Tag Archives: safari

5 Months to Go (ish)

Life is moving so fast as the moment, that it is all becoming a bit of a blur!  With in that blur are some key things that have changed in the plan, some for the betterment of the trip, some that will make things a little more challenging.

The Overland Event
The Overland Event

The biggest impact on life right now is the decision to start spending time in a caravan.  The story of how this came about is a long one, but ultimately, the need to prepare Sofia for life style of no immediate access to TV and internet comes to the forefront as she will need to start to find other ways to occupy herself.   It will be a huge adjustment for her and one that is better to happen before we leave when I can give her the attention, than when we are on the road and I have a million things to focus on.

Safari through the New Forest
Safari through the New Forest

 

The plan has changed in other ways too, not least because there is definitely an escalation of ‘trouble’ in the world.  I certainly expected at some point that Egypt and Turkey would be more directly subject to events, however, I believed that would be next year, long after we have past through.  The issues are still mild in both those countries, however, the a yellow flag is raised for me and so not only have I been looking for alternative boats to take us across the Med but will look to seeing if we can bring the timeline forward a little.  Either way, I plan to have a definite date of departure in the next few days, either with a pre-booked crossing or a plan to arrive in port (Italy or Greece) and find a way across when we get there.

Encouraging Sofia to look and see!
Encouraging Sofia to look and see!

One thing I am certain of is that we will not be cancelling as I fully intend to we get through before any serious escalation occurs.   And as happens with changes like these other aspects change to meet the requirement.  The best one being the school I would like Sofia to go to on our return, who have started their assessment process earlier initially to ensure that we would be ready for December, but clearly this will allow and earlier timeline to occur as well.

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Why Africa?

One of the main questions I have received is, why have I chosen Africa?  surely it would be safer to go to Asia or the Americas.   And a good question considering that we rarely see positive information about Africa.  People are either dying of an epidemic, or being exploited, or at each others throats about money or some ancient grudge.   Put that way, I don’t think I would much want to spend time in Africa either.

aartpr2I do have insight, however, as I was born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), and lived there until I was 11 years old before my parents moved to the UK.   I have visited Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique since, however, after 30 years of european indoctrination, I can safely say that I am very much a Brit.  What hasn’t left me though, is that insight into the continent that very few people get to see unless they stay an extended period of time.

People in Africa are generally no different from any other place on the planet.  You will find good people and bad people in equal measure (what ever your parameter of measurement) to the rest of the world.  However, that said, the bad can be really bad very quickly and for this reason, it is not a continent I would recommend to anyone who wants to travel nomadically off the beaten track.   A reasonable amount of travel experience is necessary to be able to anticipate situations, and be savvy on how to deal with them appropriately should the need arise.  Even with my history, we will still be doing expedition training with Trail Quest so we are well versed before we set off.

What is undoubtedly true about Africa though, is that who ever goes, in what ever logo 1capacity, ends up falling in love with it.  It is to great credit to the people who live there that this happens and for no other reason.  So my question would be, why anywhere else?

It helps that I know people out there, and this is important and what really makes Africa
stand out for me, because when you are travelling with autism, having back up is going to be important.  Sofia’s autism is argumentative and contrary, and this will wear thin for both of us, so knowing where there will be points along the way where we will be with friends and family is going to be an important aspect to getting through the trip.  It will not be possible to achieve this level of support in any other part of the world, and it is critical to making the journey possible for Sofia.

We still have some way to go with fundraising – so please donate something today on our GofundMe page – http://www.gofundme.com/africawithautism 

 

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Only Seven Months Left to Plan!

Yes, there are only 7 months left to plan!  I don’t know if I’m super excited about leaving, or super terrified at the prospect of everything that still needs to fall into place in this space of time.

The main thing, however, is that we now have our bike (see post:  Transport has been arranged!) and in one sense I feel like we are ready to go, that all the things between now and December are loose ends that need tying up.  If only it were that simple!

Another achievement of the month just gone (feels more like evaporated) is that the National Autistic Society have endorsed the project and we are now going to donate excess funds raised for the project to them.   I am really happy about this, not least because Sofia and I have benefited enormously from the organisation.  Without the support they provide through courses like the ‘Early Bird’, and the local support group which arranges coffee mornings and special trips, I would not be here today talking about taking a journey with my daughter across Africa.

