Nope, this is not the name of our first Norwegian stop! A couple of you may recognise the term from a previous life, which will presumably conjure up a range of generally negative mental images, mostly associated with the colour brown and heat. For all others – perhaps a little research required?
Last few days before we take off, but with lots still to do. It is interesting that our conversations now transition to the more practical aspects of this next year. For example: I’ve been put in charge of inputs and outputs. In fact, this means that I’m going to be doing the cooking as well as emptying the toilet cassette and grey water. I understand that these are closely linked, and also that there was not going to be too much conversation on these topics. I’m not sure as to the reality of doing this regularly over the year – perhaps one just goes numb (I hope so, in the olfactory area at least!). On the other hand, I’m really happy not to have Niki’s stressful job as navigator, especially when faced by an irritable driver who is uncertain as the van’s width, can’t read any foreign languages, and has his mother’s sense of direction (‘always turn right, son, and you’ll get there, or at least see interesting places’.)
I know the kids will be laughing when I say that I like to do a bit of research on topics before committing. Well, one interesting area that comes up in blogs, but not usually in great depth, is how one feels in the period immediately before setting off. Last year, getting ready to cycle to Lisbon with Lewis (the Pommy son-in-law, nice guy) there was a real sense of relief at having something positive to focus on, the planning necessary to get from A-B without going past G (as sometimes happened), and building up a bit of fitness to see us through 2600km. This is a little different for a lot of reasons. Perhaps the most important of these is the fact that, at this point, I’d happily just take off and embrace a semi-retired lifestyle, choosing to work on projects that are of interest, without the daily complexities of my current job. I’ve no idea how this year will turn out, but, if it’s good, why stop after a year? On the other hand, although I’m happy to live in a 5.95m van with Niki, will she put up with me?
Whatever the case might be, at this stage the upcoming adventures give us something to hold onto, and provide a little tasty alternative to ‘vasbyt’. Time will, without doubt, have a tale to tell.