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WEEKLY BLOG EPISODE 82 | PREPARING TO TRAVEL

Splodz Blogz | The Weekly Blog Episode 82

Good evening all. How has your week been? Over here in my little world there have been short local walks, long working hours, treated and painted doorsteps, home grown tomatoes and blueberries, the writing of blog posts, and the eating of a lot of food.

But most importantly in my life right now, is that my out of office is on, and I am very close to getting away on my first overseas trip since February 2020. Hooray!

This week feels like it’s been all about preparing for our Iceland trip. I mean, the last few months have felt like that, really. This trip has been a very long time coming; we made the original booking in 2018, and the arrangements have been super stressful. That is, of course, mainly down to the pandemic – travel rules have changed regularly (please let Iceland stay green…), we had flights cancelled, hotel bookings cancelled (most recently just last week!), and it just feels like if we actually get there it will be some kind of miracle.

But we are getting there, and I am very much looking forward to exploring this amazing country on my motorbike. The packing is (nearly) done, the bikes have arrived in country, the maps are loaded onto my phone, we’ve chosen our seats for our flight out (waited until now to save the money BA charge to choose at booking), and I’ve just had my video call to take my required supervised fit to fly Covid test (negative… thankfully!).

Let me share a few more of the preparations in this episode of my weekly blog…

The Bikes have Arrived!

As I started drafting this blog post (on Sunday evening, when I originally intended to publish all my weekly blogs but as you know I’m now rather out of sync), my house was full of geeky excitement. On checking the online ship tracker, we discovered our bikes had arrived in Iceland. The ship didn’t sink! Not only that, but we found our ship on a docks webcam… oh how I love the internet!

I’ve now also received my waybill from the shipping company, my shipping receipt if you like, which confirms the bike has arrived, although may not mean it has been seen outside the container by a person yet.

I guess I don’t yet know if my bike is still the right way up, I hope it is. It also hasn’t gone through customs yet, which is always a bit of an unknown. Hopefully by the time we arrive later in the week we’ll have had confirmation that everything is in order, and we will be off exploring this new-to-us country in no time. One of the benefits of booking this trip through a motorcycle tour operator is that they will go to the port to collect the bikes for us, and assuming customs don’t want to do an in-depth inspection (you never know!), my GS will be waiting for me at the hotel.

We have a day off when we arrive to explore Reykjavik, and with all the other things I’ve not really looked to see where we should go and what we should do. Have you been? Send me your city recommendations! Where should we get coffee and cake? Where are the good city views? Are there must-see museums? Should we try and get to the volcano?!

Can Packing be Joyful?

And while the bikes might be there, we aren’t quite ready yet. I love and hate packing for a trip in equal measure. I love it because it’s part of the planning and organisation which gets me all excited for an adventure. Part of my nature is that I love planning, and the act of writing a packing list and making a pile of things on the spare bed fills me with joy.

But it’s also super stressful because comfort, especially in a climate such as Iceland, is much greater if you remember to pack all the right kit. I’m a worrier, and I lay awake at night thinking about what I may or may not have forgotten to put in my bag. And the packing has to be done whilst also trying to make sure everything at work is all set, and all the other home chores are also finished, which this last week or so has felt like an impossible task.

There are a few things about this trip which makes packing a pain, such as having to cart our motorcycle gear including heavy boots and helmets, within the normal luggage allowance. Equally, being a trip which will start and finish at the same hotel, we will be able to leave suitcases in the hotel’s luggage room for the duration. This at least means we can pack our gear in a case and won’t have to carry it all in motorcycle-friendly roll bags. It’ll all work out fine.

Thankfully we’re very used to motorcycle road tripping these days, and so packing the right stuff (and not too much stuff) is no problem to us. We’ve learnt a lot since our first international motorcycle trip, when we joined Eagle Rider for their Wild West trip (which started it all off for us really – read about that here), and continue to learn new things about packing and gear and preparing to travel each time we head away.