Certainly when you are a parent of a child with autism, nothing can quite equate to having the opportunity of meeting other parents who know and understand exactly what you mean, who don’t judge your child, and will always be ready with ideas on new ways of looking at situations that might help with understanding and finding solutions.

With these two outcomes this last month, I am hoping it is a down hill ride to December.  We still have lots to do in terms of raising sponsorship and donations, and will we be selling window stickers at a biker haunt near you over the summer.  These will also be available on our GoFundMe page – there are no limits to where I can send one!

2015-04-15 13.45.17Still to come is the bike getting a paint job, and we need to start readying it for the trip.  Thoughts about petrol carrying capacity weigh heavily on my mind these days and so a new more detailed level of planning needs to start taking place. Maintenance training will need to be done soon as well, so far I have only topped up the engine oil, apparently there are 2 other oil wells which take different oil, and I can’t even find them at this point.

I have to say though, all is working out perfectly.  Even more so now that we have the bike and sidecar.  Sofia loves riding in the sidecar, and I love driving it, so with these very big boxes ticked, I am now certain that we will not slip our leaving date of December, in fact, in the coming month I hope to set the date specifically and start to work on our launch location.

logo 1In the mean time, please donate £3.50 (£3.75 international) and get your own window sticker to show your support.   http://www.gofundme.com/africawithautism

 

 

 

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The First Month of #Planning and I’m Still Here!

I think those who know what an expedition like this involves in terms of planning, fully expect me to give up, and as time goes on I can understand why!   The scope of what is involved with a project like this is quite overwhelming, and to be honest, its success is going to rest on the valuable support that I receive from individuals and organisations to make it happen.

Of course the most overwhelming aspect is time.  Linear time is just so constricting, and I am having to use all my understanding about it to overcome this.  Yes, I dip into frustration, as somehow the desire to have overcome all obstacles in one moment gets greater focus, but remembering that actually it is in that moment that I must be most focused on simply feeling good, because that is when all the obstacles are overcome.  Confused?  well spiritual practice can have that effect!

Budgeting has also been a challenge as I look to cut back the budget as much as possible as well as decide on a more realistic timescale for the journey.   I had pulled together a budget over the Christmas period, it was rushed, but good to get an idea of what was going to be involved.    I was hoping as I started to follow the route in more detail, that I would be able to bring the costs down a bit.  This is turning into a swings and roundabouts exercise, as I am finding that I can cut costs in one area, but discover costs in another.   I have followed the route so far to Mozambique with this method, and thus far have managed to save only a couple of thousand – which might sound like a lot, but in light of the project as a whole, my target was more in the park of ten thousand!  I have yet to cover the other countries, however, I suspect I am heading towards a similar result.

The focus of the budget has been the journey itself.   The other option is that I start culling equipment that I feel is important, but can actually do without.  For example, a solar panel and battery to ensure we always have contingency power.  I have been offered paniers to borrow for the bike with will knock off some more (Thank you http://www.trailquestadventure.com/) .  Secondhand general camping kit has also been offered – which whilst not hugely expensive – will help out a lot (again thank youhttp://www.trailquestadventure.com/) .  The bike itself is another area to save £££, ideally a new bike with side car that I’ve had time to run in, however, It may be possible to find a second hand bike that might just make the journey.  The risks of this are clear, however, it may be one of the best ways to reduce the cost.

Ha!  it is a struggle going from best case to worst, and probably a bigger struggle than the trip its self.   Well worth it though, as at the end of the day it is the trip that is most important and I’m prepared to make it happen by taking the steps necessary.

New Face Book Page to Like – #Africa With #Autism

Thinking in the Clouds

I have now set up a Face Book Page independent of my other interests.   It seemed to make sense, as then it is clearer as to exactly what people are supporting – Africa With Autism Expedition. Raising awareness of Autism and fund raising for the National Autistic Society

Please Like and Share with as many people as possible – your Like will help make it happen!

Thank you for you Support!  Click here

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