking turns doing 2km pulls. With a slight incline and head winds we tried to maintain a 33km/h average speed. At maybe 18km, the All German team caught us and so the tactics began. We hung back and sat on their tail until a short distance from the finish when we would make our move and sprint for the finish. However, Ahmed's speedometer was not spot on, so he began sprinting far too early. Our tactics failed us but it was still a close, fast finish that made the team time trial competitive and super fun, ending with hi-fives, hearts racing and chests burning.

Monday, 21 January 2013

From Luxor to Aswan...

Once we left the seaside village of Safaga, we made our way to yet another desert camp in amongst the mountains. This would be our first reminder of what climbing is all about. It was a gradual incline for the first 67km of the day's ride but, none the less, it was still an incline, along with a head wind that didn't make things easier.

I started the morning riding alone, just taking in the enormous beauty of the mountain range and enjoying just being out in the complete open with the long therapeutic road ahead, which seemed never ending. I reached the lunch stop and thereafter joined a group of strong cyclists, trying my best to keep up. To my surprise, I actually did. It felt very good to cover the day's 134km ride with relative ease. I reached camp with plenty of energy left to socialize, even though it felt like a super long day. However, since the sun sets at 18h00, it was not too long before I retired to the comfort of my tent.

The next day's ride to Luxor was a quick one, only 107km away. It felt like we reached our destination (... and place of the first rest day) in no time. With the warning of local kids toying with passing cyclists, it was reckoned we stay in a group to insure our safety. After the lunch stop the group grew to about 10 cyclists and together we made way to Luxor without any problems whatsoever.

Luxor is a fairly well established town which, one could see, once upon a time flourished with boats cruising down the Nile packed with tourists. Nowadays, however, Luxor seems dilapidated and starved of tourism and the popularity it once had. The city's potential is endless as it is home to the beautiful Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, which is a large part of the Ancient Egyptians' history.

On arrival at the camp site the option of staying in a hotel was too tempting, and so I got a cheap room. In the end it would probably have been better to camp. The facilities were disgusting and the bathroom super dirty... Oh well, welcome to Africa! It's only going to get more and more interesting. With a cold shower and a bit of laundry done, I was ready to wander into town and find some good local cuisine. A few fellow TdA riders and I walked along the Nile's waterfront, and then into town where the first relatively clean restaurant was spotted. With the entire restaurant to ourselves, we felt like royalty as service was tops by African standards, and the food tasted good. With some Bob Marley tunes playing in the background, I felt I could be on an Island in the Caribbean somewhere, until a herd of Camels came past and ruined my short lived deja vu.

The evening before the rest day, everyone one was incredibly social and enjoyed the rewarding beers at the local bar. I, however, still cannot bring myself to stay up later then 21h00. The rest day in Luxor was well organized. At 8h30 a bus was ready to collect any TdA riders who had signed up for a tour of Luxor. Like school children we all piled in. With snacks and water handy, everyone was looking forward to our very first field trip. We explored the beautifully decorated, well preserved Ancient tombs. It was an absolutely fascinating experience. For the first time in a long while, we came across other westerners and met some really fun, interesting youngsters traveling through Egypt with their families. At each touristy stop, everyone of us got bombarded by children as we exited the bus, each trying to sell you anything and everything. Mantras like "... for good price, you my friend" were commonplace. The most memorable line I received was from an 8 year old boy, winking: "You my future wife, how many camels?" Smooth operator., that one. Another little girl ran up to me and showed off her skills of counting in English, she rattled off 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Egyptian pounds... which you're meant to pay once she reached 10. Not so smooth...

On the bus trip back to our hotel things were running on AFRICA TIME!!! Next thing I know I'm scheduled to be interviewed by Sasha Martinengo on Ballz Visual Radio and here I am, still stuck on public transport. In the end it all worked out and I did the interview on the bus while surrounded by a live audience as my fellow TdA riders on the bus listened and gave me an encouraging thumbs up.

