Tag Archives: downsizing

The Road To Spain

Yes please! I want to ride through these mountains just outside Granada

The mountains near Granada – can’t wait to ride my bike through here!

Well, the clock is ticking now till I hand back the keys to my Melbourne apartment, and in the nick of time I’ve booked some flights: yes, all roads lead to Spain!

Plan A – ride Volty across Oz – was in the end a non-starter, alas. Even doing things cheaply, prices here in Australia seem to be escalating by the day, making long-term travel a bit of a no-no in terms of stretching my dollar to the max. (I was chatting to Austin and Lois at the Adventure Travel Film Festival this weekend and they said their latest trip here is woefully short because everything’s so expensive). Add to that the vast distances (huge tracts of nothingness) between places in Australia and the fact that all the most interesting areas are  hundreds of clicks off-road, and I finally had to admit that my 250cc Suzuki road bike just isn’t cut out for the kind of trip I really want to do.

Good to go - my bike gear, ready to be packed for new adventures!

Good to go – my bike gear, ready to be packed for new adventures!

So, long story short – Plan B! Head to Europe and look at picking up a Suzuki VanVan or similar to go touring through Europe, North Africa and beyond. And, well, that’s all the plan there is. With the money pocketed from selling my possessions and my beloved Volty (sob! I can’t talk about it, it was a wrench!), I’m heading first to Granada in southern Spain. I’ll base myself there at least to start with, and start checking out bikes and potential routes while living as frugally as I possibly can. I was there a couple of times last year and couldn’t believe how cheap it was to live. A good friend has a house in the Moorish part of town – the Albaicín – so I’ll head there and figure things out as I go.

My Spanish is rusty as f*** (I did a degree in Spanish and French and used to be fluent), but hopefully it’ll come back as I mingle with the locals again. Obviously the money’s a worry longer-term but I’ll work that out on the fly – hopefully by doing a bit of freelance TV work in Europe and using my TEFL certificates to get some casual teaching work. Oh and then there’s the writing, of course.

Yup, they even have GSes in Granada!

Yup, they even have GS-es in Granada!

So there it is. I keep calling it the “Non-Plan” because it’s a plan that isn’t really a plan. And I must say, I’m rather liking it so far!

I’m now in a final frenzy of cleaning, packing, selling my last items on Gumtree, and generally winding things up ready to hit Melbourne Airport Tuesday afternoon. Then it’s all change as I head to Spain to start a whole new chapter.

Let’s see how it goes, eh…? 🙂

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A Fork In The Road

Hey, hey. Well a week since my last post, it’s been all systems go as I start packing up my Melbourne apartment, ready to move on. Life’s become a whirlwind of op shop runs, Cash Converters dashes, and other cross-city errands to sell, trade or otherwise offload the vast majority of my material possessions. Furniture, car, household goods…all are gradually being “re-located” to new owners. And all I can think is: How the hell did I end up with so much stuff?!

Which way next?

Which way next?

Happily, Volty’s been keeping me sane – regular daily rides down the coast are my “Happy Pill”, as I feel the sea breeze through my helmet and riding jacket, and enjoy the sensation of freedom on the road all over again.

I’m making the most of these rides. I’m still undecided about whether to do a cross-Oz trip on the bike or head to Spain to cook up a whole new two-wheeled adventure exploring Europe and Africa. But right now, it has to be said, Europe’s looking like the more viable – and cost-effective – option. And that being the case… it means I’ll have to sell my beloved Suzuki in a couple of weeks. This is of course gutting – regular readers will know how much I love my TU250X – but having looked into shipping/freighting options, I just don’t think I can afford to take the bike with me. 😦

On the up-side, once I’m in Andalucía I’ll hopefully be able to buy the new bike I’ve already got my eye on – the sturdy, characterful Suzuki Van Van – which hopefully will be the start of lots of new moto adventures! 🙂

At this fork in the road, I’m excited about what’s to come but also rather trepidatious about which road to take. It’ll be another week or so before I finally make up my mind – I’m going to enjoy the Adventure Travel Film Festival next weekend and then see how I feel after mingling with the great and good of the adventure world!

Whichever path I choose, I can’t wait to be out in the world again, exploring new places, meeting new people, and soaking up lots of fresh life experiences. Bring it on! 

New Year, New Adventures…

So here’s the thing. Christmas Day, I’m sitting at home staring down the barrel of yet another year spent thinking about lots of adventures I desperately want to do but can’t afford. Maybe it’s the rather nice Spanish jerez I’m sculling, but from somewhere very deep within something suddenly clicks: Fuck it, life’s too short. If you keep waiting till you have enough money, you’ll be sitting here till Doomsday! Within the week, I’ve handed in notice on my TV job (much to the chagrin of my employer!), on my rented Bayshore apartment…in short, on four years of life in Melbourne. That’s it – I’m off!

So what’s the plan, I hear you cry?! Well…Let’s just say it’s evolving by the day. No, really. First task is to drastically “downsize”. That means clearing out the contents of my flat, putting personal items into storage, selling the car, the furniture, getting rid of the cat… (oh hang on a minute, scrub that last one – I don’t have a cat!).

Plan #1: Head off across Oz on Volty?

Plan #1: Head off across Australia on Volty?

Then, somewhere swirling in the back of my brain – as yet not fully formed – is “The Plan”. Well, it’s two plans, actually. First is to take off with minimal luggage on my beloved Volty – yes, the Suzuki TU250X that has been my absolute joy and salvation since I purchased it a few months ago. I’ve put nearly 5,000kms on it from new so it’s well and truly run in, and I’ve got this idea of a kind of “last gasp Australia”, in which I’ll head across the country for an indeterminate amount of time and actually experience some of this vast continent I’ve been living in for the last few years.

Plan #2: Head across Europe on a Suzuki Van Van?

Plan #2: Explore Europe and beyond on a Suzuki Van Van              Photo ⓒ Suzuki (promotional)

Then again… After such a long time in Oz, I’ve a real hankering to head east for a while, to Europe. I’m craving history, culture, old buildings, speaking foreign languages, joie de vivre! After a couple of trips to Andalucía last year, I’m thinking of going back to hatch a plan that – surprise, surprise – also involves una moto! I’ve been looking at a particular motorbike there – the Suzuki Van Van – and reading about people crossing the Alps, Mongolia and other far-flung places on just such a bike. It looks like a kind of “off-road” version of Volty, with chunkier wheels and a more rugged set-up, and I’m thinking what an adventure it would be to buy one and ride through Europe, North Africa and beyond…

So there it is. I’d love to tell you the plan is more formed than it actually is, but there’s something rather delicious (if bloody scary!) about making it up as I go. Which plan I’ll plump for (or maybe I’ll do both!), I have no idea just now. All I know is, 26th Feb I have to vacate my apartment and hand back the keys once and for all – so I guess I’d better make my mind up by then, eh?! Maybe you guys can help me decide…

PS For anyone who’s wondering, yes I will still be at the Adventure Travel Film Festival 15-17 Feb! I’ve been working hard on the press and PR for it and wouldn’t miss it for the world! Come join us for a weekend of adventure and cold beer! 🙂

http://www.adventuretravelfilmfestival.com/australian-festival/