Thursday, June 19, 2014

The next step

There are people in this world that love flying. They get all excited about the prospect of flying to their holiday destination and arriving at the airport means the start of the holiday to them. Not me. I don't mind aeroplanes as such, they're a great invention. It's the airlines and airports I don't like.

The endless distances at airports like Frankfurt and Amsterdam, the pointless and humiliating 'security' checks and total lack of any form of 'human' treatment is unbelievable. Once upon a time we could walk with our ticket to the airline counter, they checked the number of the ticket against the data in their computer and gave you a boarding pass. Easy process. Now they scan the ticket and we spend 20 minutes waiting for the 'customer service attendant' to type god knows what into the computer while we're getting barn-legs from waiting so long. No wonder the queues are endless. Of course the guy in front of you is a tattooed hippie-retard that smells like something that hasn't had a bath for a month and has more facial hair than a mammoth… If that makes it through the security then anything will.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...
Next is the security check. Hand in your hand luggage, take off your shoes, drop your belt for the metal detector… How long before we all have to strip naked I wonder. And for what? Oh, they're looking for explosives… aren't explosives plastic these days? Oh, and you're not allowed to have any liquids with you… I had, in the form of lens cleaner, but they never even noticed it. Guess what, the hairy hippie got through it as well… luckily he's on another flight!

Having just spend many months in the chaotic countries that make up an area called Mexico and Central America, the way airlines seem to think they can treat people is even more revolting. Despite all the madness we as westerners see in Mexico for instance, there is much more humanity in the chaotic way that society functions than in the way airlines treat their customers. Customers that have paid for the privilege to sit on one of their uncomfortable seats for many hours.  

Last view of Costa Rica...
In the chaos of Central America people treat each other as human beings. They communicate and interact as one person to another. Airlines and airports don't. They give you a ticket with a number and treat you as a number. You'll find yourself going through barricades like cattle and waiting in endless queues for pointless exercises for 2 hours. They don't ask for your name but want your ticket number and passport number. Why don't they stop the pretence and just issue us with a barcode at the entrance and from thereon let automatic gates direct us to where they want us to be?

So why did we do it? Why did I call this piece of text 'The next step'? Because we are off to Europe! The last 18 months we have been travelling on our motorcycles and seen parts of this world we had never even dreamt of seeing. It has been an amazing journey with amazing experiences. Just going through the photos of the journey so far it's hard to comprehend all we have seen… This may sound like we are about to get back into 'normal' life, but we aren't. Far from it.

We had wondered right from the beginning if Mike was perhaps the youngest person to travel around the world by motorcycle. It sure seemed that way as getting insurance for him turned out to be more than just a challenge, it was virtually impossible! Like no-one younger than 21 had ever done this. There were countries where he couldn't ride his bike at all until he was 18, yet when we started he was 16… At that stage we weren't sure if we could actually do a full circumnavigation. We certainly needed sponsors to do it but we couldn't even tell them with any certainty that it was possible to do it because of his age. So we filed the application, made the all important photo, collected all the evidence of where he has been and when but kept quiet about it. 

Mike doesn't like flying… it makes him sick, literally. These motion sickness tablets seem to help though!
As he is now 18, there was technically nothing to stop him anymore. As far as we know all the countries that we wanted to go to allow an 18 year old to ride on his own motorcycle. As we were also on continent number 3, we started doing some maths… and worked out that from now on we could say with certainty that it was possible. Not only that; if he could pull it off, he could break the unofficial record and the one currently in progress by 4 years. Of course we needed more support to do this. Unless you are a millionaire attempts like these are simply not possible without support. We had a little window to get this organised, as we had to wait for the bikes to arrive and some repairs and major servicing had to be done as well. 

Over the next couple of posts we'll show you how we're getting along, the highlights and the disappointments we inevitably are going to experience along the way. But we'll also show you how people and companies are helping us to achieve that goal of setting a new World Record!