Once back in the comfort of my dirty hotel room, I organized myself for yet another early start as we would be making our way to the next small town of Idfu.

The cycle to Idfu was probably the most beautiful it had been thus far. It was greener everywhere, the locals were super friendly, and the fresh food market en route looked incredible. The distance to cover was 116km and it felt as though it went too quickly. Cycling in a good group of strong riders, we kept a steady, strong pace and covered the distance in 4 hours. When we arrived at camp, the truck carrying the luggage hadn't even arrived yet and so we just hung out, waiting for the support vehicle.

Idfu is a small village and we camped out on a dirt sports field, getting entertained by watching two local football teams play a heated match, local team Idfu vs Aswan... The TdA riders thought it was only fair that we support Idfu as we were guests of the town that evening, and to the joy of the locals, Idfu won.

After the sporting event, a few of us decided to explore town and see the market place. We gathered in a local tea shop and had some delicious freshly squeezed orange juice while watching Idfu's every day happenings pass us by.

The night's rest in Idfu was the worst we'd endured, because this sport field or open patch of dirt is surrounded by four mosques. Each of these is louder than the other, and when they sounded the first Calls to Prayer at 05h00 in the morning I started to pack down my tent and by 05h30 I was ready to go. It was still dark but there was no going back to sleep after the wake up call we got.

The ride into Aswan was long, and even though it was only 113km, I felt the wear and tear of the last few days of cycling. We have covered a distance of 1000km in 8 days and basically completed our first country, Egypt. All I could think was thank goodness I have good quality cycling clothing. So many riders on the tour are already complaining of saddle sores and rashes, which are a cause of major discomfort. I'll be honest, I can feel my bottom is sore, but it's more a muscle pain, which is probably because I'm not an experienced cyclist and now I'm developing new muscle I never had before. And so after being off the bike for a few hours I can honestly say it's not so bad, with a few good stretches and massaging muscle gel onto the legs, I always feel perfectly ready for the following days distance. No discomfort from saddle sores or rashes at this point and I am pretty confident it's got to do with the high quality clothing I was kindly sponsored by Cape Storm. Never going to look back, Cape Storm all the way when it comes to long distance cycling challenges, trust me on that... Tested and proven personally by my bottom as I trek through Africa.

Then Herbalife has also truly been a life saver. The food on the trip is delicious, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I don't like having a huge, heavy meal before bed or before a 165km cycle. So I usually have a delicious vanilla flavoured meal-replacement shake for breakfast together with a little bowl of porridge, and travel with a stock pile of fruit. This brings me to lunch comfortably, and sometimes you reach the lunch stop at 10h00. To have a heavy meal again so early after breakfast is not ideal, especially if you've still got another 70km to ride to camp, so for me another shake just mixed with water does the trick. Once at camp, I'll be honest, the hunger really sets in for me. Instead of stuffing myself with sweet and salty snacks, which is what I crave as my sugar and salt levels are exhausted after cycling great distances in the sun, the rebuild recovery shake is my favorite. It's got everything one needs after a long days workout and stops me eating all the unhealthy snack stuff I crave. If I'm still hungry I have a shake midday to keep my energy levels up until dinner time, when all cyclists carbo load for the next days ride. Throughout the day, Prolong is my best friend and once I reach the lunch stop the convenient small sized Hydrate sachets are super handy and keeps those terrible dehydration headache away, which I so often use to get in the past. They taste so good, its easy to keep hydrated. Sometimes the taste of warm water, (... which reminds me of pool water) in your camel-pack isn't  what you want day after day. Staying hydrated and keeping your salt replenished is vital to your bodies performance. The Herbalife endurance 24 Sport Range has been spot on perfect for this journey through Africa. I don't think it would have been possible for me to remain this positive and perform this well without the spectacular standards and quality of the products I have at my disposal.

A huge thank you to Cape Storm and Herbalife.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Bad start, means it can only get better...

