I’ve been bragging about my trip to the Sahara for a few years now. I’ve been telling my friends (and anyone else who would listen) that I would be going again in June of 2012. To be honest with you I’m not sure if I even believed it myself. Then last night I decided, in my infinite (and intoxicated) wisdom, to ask people to sponsor me with all proceeds going to the British Epilepsy Association. Within about ten minutes I’d been sponsored one hundred pounds and several people had told me how brave I was and had wished me the best of luck. All of a sudden it became apparent that I could not back down and now I’m in a state somewhere between nervous and mild terror.
I imagine the type of person who normally undertakes such a trip is quite big, confident and has the financial reserves that mean they don’t have to worry about their money whilst they are away. Not only that, they would normally go in a group. As much as I like to kid myself that I’m exactly what I just described the reality is that I’m 5 foot 4 inches, of thin build and am basically about as far away from macho as humans get!
I rode my motorbike from England to Morocco 3 years ago but to be completely honest, I left England with the mindset that I would probably wimp out before getting to Morocco and end up just meandering around France and Spain. The next thing I knew I’d crossed the border into Morocco. There was no time to be scared, I turned up at the border and seemed to get stuck in the conveyor belt of processes to get across. This time I’ve been sponsored by many people so I have no choice, I have to go into Morocco. Not only that, I have to go all the way to the Sahara desert. Let’s just hope that summer in the Sahara is not too hot!
So, to say that I feel nervous would be an understatement at this point in time but for good reason I’d say. Riding a motorbike is a risky business at the best of times but, let’s face it, riding one that’s maintained by a computer programmer and completely overloaded with camping equipment eight thousand miles when ones directional ability is likely to get you lost on the way to the bathroom does not have a guaranteed outcome! The last time I went, I was about five miles from the beginning of my journey when I ran wide on a bend, I ended up flying onto the grass and just managed to stop my 300kg loaded up Transalp just before hitting a tree. For the next twenty miles or so I continuously repeated “Richard you complete twat!”, by the time I’d got to Dover I’d made it into a little song, I even had a little dance routine worked out too! With a start like that what chance did I have getting all the way to Morocco.