27 July 2009
By the end of tomorrow I will be safely back on English soil (I hope), ready to get my own piece of the Swine Flu action. In typical fashion my ability to write any kind of continuous prose is completely evading me; however, in an unusual step, I’m not going to carry on regardless. So, instead, I’ll take a different approach. Actually, it’s the same approach I took earlier on in the trip at one point, if I remember rightly, but I think I can probably get away with recycling it without anyone remembering.
I’m going for a list of things I’ve learned along the way, and interesting (and not-so-interesting) points about the trip. Hope you don’t mind!
1. It took me 109 days to get from London to Mwingi by bicycle.
2. In total, 122 days will have passed while undertaking this trip.
3. That means I’ve spent 1.3% of my life on it.
4. 1.3% of my life doesn’t sound like a lot.
5. It’s felt like a lot.
6. It will take me less than nine hours to get from Nairobi to London.
7. I regularly wonder why I didn’t think of that when deciding how to get here.
8. On the other hand, I did have more legroom on the way out (unless that begged for upgrade comes through. Please, please, please!!!).
9. Most people regularly exaggerate the dangers and difficulties of travelling through the countries I’ve been through.
10. It would be impossible to exaggerate the extent to which I would dissuade people from ever cycling through Ethiopia.
11. The things I’ve had which received most admiration were my lights, sunglasses and tyres.
12. A light was stolen in Sudan, a tyre in Turkey and a pair of sunglasses in Ethiopia.
13. Next time, I need to bring five pairs of sunglasses.
14. Next time, make sure there isn’t a next time.
15. Most people assume you’ve misunderstood the question when you respond to “Where have you come from?” with “England”.
16. Most people think you’re a bit silly when they find out you didn’t.
17. It’s quite possible to get by in countries where you don’t speak a single word of the language.
18. That’s a very good thing when you don’t speak a single word of the language in 13 and a half (that would be Belgium) of the 17 countries you’re visiting along the way.
19. You can get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room costing about £1 per night.
20. You can get a better night’s sleep in the Ambassador’s house.
21. Kenyans like to sing and dance.
22. I can’t sing or dance.
23. There’s something slightly magical about sleeping under a mosquito net.
24. Some of that magic is removed when there are multiple holes in the aforementioned net.
25. The Sudanese are some of the friendliest people in the world.
26. The Sudanese Government are arguably less so.
27. Many Ethiopians come in a similar category to the Sudanese Government.
28. The Turkish are pretty good too and they have better petrol stations, so Turkey wins overall.
29. The favoured gift from FARM-Africa beneficiaries is a bag.
30. I haven’t yet worked out what to do with a sizeable collection of bags.
31. They also like to give chickens.
32. My chicken didn’t taste very nice.
33. FARM-Africa’s project in Mwingi, despite severe drought, is still working.
34. You should donate some money to it.
35. Putting a suggestion to donate money in the middle of an unrelated list is a good way to make people do exactly that.
36. I hope that point 35 is true.
37. I don’t know how long a list such as this should last for.
38. I think that this is probably long enough.
Last year, I raised over £20,000 for FARM-Africa by rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
I'm now trying to raise even more, by cycling over 6,000 miles to visit the project in Kenya. Click here to get involved.