“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”
I’m not ready to go… I’m having second thoughts! Actually, at this stage my mood is swinging wildly from, “Yippee! Another Adventure!”, to “Oh my God, another adventure…” Funny how fine the line is between excitement and anxiety.
As I type this, next to my desk are two dark green canvas bags packed with my camping gear, and my clothes. I’ve got those pre-trip jitters, in which I agonise over taking too much stuff, as opposed to not taking enough. I wish I was like my mate. He packs in seconds: keys, wallet, spare undies, shirt, and stubby cooler. He can pack like this because he knows I’ll be bringing more than enough for both of us… “Can anyone use a kitchen sink? I’ve got two here just in case.”
And there are the key words, ‘Just In Case’. I overpack because past catastrophe’s have left me scarred enough to think, ‘Never again! Next time I’ll definitely pack a spare fan belt, beanie, bottle of ear wax remover, machete’, blow up air conditioner, etc, etc.”
On this trip though, there is a weight and space limit, so I’ve had to choose very carefully between what I need to take, as opposed to what I want to take. Of course there are a few frivolous items, like a collapsable walking stick (if I can still walk after pedalling 60 klms), and an MP3 player which I’m going to learn to use, or throw under a moving truck tyre. I don’t need these things, but I’ve got a stack of space leftover since I ditched the concrete mixer and the horse blanket, so I tossed them in.
Today I also caught up with the happy go lucky bloke who is going to give me a lift to Bundaberg tomorrow. He’s a veteran of 4 of these rides, and did a lot to put my mind at ease. He’s a light packer too, and he sold me on the idea of ‘Minimal Stuff’, so when I got home I was inspired enough to ditch even more things, although I’m going to scream if someone asks for a set of World Book encyclopaedias.
My bike hasn’t been helping my stress levels either. On Tuesday I stepped off the bike after a good ride, and was undoing my helmet when I heard, “SPONG!”. It was the now familiar sound of one of the spokes on my back wheel snapping. I don’t know why this happens, but every now and then it does. I gave my customary sigh, found the offending spoke, took the wheel off and put it in the boot of the car. Then I gave the rest of the bike a clean down, tweaked the brakes and the gears, before tracking one greasy footprint across the driveway and through the house. Mrs Gb was impressed.
For the past two weeks I’ve been surrounded by people either coughing up one of their lungs, or just getting (or getting over), some of the most violent tummy bugs seen in town since a dodgy batch of horse meat nearly wiped out the early settlers. Ever notice how people seem to want to share, at extremely close range, the grisly symptoms of how ill they are, or have been? Paranoia set in when I felt a tickle in my throat yesterday afternoon. By 9pm last night I was convinced I had a deadly strain of diptheria, bird flu and measles. Good news folks, I don’t. I’m sorry I mainlined all those vitamin pills now…
Last Minute Purchases
After much thought I ended up buying one of those Rainbird spray jackets, because it’s nice and light, and packs down to the size of a tennis ball, well, it does now. Then I upgraded my canvas bag, and while I was going berserk (much to the delight of the camping store owner) I lashed out and bought one of those camping towels, which are made of the same stuff as the chamois I dry my car with. It also folds down to the size of a tennis ball. And at the counter they had these neat little clips which I casually tossed onto the pile. I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but it will definitely come in handy, so I’ll take it…
just in case.