From plan to planning. How our journey started
Imagine you are in your early thirties. Check. You have a good job with future potential. Check. You think of buying a house and starting a family soon. Medium check. You are… uhm… well… I guess you got my point. Yes, sure, we want this too. We are looking forward to that beautiful part of life. But do we need to do this now? Or can we spare some extra years and do something completely different? Let’s think out loud: yes, I think we can do something completely different. But then the question is: what?
"A good bottle of red wine and Chet Baker playing in the background"
This was exactly the question we asked ourselves when we turned thirty. After some late-night conversations, accompanied by a good bottle of red wine and Chet Baker playing in the background, we decided to leave this life behind – for now, or ever – and go for a big trip. A trip with a 4x4 car, like a Toyota Landcruiser or Land Rover Defender, towards the East: The Stans.
After doing some research, we had quite a clear picture of how we should approach this. We would buy a 4x4, prepare it for off-road riding, buy all the camping and cooking equipment we need, quit our jobs, sell our stuff and hit the road. But just before we started executing our plans, we visited an Overlanders Event. This event had, in hindsight, a pretty big impact. Why? The gross majority of the visitors were hardcore adventure bike riders.
"You roll this yellow beast fearsome on a camping"
Now, picture the following: you drive a yellow Fiat Panda (see picture, yes, that was our car) and you roll this yellow beast fearsome on a camping which is occupied by hundred roaring BMW 1200 GS’s, Ducati Multistrada’s and Honda Africa Twins and Transalps. Well, I can honestly tell you, that made a proper impression! But who was more impressed? TNT looking at all those bikes (which were not really roaring, but in my memory they did), or all those people, on their roaring bikes, looking at this approaching yellow danger.
The next two days was a quick look into the world of experienced world travels. Workshops were given, information sessions were held and beer was drunk next to a campfire. Our imagination was ignited with ideas of what we potentially could experience.
"This time there was no option I would quit or fail"
When we left the event, I was determined to start driving lessons a.s.a.p. For me, the earlier shot of getting my motor driving license was back again. So a week after the event I started my driving lessons and instantly was remembered how it felt to enjoy the freedom of riding a bike. This time there was no option I would quit or fail. And so it happened, only two months later, I was the proud owner of a driving license. That same week, day actually, I was not only the proud owner of a motor driving license, I also became the proud owner of a very cool Honda Africa Twin. The exact bike with which I will explore some beautiful places on our planet.
Alright, first person done: license and bike were in the pocket. Second one to go, Tessa. For me doing this motor thing was not something big or new, it was on my mind for quite a while. But for Tessa this motor “thing” was big, and new, and never on her mind before. So when we discussed the idea of her driving a bike, getting a license, buying a bike, and driving it wherever, it was, let’s say, somewhat overwhelming. It was an idea that had to be explored with profound patience and care.
"Give ten driving lessons for Valentine's day"
How to convince her? Simple: just give ten driving lessons for Valentine's day (so romantic!). She accepted, with a little smile, asking if this was a gift to her, or a gift to myself. Well, I guess, in the end it doesn’t matter anymore, because I can honestly tell you, she killed it! All exams were passed in one go, and only one week after graduating we bought her bike. It seems that what started as a nice idea, was coming together pretty well.
With the major hygiene factors ticked off, we were almost ready to go. Only one thing remained: an actual trip with our bikes – also known as the ‘test trip’ (hear the deep voice and bathroom echo on the background). Our test trip destined Bretagne, France. This trip, nothing compared to what we will experience, was a good exercise to test our skills and gear. But most important, it forced us to ask the essential question: is this motor ‘thing’ something we wanted? Spoiler alert: shit yes, we wanted this!
Alright, let me wrap this up. I guess the above gives a short insight on how we moved from plan to planning. In total it took almost three years, from planting the seed to making it happen. We noticed that after our test trip things became more serious. More serious simply means saving more money, by spending less. I cannot imagine now, at the moment of writing this blog, how this trip will be for us. I’m on my way to work on a cold and foggy Wednesday morning in January 2020. My train has a delay of 60 minutes, causing the people around me to huff and puff. Now, do you still question whether TNT on a Trip is ready to go? You bet we are!