Planes

travel

Unlike bikes and boats for me planes is are all about the destination not the journey.

The hours being processed through an airport, the brain, bum and leg numbing time stuck in the seat (Ahh! I’m an economy as well as piecemeal adventurer).

But credit where credit is due modern flight has made so many more destinations open to all of us adventurers.

So I have to include an obligatory plane horror story.  It involves a flight from Singapore to New Delhi. While not a long flight it was complicated by:

  • arriving in New Delhi in the early hours of the morning;
  • the family was in tow with 3 kids aged from 9 to16 years of age (having kids in tow adds an additional element to any travel adventure); and
  • we were arriving in India a week after the Mumbai terrorist attach in November 2008.

In fact the anxiety started on 27 November 2008 on the way to Melbourne Airport for the flight to Singapore.  We had turned on the car radio and of course the Mumbai terror attack was headlined. My kids asked were we safe and I quickly replied ” terrorists don’t attack 3 star hotels” it sort of jus came out, the safety of being just one of the masses rather than one of the elite.

After a five day stopover in Singapore staying with friends we headed to New Delhi.  The flight across was at night, turbulent and my daughter was vomiting all the way.

We arrived at the Indira Ghandi International Airport at about 4am.  India was in rising hysteria since the bombings.  The first challenge was customs where the military, now installed, were determined to stab my sons football incuse there was a bomb in it..  My son’s dismay and careful persuasion saved the day and the football.  Immigration moved at a snails pace and the moving out into the main part of the terminal we were confronted by a sandbag machine gun placement just like in the war moving and camouflage clad commandoes with assault rifles prowling the floor.  By this time the kids were wrapped around my and my partners legs.  Even the older two who were developing the aloofness of emerging teenage years stayed very close at hand.

To add to the chaos New Delhi was preparing to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and so construction. or it least the pre construction destruction phase was well underway.  As we stepped out of the airport into the throng I was so glad I had prearranged to be picked up.  It was as we weaved our way through road detours and construction work to our hotel in the Karol Bagh district of Central Delhi, I realised that just back in October this area had had a terrorist bombing.  I didn’t mention it to the kids as we were all relieved to reach out old but safe 3 star hotel.

India is an amazing mix of seething  activity with tiny pockets of quiet and reflection.

One of those quiet places is Ghandi’s Memorial.

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As I select this photograph I remember that the day before the memorial had been visited by a Russian Delegation and the wreathe at the centre of the memorial is in the Russian colours.

As I write from the Russian/Ukraine boarder through the middles east there is an almost continuous line of war and terror running south to India and I wonder where the idea of peaceful resistance of peaceful change and enlightenment is hiding.  Is it just hunkered down in this quiet space in the teeming mass of the Indian capital.

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Motorcycle Touring

Motorbikes, travel
My Moto Guzzi  loaded up while touring

My Moto Guzzi loaded up while touring

The vast continent of Australia, with its generally mild climate, large areas of sparsely populated land, mountains and rolling plains makes it a wonderful place for motorcycle touring.

It allows the rider to feel the full range of emotions and sensations the are experienced when riding a motorbike especially a large powerful machine.

The mountain ranges, like Great Dividing Range http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Dividing_Range which runs north south for the length of the east coast of Australia and twisty coastal roads, provide an exhilarating touring environment.

There is nothing like the feel of hustling a big bike through the mountains dancing into the corners with the feet working the gears and rear brake, the hands flying over the clutch, and front brake, then blasting out, past the apex of the corner as you roll on the throttle and you feel the roar and vibration of the engine as the machine bursts forward.

Top of the Great Divide in norther NSW

Top of the Great Divide in northern NSW

Also the long open roads of the outback provide the opportunity to explore the feeling of speed as the bike charges forward at high speed roaring and bucking over the long open road, with its small imperfections, its bumps and dips accentuated by the speed of the machine.  The wind stronger and stronger as the speed increases, the scenery a blur at the edge of the peripheral vision and the body and bike becoming one on the ribbon of road.

Unlike the boat, the bike is not a vehicle for serenity, its a raw wild beast where danger is always close at hand.

Long Open Road in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Long Open Road in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Sailing

Sailing, travel

Sailing as a vehicle for adventure offers many emotions and feelings.  There is;

  • the determination of a long sail across a body of water or along the coast;
  • a day on the water with friends;
  • trepidation at the approach of bad weather,
  • the thrill of sailing at speed at one with the wind and the water; and
  • the exhilaration of reaching a beautiful distant port.
Sailing on Port Phillip Melbourne

Sailing on Port Phillip Melbourne

Harbout at Apollo Bay - Victoria

Harbour at Apollo Bay – Victoria

But one of most gratifying feelings from sailing is being alone on the water on a warm night with a favorable breeze in a state of serenity.  I wrote this poem whilst sailing back home to Melbourne from Hobart one warm autumn night.  I was off Cape Shank http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Schanck,_Victoria on the Coast of Victoria and the weather was perfect.

Waning Moon

Alone
at night
the sky full of the milky way
clear in the darkness
the sea black
the phosphorescence sparkling in the wake of the boat
as she cuts her way through the sea
the light autumn breeze providing her power
silence and darkness
The full moon of Easter has passed
in the last hours of darkness she arises
the waning moon
she sucks the sparkle from the sea
turning it into her own weak ribbon of light
Our moods are joined as one
this my last night at sea
the waning of my adventure
dawn will bring my home port and another voyage finished
but like the waning moon
its a phase
in a little while a new cycle will begin
as with the heavens life is a series of cycles
some more spectacular than others
but cycles of the rhythm of life.

Bikes, Boats and Planes

Motorbikes, Sailing, travel

Over the years my escapes into little adventures have been on bikes, boats, and planes.

While travel by plane is solely utilitarian a means of getting from A to B in a quick and efficient manner its a form of travel that lacks souls and places the traveler in a space divorced from time and the elements.

Alternatively, bikes and boats put one in the moment, in the elements, in the wind, the sun and the rain in both cases the vessel/vehicle become one in the pursuit of moving forward in the journey.

So the tales that follow will include elements of journeys primarily by motorbike, by yacht, by plane interspersed with other forms of journeyingIMG_4615.

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What is a piece meal adventurer

travel

Many of us have admired the tales of exploration and adventure, For me it was Jon Sanders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Sanders sailing solo round the world single handed in his small 34 toot yacht or Tim McCartney-Snape http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Macartney-Snape scaling Mount Everest or Charley Boorman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_Boorman on his motorbike traveling across Africa.  But being a piece meal adventurer I have to fit my adventures into days and weeks not months and years as i juggle the obligations of work family and life in general.

So as a piece meal adventurer the tales include those times when the obligations of life are shed and adventure embraced.

This blog is a mixture of reminiscing of adventures past overlapping with adventures current and still to come

Enjoy the adventures!!

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