Day 1: We started the day super early. I was up at 04:30, unable to sleep anymore as the excitement just took over. We finally set off in a police escorted convoy through the busy city of Cairo toward the magical pyramids for the opening ceremony of the TDA. Seeing the sunrise over the pyramids was truly special, and a moment I'll always remember.

The conditions were very cold, but as the cycling began the body began to warm up. As the TDA group of cyclists made their way over the highways, 20km before exiting Cairo, a rusty nail destroyed my back wheel. The road was too busy for repairs to be done alongside it, so with my safety in mind, I hopped onto the support vehicle which carried me to the city exit, where I changed my first flat of the trip. I couldn't believe I was already having bike problems only about 35km into the TDA. All i could think was please let this not be a sign for the days to come. Well, wow, was that wishful thinking!

In the end I got to our first dessert camp just before sunset. There is absolutely nothing for miles and miles but sand, sand, and if you're lucky, more SAND!!! So after a lovely babywipes "shower", and good food in the tummy, I was in my tent already as the sun set at 17:30, and asleep by 18:30. This has become the norm, subsequently. It takes a little longer to fall asleep if it's a cold night with a howling wind keeping you up. On those nights, I'm asleep by 19:00.

Day 2: I woke up just before sunrise at 05:30, took down my tent and got myself into cycling mode. Early in the morning, out in the desert, it is freezing. You put on your gear and hope it warms up quickly. I left camp at a good time, 06:45. I cycled along the Red Sea for the first 50km alone and enjoyed the ride.

At 60km I was joined by my dear Kiwi friend, Vincent, who became a great support for a what was to become a tough day. We had a distance of 165km to cover, and my luck, as it turned out, was terrible once again. After the lunch stop, Vic and I set off, only to discover that my front tubeless tire pressure was too high. This caused it to pop straight off its rim. I was covered in tubeless tire slime and so I faced my next challenge. I went on to repair the messy damage, and discovered that I didn't have another spare. Vic very generously gave me his spare road tube, which we pumped up to it's full capacity. This carried me along for another 70km, until some dirt caught between the tire and tube, causing yet another puncture. Feeling defeated, and with neither of us carrying more spares, I was pretty much screwed. A group of cyclists passed by and asked if everything was okay? After explaining about all that had happened, a fellow TDA cyclist was willing to donate her spare so that I could continue the day's ride. With another 80km to go I just prayed I would get to camp before sunset. I finally arrived at the desert camp and members from the TDA group all came over individually to give advice and words of encouragement. I was in bed very early that night, completely exhausted after a long day in the sun and the constant holdup caused by flats.

Day 3: I woke up and knew this will be my good luck day. Well, it was until about 65km into the ride when I reached 5km from the lunch stop, and felt my bike getting heavier after each turn of my peddle. If I have learned anything, it's that the slower a bike becomes, the higher the probability of a slow leak in a tube... and there it was. My back wheel was slowly going flat. I pumped it up as much as I could just to make it to the lunch stop, when I'd replace it with the shape tube I had been traveling with. However if this wasn't bad enough, as I reached the lunch stop at 70km, someone pointed out to me that my front tire was also flat. So there I was once again with only one spare tube and two flat tires. Feeling completely defeated, I tried to find a spot somewhere out of the wind, dust and dirt. I sat there for a while, wondering how I'd pick myself up from this. Basically you just gotta get on with it. At least it's just another bike problem which can be fixed. I'm still fit and healthy and so what if I finish last? It's not about winning for me at this point, it's about not giving up.

Yet again a fellow TDA member shared a tube with me. Everyone feels very sorry for me and the bad luck I've been having, and everyone is so happy to help because they can see I don't wanna give up, not at this stage, not so early into the trip. If I didn't get another share tube, I was almost thinking about pushing my bike back to camp. It was 70km away and I had about 7 hours of daylight left, so it could be done. Luckily after spending a hour doing 2 more tube repairs I was on my way. I have never been to happy to arrive at camp and the welcome was well appreciated. I decided it was time to start fresh. I pulled out a set of new tires and repaired all my tubes perfectly to ensure my bad luck was over. With new tires and new tubes Day 4 had to be a good day.

