I like this word, I like the weigh it carries and all the associations that it evokes. Even though most of the time the things are not the way they should be and travelling is not as it was. But, in the times of easy tourism by flying I´d better be happy with overlanding.
The story of our encounters with overlanders started right at the port of Algeciras in the long queue to take the ferry to Tanger. Standing in the long and slow moving queue we noticed an older man driving his old minibus with a small trailer in the back. After giving each other the typical head nod of the alibis who were part of a big complot we started chatting about where we were heading to. He was going to the Sahara which was not so obvious seeing the big yellow kayak that was on the luggage rack of his minbus. Amused by this contrast we said that obviously enough the Sahara was the best place to do some sea kayaking.We were quite surprised as he said that he was going to slide down the dunes with the kayak and that inside his trailer there was a 4×4 to do some off road! Adventure does not know any age.
By the time we got off the ferry it was late & it was getting dark. Our idea from the beginning was never to ride at night & on top we did not have enough gas and still 250 km to Rabat where we had to apply for the Mauritanian visa next day early in the morning. So there was no other choice than setting off for our West Africa mini tour at night! We were at the gas station that we noticed a biker on a motor cross pulling over and parking at the gas station. Beginners that we were, we were not quite sure what to do, either to greet him or do as if there wasn´t any thing special about seeing another biker around.
In the end I decided to wave at him and invite him to eat with us. More than hungry for food I think Michal was hungry for some company. We ordered some green tea with mint & sat down to go over the long list of questions. The same questions that we were asking durig the trip and almost in the same order: “are you heading down or going back? Which route did you do? Could you find everywhere gas? Border problems?….” He had done pretty much of what we where going to do. So we pulled out the maps and went over the roads, asked about the security on the road, gas stations, troubles at some borders with bad reputation, roads to a avoid, … We were so happy to have met him as if it was the green light and the blessing for our trip.
Then it was time to move on, we stood up, shook hands, wished each other all the best, exchanged emails and even felt sad to say farewell. It was my turn to ride so I got on the bike with David in the back and in a very instable take off I drove off. After all it was my very first time piloting the bike loaded so heavily and there was no way I could find my balance. I could imagine the piercing eyes of Michal fixed on my back asking himself if we ever could make it.
So Michal if you are reading these lines you should know that we made it and that I got a bit better at finding my balance. Although I´m still waiting for the miracle to happen 🙂