Dreams are great. Mostly they are something far away and unreachable. We love to revel in them and share them with friends. Some remain unreachable and therefore always remain dreams. Others can be made reality. And you really should try to make them reality, also if they are no longer dreams but simply reality. This is what happened to us a couple of days ago when we got on the plane after one and a half years of preparation.
Much longer ago we had the dream to undertake a long journey, free ourselves from the daily grind, the routine, the habit and the alleged safety. To see more of this wonderful planet that we call home. Meet new people and cultures, learn, grow, face new challenges and see what it does to us. Whether it changes us, makes us content or happier and provides new energy for what follows.
We then started to make the dream reality and that was different and somehow more cumbersome than we had thought. We had some experience based on our Africa trip with Humphrey but six months on a continent that we do not know at all and where we do not speak the language was a new kind of challenge.
So we started learning Spanish, Sona successfully, I myself rather with hands and feet. We learned how to keep Humphrey in shape, using oil, grease, lubricants, screws and bolts and everything else. Humphrey’s first aid kit is a large box on the roof, the one for the driver and the navigator consists of two small bags in one of our compartments. This is the list of contents:
3 liters of engine oil Liquid Moly 5W-30 Special Tec, 800 ml lubricant Fluid Film, 3 liters of transmission oil LS SAE 75W-140, 2x 1 liter of gasoline additive (against cold), 600 ml of brake cleaner, 2x sealing compound (Dirko), 1 liter of brake liquid SL DOT 4, grease, 400 ml universal oil (Ballistol). 1x bodywork adhesive, 400 ml lubricant WD40, motor strap, 1 set of bulbs, 3x air filters, 1 set of fuses, 3x diesel filter, 2x windscreen wipers, 2x ballhead track rod front axle, 3x oil filters, 1 fault localiser, 1 oil cap motor, spare valves and wheel nuts, tire repair set, 2x axle cap, wire, glue, lashing straps, rags/cloths, cable straps, glue gun, duct tape, wheel nut wrench, Leatherman, ammeter, 2x wrenches, socket for wheel nut, allen keys, pliers, open-end wrench, screwdrivers, ratchets, wheel rods, 3x special wheel nut, grease gun, rescue strap, straps… and that’s only the content of the box, we have more tools in our tool compartment.
We read travel reports and forums, googled what do to how, where, when and why and what better not. We realised that there are lots of people out there who want to, are doing or have done the same thing that we are planning. They have similar questions and worries. And some are just completely clueless.
We did our little test trip through the Alps, sample packed, sorted and reduced our stuff. We are still not traveling empty-handed.
We obviously spent a lot of time thinking about what we want to do and see and what would be nice and scenic drives. We also spent some time looking at distances as we know that we are not good with that and tend to underestimate distances massively.
There is a beautiful website where you can shift countries around on the world map to see their true size. The map we all commonly know displays countries around the equator in a more compressed way. So, Chile in reality is as “long” as driving from the North Cape in Norway to the north shore of the African continent. We can do that. We are sure that we will be doing crazy stuff like driving through Ecuador in one go.
We spent hundreds of hours, evenings and weekends preparing for our trip. It felt like a second job. And then there were our real jobs, we planned and prepared everything with significant lead time. We needed to learn to let go and say good-bye, also if it is only temporarily.
At the end of October when we put Humphrey in the container, it all became very concrete. There was no turning back anymore.
After our first stop in Buenos Aires (the photos in this post are from there) and before we will be reunited with Humphrey in Chile, we are back on a plane, on our way to Tierra del Fuego (land of fire) to realise one of these dreams: Seeing the White Continent, Antarctica.
The motto of the week in the little artisan coffee shop in Buenos Aires sums it up quite nicely: “There is no shortcut to places worth going.” …and the “worth going” does not refer to the pictures from the cemetery in “La Recoleta” in Buenos Aires. 😉