In the last couple of weeks we have been very busy. We repaired bikes, bought spare parts, organized our luggage, thought about what to take with us at least ten times, said goodbye to family and friends, cleaned our apartment, gave an interview to the Tiroler Tageszeitung and so on. We did thousands of other little things we cannot recall because it would be too much to mention.
But now we are almost done. Tomorrow will be our last day in Europe. We will pack the last things and have dinner with our family in the Netherlands.
Ben and Esmé have been relaxed and easy going most of the time. Like us, they also feel excited about the upcoming journey. Esmé is talking about airplanes a lot. Yesterday, I showed Ben pictures of the coastline and beaches near Cancun but he told me, that he wants to see a volcano. A couple of days ago they had a vaccination they still needed. Unfortunately both if them got really sick afterwards.
We have been sleeping in many different places in the last weeks, mostly friends, but both the children have had no problems with that. They enjoy meeting and talking to different people. Also travelling (bus, train, airplane) is easy with them. In general Esmé can’t sit still but in certain situations she seems to realize that she has to stay in her seat. For sure we also always prepare a long journey with nice food, new toys, games or stories. These distractions seem to work really well. Hopefully our 12 hour long flight to Mexico, the day after tomorrow, will be doable. We feel positive about it and look forward to lie on the beach very soon.
The bikes and all our camping gear are already in the Netherlands. The house is almost empty, everyday more boxes get filled up with stuff we want to keep, we quit our apartment and prepared our upcoming trip. The road is calling.
25th of November – 6th of December: The Netherlands
7th of December: Flying to Cancún, Mexico
We should leave in 4 days. For weeks we were busy preparing everything: organising the first days in Vancouver, buying some extra things we would need, repairing our bikes, putting the bikes in boxes, emptying the house (more boxes) and so forth
(We didn’t got the chance to take pictures of all the luggage we would take with us.)
But than it happened: four weeks ago Peter suddenly couldn’t walk anymore. He had a lot of pain while sitting and walking and was only able to lie in bed (next to the bike boxes).
We went to different doctors and did a scan and very soon the problem was clear: He had a spinal disc herniation. We tried different things, Peter stayed in hospital several times for a couple of days, alternative medicine, but nothing helped. The doctors told us that, if he wants to cycle tour again like we used to do, he needs surgery. And that’s what he did. Last Thursday he had the surgery and everything went well. Now Peter is at home and he can walk without pain again. Which is a big relief for all of us.
The last weeks have been emotional and stressful for all of us. First there was this uncertainty. “What is the problem?” “How can we fix it?” “Will the pain ever go away?” …
“Shall we continue packing everything and emptying our house?” “Can we leave on 22nd of April?” “Shall we fly to Canada and travel in a different way?” …
Finally we realised that it would be really stupid to start this trip right now. Peter has to get better. In six weeks it will be clear if everything healed well and if the pain is really gone. Than he slowly can start to train his muscles again and maybe try to cycle a little bit. It is hard to wait and live with this uncertainty. We love our life on the road but maybe we can never tour like we used to do again.
Ben still is very confused. Everyday he is talking about “our big trip” and about the “bear country”. He keeps telling us “I will take … with me when we go on our big trip.” We tell him that we can’t go right now and that daddy has to get better first but it is really difficult for him to understand. When Peter had the operation Ben said “Now we can go on our big trip mummy, can’t we?”
That’s life and life is going on. Petra is thinking of how to tour alone with two small kids this year (probably only for a couple of days), Peter wants to follow with a car (if he is able to sit for a longer period by then) and we look forward to enjoy another summer in the beautiful Austrian Alps.
As you can see we booked our flights. Which means we definitely start traveling again this spring.
Till now our preparations have been minimal due to Petra working on her photoexhibition and her work in the skischool. (Altough this year the winter in the Alps has not been very spectacular. It was more like spring … till now. It is snowing since 2 days.)
But some things we did already prepare:
Besides a 2 1/2l pan (Esmé is eating like an adult 🙂 ) we also bought some drybags from Ortlieb. The blue one is 35l (!!!) and I really hope, we will not need that much space too often.
We organized everything to be able to homeschool Ben. In Austria it is legal to homeschool your child. We talked to all the people who need to know and borrowed those schoolbooks from a school. We will not carry them, but it can be useful to know how children who go to school learn how to write, read and calculate. This time we will carry a tablet (bought second hand for a good price) mostly to have a look at the weather forecast, maps and to use warmshowers.org. (I’m writing this post on it right now and I’m definitely not used to it yet.) At a certain point it will also be useful for the education of our children.
And last but not least, Ben and Esmé drew THE map which we will need to cycle in the land of the bears, like Ben is calling Canada.
We keep you updated!
The final countdown started:
We quit our apartment.
We gave away our dear dogs Coco and Ouiza. It hurt.
We sold things, put them in boxes or gave them away.
We repaired our bikes, got new passports for Peter and Ben, bought a new tent and new Ortlieb panniers, and got all kind of vaccinations.
Now we say goodbye to family and friends. We will depart around 20th of August from Austria.
Asia we are coming. Let the adventure begin!