Category Archives: Preparation


Clutter consists of things that aren’t used, clothes that will never be worn and all that rubbish that lies around unbeknownst in cellars, on attics and in garages. Clutter developed alongside civilisation when people congregated in cities to live in houses, which, come to think of it, are the single most effective means to collect clutter.

It became plethoric with the arrival of shopping malls.

A nomadic lifestyle therefore is very conducive to decluttering your life as you can only keep what you can carry with you. I am in the process of decluttering right now and it feels good. Everything that doesn’t fit in the panniers of my bicycle has to go.

A large portion of my books will go to charity and I will donate most of my clothes to the Red Cross. Someone else will have to look smart in them.

Godawful boring, these pre-departure posts. Wait till I get to Belgium…


This is me at the Victoria Falls.


Vaccinations and health

Some people think whisky is expensive.

To put that in perspective: I paid 65,50 euro for a 1 ml booster dose of rabies vaccine.
This means that this vaccine, if served as a standard measure of Scotch (25 ml), would set you back roughly 1600 euro.

Given the fact that In unvaccinated humans, after symptoms have developed, rabies is virtually always fatal, I thought it rather worth the expense. Even more so after I read some more about the horrible development of the disease once it becomes manifest.

One of the more interesting symptoms of rabies is hydrophobia or ‘fear of water’. It is manifest in the later stages of an infection where even the suggestion of drinking fluids may cause extremely painful spasms of the muscles in the throat.

If you ever flipped through the health section of a guidebook you might have noticed that it is not always that easy to diagnose tropical illnesses. Symptoms of nearly every disease include fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and headaches. If you suffer from any of these afflictions you could either have malaria, dengue fever, yellow fewer, hepatitis, a dozen other tropical diseases or all of the above.

So it’s a good idea to get your shots.

Instead of repeating boring facts about malaria that every informed reader should already know, I’ll just mention a rather intriguing list of famous people who died of malaria:

– Alexander the Great
– Dante
– Caravaggio
– Lord Byron
– Oliver Cromwell
– King Mongkut of Siam
– David Livingstone
– Fausto Coppi
– Buffalo Calf Road Woman

I will elaborate more on vaccinations and health in this post later…
I lied. Sorry.


How to quit your job

For most positions it will be necessary to write a letter of resignation. It is best to keep this brief and to the point. Be honest about your motives if you ever want to return to that particular industry, otherwise you can just be honest. Don’t forget to state the exact date of your resignation.

An example of a letter of resignation:

Dear Mr. Pickwick,

This is my best day ever formal notification that I am resigning yippee!! from your cat food factory as senior consultant. The 21st of July will be the last day of my daily grind employment.

After careful consideration I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life drinking beer all day long travel around the world and meet interesting girls people.

See you around Sincerely,


On making plans

Anyone familiar with Murphy’s law will be quick to perceive that every plan could be nothing more than a list of things that can go wrong and therefore a list of things that will go wrong.

Before I left for my first big trip (2005 – 2008) I had made it clear that this was going to be my Big Asia Trip. Only for reasons of economy did I decide to fly to Cairo after which I would make my way into Asia. Instead, I travelled south to Sudan and in Khartoum I met travellers who told me enchanting stories about Ethiopia and, before I knew it, I was queueing for an Ethiopian visa.
By the time I reached Addis Ababa I received emails from friends trying to tactfully remind me that Asia was actually quite a bit farther east…

This will suffice to illustrate that I am no stranger to plans going out the window.

However, having a plan will give a certain direction to an enterprise.
Without any objective at all it’ll be hard to get a sense of achievement and the traveller will be in peril of becoming a drifter.  So I hatched a plan and it’s only short of brilliant:

My plan is to go South!

Easy to remember.

On making (tough) decisions

Most people think making decisions is a conscious, rational process.
It isn’t. It is an unconscious affair that goes on for ages and ages, and at some point it calls on the conscious part of the brain, tells it what the decision is and asks it to rationalise it.

– You want me to do what!?
– We want you to cycle around the world
– Are you mad?
– We think it’ll be fun.
– No, it won’t, it’d be hardship, cold nights, rain.
There will be dogs, malaria and people playing loud rap-music.
It’s dangerous.
– Oh, of course not, we think it’s gonna be a laugh.
– How am I going to tell my family and friends?
– How should we know? That’s your responsibility. You deal with it.

Here’s an interesting TED talk on making hard decisions: link

In short: I had to decide for myself whether I wanted to go out and explore the world once more, or stay comfortably at home doing my job in an air conditioned office and, more importantly, having a secure future. I learnt that it’s not a matter of making a choice, weighing the pros and cons, working out a very complex formula, but rather a question of trying to define myself and the kind of person I want to be.

I also learnt that I made that decision a long time ago.