Day 4: I woke up that morning and everyone wished me well as I started the days 100km ride. I thought to myself if you get another flat well then you just keep doing what your doing. This is much easier said than done, I MUST ADMIT. All I can do is try my best. Day 4's 100km was amazing, no flats for the first time and I finished under 3 hours and reached an average speed of 29kph. I was flying and it felt great to keep up with the group and cycle at a speedy pace. We arrived in Safaga and I immediately rewarded myself with a hotel room and the longest, hottest shower... No words can describe and good it feels to be clean, at least for a little while.

Tomorrow we begin climbing, so here we go heading into the mountains. We'll be covering a distance of 136km and yet another starry desert camp. This will be a true physical challenge, but it's not long now and then it's rest day number 1 in Luxor. If it's at all possible, I'll be shopping around for road tires to help make my life a little easier on the long tar roads.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

I have arrived and so it begins...

The day of my departure... It is difficult to say how I was feeling. At first, I was excited; excited to begin this epic journey, excited to meet my TdA team, and excited to see my parents who arrived that very same day from the UK. However the day of my departure was a busy one.

I woke up early and rushed around Cape Town, picking up my bike, collecting brooches and business cards from the MAD charity offices, and doing some last minute shopping -- all the while constantly chatting on the phone to friends and family, wishing me luck and sending heaps of love. Then the next emotion kicked in... Anxiety. I became physically sick to my stomach. At our family friend's house, after finalizing my packing, my parents arrived and we cracked open champagne to "cheers" my epic journey. I looked around, holding my glass of champagne, surrounded by my loved ones, and instantly I felt a nauseating sensation overtake my body. I have never experienced this feeling of being completely overwhelmed. I was as white as a sheet. I felt like I was going to be sick and the shakes had started... I could honestly say that I was having a mini panic attack. Hahaha. Only then I realized that it was afternoon already, and I hadn't eaten anything all day. I had plainly forgotten. I was a total shatter-brain -- I would grab a glass of apple juice, walk two steps and complete forget about it. Those around me would have to remind me: "Tessa, you're busy eating a banana", and make sure I finished it. I'd hold it in my hand and not even take note of the fruit! However, finally with food and fluid in my system, I started to calm down and all was okay.

As expected I was overweight, my luggage that is. We arrived at the airport early, hoping that some sweet-talk might help me get away with the excess but, as I suspected, I was out of luck. Thank goodness I had purchased 15kg extra weight with my ticket, but even so, I was 10kg over. I needed all that I packed and so rushed off to the ticket counter and paid for the extra weight.

With my luggage wrapped and successfully checked-in, I had a few minutes to see my family off. It was a wonderful turnout with my parents, cousins and aunties present. It really helped make my farewell special. At the security check, we'd reached the final part of the goodbyes. I was expecting tears and all kinds of emotions, but as soon as my dear mum started crying, I immediately became incredibly calm and collected and was able to console her. My fears of my journey ahead were no more. I felt confident and totally ready.

With my sleeping tablet handy, by the time the flight took off I was in "lala" land. I completely missed dinner on the flight, (... not a big deal, because plane food is my worst) and I didn't even feel the plane land or take off in Johannesburg. I was out for the count and enjoying far-away places of a deep-sleep dream world.

On arrival in Doha, I shopped around the airport for my very last important item, a good CASIO watch. I found the one I wanted and ticked the last item off my list. Now I was finally feeling fully prepared. On the flight to Cairo I was wide awake and super excited.

We landed and at the baggage collection the nerves kicked in again: What if my luggage got lost??? What would I do??? Questions were running through my mind, but as my bike box came out on the belt, I squeaked with excitement and ran to hug it. All was well. As if I don't stand out enough in a foreign country like Egypt, I have to go and perform in a way that draws even more attention to myself.

