It's been 3 weeks since I stopped working. In the meantime I have been doing my last preparations for the long trip to come. These weeks have been very stressfull. I've been going over my plan and checked all my gear once again. I made a lot of changes to what I originally had, plan and gear alike. These are some of the things that happened the last 3 weeks.
On the first of march I rode to Renswoude (at my parents chalet) on a fully packed bicycle to get it checked out. Not a very special ride but I had to be in Rhenen the next day to take my bicycle there. The first night I could've slept on one of the beds, but instead decided to opt for my air matress. This decision was probably the best decision I have taken these past 3 weeks. Not even an hour after laying down I heard a, I don't know how else to describe it, poof sound and noticed there was something wrong. It wasn't the matress leaking but it was the stitching of the chambers coming loose. On one hand I was pretty angry on the other I was glad it happened now and not on the first day of my trip. This issue seems to happen to others aswell, so I sent it back to the manufacturer, but no suitable fix so far. I had to buy a new matress for now, but none from Exped.
After some uneventfull days in Renswoude and Rhenen I was on my way back home. More days of planning were ahead of me. I think I have replanned the first few days about 10 times. Just because I wasn't happy with the route or my camp site. after having decided that I should at least plan out the first 2 to 3 days I had settled staying the first night at the Weerribben-Wieden close to Genemuiden and the second night in Appelscha. Turns out this plan didn't work out and I scrapped it again 2 days before departure. The problem I am facing right now is that most campsites are closed until the first of april, making it very hard to find a place to camp. As I am still very new to wild camping I don't'trust myself to find a good spot here in the Netherlands. But for now I'll just try to find a solution on a day to day basis.
My gear has also seen a bit of a change these last few weeks. I started of small with a different pillow. I started of with an Exped air-pillow UL, a pillow I never really got used to. It made to much sound and wasn't very comfortable to rest your head upon. I swapped it out for a Nemo Fillo, this one does take up a lot more space when packed but in my eyes it is worth it. It is so much more comfortable because of the materials they used. I really recommend this pillow.
After a lot of research for a new matress I found a Big Agnes Q-core deluxe (I was looking for a different version, but couldn't find it anywhere except in the USA). A lot of reviews have been read before buying this matress. Also a lot of searching. This mattress is apperantly made for people who sleep on there sides, something which I do. Sadly enough I haven't been able to really sleep on it yet, but I am not to worried about it. After having inflated it at home I have tried to lie upon it and it already felt better then my previous Exped Synmat.
One more big change I have made is my sleeping bag, this is a decision I have been contamplating for a very long time. I didn't really need to get a different one, but I have been having some small issues with the one I had. When it gets cold I couldn't get warm feet no matter what I did. I have been using a Yeti brick 600 up till now, and replaced it with a Big Agnes sidewinder sl 20 which I found by accident to be fair. If I hadn't stumbled upon this one, I probably would've stuck with what I had. This mummy is also made for sidesleepers and is just very comfortable. Sadly enough I have not made a picture of it.
The last major change i made was to my luxury item, a campchair. Uptill now I have used a Helinox chair two, very comfortable but packed up pretty bulky, space that I needed for more important things. I replaced it with it's much smaller brother the chair zero. Yes it isn't as nice to sit in, but atleast I can sit in a chair. I don't mind sitting on the ground, but if I can sit in a small chair why not right?
The last week before departure I have been having doubts and have been feeling very unsure about myself and about the trip ahead. Between packing up my room I've been doing a lot of thinking. Having ADD doesn't really help with what I am about to do.
Even though I am looking forward to it, i am also afraid about what could go wrong. It sometimes feels like I am not well prepared. Even though it's not the first time I am going on a ride on a packed bicycle or going camping. It is however the first time going away for a long time, the first time going away alone. I also have no idea what I will encounter or whom I will meet. All I know is that I have to do this, or else my life will always be the same. It's time to find my future.