I’m nearly there. I’ve got a small handful of things I can’t put in until the last minute, but they’re all safely noted down so I can sleep well the night before we travel. That is the aim, anyway. I guess I’ll let you know if I manage both to sleep properly between now and when we go, and to remember all the things I need (and none of the things I don’t).

Do you like packing? At least it’s better than unpacking, right?!

A Resident Mole

I honestly had no idea that small gardens on housing estates might get moles. I always assumed moles were a thing that affected those with massive gardens with lots of grass. Alas no, we have a mole, or some moles, and they are rather enjoying digging up the edge of our little lawn.

To be honest once we worked out that we didn’t have rats in the raised beds, or some unusually large spider with 10,000 baby spiders, I was much less concerned about what was doing the digging. Moles aren’t dirty creatures that carry disease, and they don’t eat your roses. Our mole is even doing a grand job of breaking up the clay-like soil in the flowerbeds, and it (thankfully) doesn’t seem to be affecting the Acer roots or toppling the roses, so that’s fine.

We have them because every other garden around here seems to have installed anti-mole devices, I can hear the high-pitched beep go off every few seconds. I guess our mole family has found some kind of peace in our patch.

But the lawn is now looking a bit of a mess, and I’m sure the mole family would be much happier if they were just a little to the west where they could have the run of the fields. So, it’s time to encourage them to move on. Feel free to send me your (humane) mole removal tips…

That’s Entertainment

As always, I’ve been switching off from all of life’s stuff thanks to audio books, Scala radio, and random stuff on the telly box. I should probably try meditation again, but noise seems to do the trick for me at the moment so that’s what I’m going with. This week’s couple of recommendations are…

Adventure Archives YouTube Channel

I can’t remember how I stumbled across Adventure Archives on YouTube, it wasn’t a feed recommendation but came up in another video I was watching and I thought it looked like my kind of thing. Andrew, Bryan, Robby and Thomas make videos about camping, hiking, and bushcraft over in the USA.

Their videos are feature length documentaries following their adventures exploring the wilderness and sharing their thoughts and the beautiful scenery they experience. They talk about the plants, the views, the history, along with the food, the trail, and everything else that goes into a backcountry journey.

Their most recent film follows three of the guys on a car camping trip to Texas, where they hike to the highest point in the State. They definitely make me want to hike more in the American back country. One day.

Monsters at Work, Disney Plus

Spin offs are always a bit hit and miss, but this one in the Monsters Inc franchise is rather fun to watch. Set just a week after Mike and Sully discovered that collecting laughter was better than screams for powering their world, the Monsters at Work animated series follows the story of a young monster who arrives at the company expecting to become a scarer… but of course we all know that was turned upside down in the movie.

Desperate to get on the new laughter floor and impress Mike and Sully, Tylor Tuskmon realises he’s learnt nothing other than scaring and is really something of a clumsy fool. Each episode shows Tylor learning Disney-worthy lessons about friendship, teamwork, personal growth; you know the drill.

It’s nicely done, familiar, easy to watch, and good for a Sunday afternoon binge if you have an opening. And I’ve been humming the soundtrack constantly!

One of the little jobs I need to do before we go away is download some films and TV programmes to my iPad to keep me entertained on the flights and in any downtime… any recommendations? What can I find on Disney Plus, Prime, Apple TV or BBC iPlayer?

I don’t know if I’ll write and publish my weekly blog while I’m over in Iceland, it’s unlikely, so be sure to follow me over on Instagram as I’ll upload updates over there instead. In the meantime, there will be a couple of blog posts coming your way which should magically appear thanks to the power of scheduling. See you soon!

As always, I would really love to hear from you in the comments below. What have been the highlights of your week? Let me know what your favourite thing about the last seven days has been. And don’t forget to get your One Hour Outside today… whatever day you happen to be reading this on!

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