With everyone staring, I made my exit and held thumbs customs didn't stop me. Every person in front of me got pulled over, and when the officer got to me, he says: "STOP!!! What is box?" I reply with the sweetest smile I possess: "It's my bicycle. I'll be cycling home to South Africa." He looked at me with worried eyes, probably thinking this girl has lost her marbles. He shook his head and let me through. The airport transfer shuttle was perfectly on time, and I was at the hotel, checked-in, and sitting in on the TdA meeting within an hour of my arrival.

The intimidating meet-and-greet began, with a group much larger than I expected. 65 full tour riders from all over the world coming over to introduce themselves was a little scary. I just nodded and smiled and walked away thinking I cannot remember one name or one single face. I was exhausted and retired to my room after a quick dinner to get a good nights rest and be ready for another big day.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hurry up and wait!!!

You must be nervous? Do you think your ready? Aren't you scared? Why would someone do this? 

These are the most frequent questions as the day for my departure creeps closer, for which the answers are pretty simple... Well YES, of course I'm a little anxious, mostly because cycling across the African Continent is no walk in the park. However I'm not really scared, as I see this trip as a journey of a lifetime and I think I'm actually very lucky to have this opportunity available to me. Africa has such a rawness about it, because even with all the suffering, their is still something truly magical about the continent filled with potential. I think the darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it. So in the end if anything, I am extremely excited about studying the length of Africa at the speed of cycling and I plan to document every step of the way. It is going to be a long hard road, my greatest physical challenge, a true test of my character and I JUST CANNOT WAIT FOR IT TO BEGIN... 

As far as being ready is concerned, I can confidently say YES, if I could I would leave for Cairo tomorrow. It's about a week before I depart, and I believe I have reached the hurry-up and wait stage... The past two months of preparation and organization has been nothing short of chaotic, but a fun experience. I feel like the luckiest girl, because all actually fell into place without too much effort... My sponsors have been incredible, the Cycle Lab providing me with the ever so important bicycle and he is a "BEAUTY", Cape Storm cycling clothing is of the best quality and I couldn't ask for anything better, Herbalife as my natural healthy fuel has helped build-up my strength, while Fotacs has kindly helped with sponsoring me good quality MINOX equipment to document my experiences, namely I have received the Minox DC 1422 Digital Camera and the very useful ACX 100 HD Action Cam...  

I have met many wonderful people and the overwhelming support is duly noted, as every single word of encouragement has been a tremendous motivator for me and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart... 

My Herbalife 24 Endurance Sports Range

Tony Fornali and I at the Fotacs warehouse collecting Minox equipment... Christmas came early for me...

The amazing Vanguard brand providing me with a handy backpack

A big thank you to my cousin Kim for introducing me to the wonderful Alison Lea, who has kindly become my nutritional sponsor. 

This process has exposed me to completely unfamiliar territories, and I'm just so incredibly pleased I took that scary plunge into the unknown, because as I reflect over the past few weeks, I know all the difficult decisions and choice I had to make have been absolutely SPOT ON CORRECT, as endless opportunity begins to find me... Three months ago, if you had told any of my family and friends "That on the 8th January 2013, Tessa will be departing for Cairo on a one-way flight and then cycle home..." Each and everyone would think you got rocks in your head... Even for me to think back to when I was still working in the Super Yacht Industry, there is no way I would have through that my 2013 would kick off with a cross-continental cycle challenge of 12000 km through Africa.

Lastly, "Why would someone do this?" Well my answer to this question is purely, "Why wouldn't someone do this?"

Life is just too GOD DAMN short to procrastinate and linger on the someday, one-day and next time's... I could bore you for ages with stories of life changing experiences and hopefully inspire others to make the changes in their lives, but what it actually boils down to in the end is asking yourself the right question... I asked myself the simple question: "What if money didn't matter?" Watch this bellow it sums it up nicely...