Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

A 3 week rest and time to put together another video. This is my latest one, on the 2000km trip from Singapore to Jakarta through west Sumatra. I hope you like it!

Flanked by taxis we cycled away from the Indonesian port into the night.
‘Taxi, taxi, taxi!!’ cried with such determination, ignoring the fact that we had another mode of transport.
‘Where you go?’ asked the police with sirens whirring and blue lights pulsing.
‘Hello mister!’ cried everyone – motorcyclists, shop owners, people sitting on the side of the road. ‘Hello mister!’ screamed out from all directions with such passion. Welcome to Indonesia!

Slick mall in Singapore

Slick mall in Singapore

Compare that with our entrance to the ferry, walking our bikes through the slick mall. We were treated like royalty at the ferry terminal. Guided through the process by our own special officer, our bikes and luggage were screened and tenderly transported to the quay. Our letter of permission to transport the bikes on the ferry in hand, we proceded through customs where I had a coffee chat to the woman that stamped my passport. All very pleasant.

My time in Singapore had come to a end. Thanks my friends Penelope, Steve, Kiera and Seth for the great time, and thanks SK for all the amazing help and advice!

SK and friends

SK and friends

Almost a week in Singapore visiting a friend and waiting for my Indonesian visa gives me time to make my next video. The trip from Bangkok to Singapore was beautiful – cycling in tropical paradise. I hope you like the video! 🙂

Today we crossed the border into Singapore and were transported into another world. After sleeping under an open gazebo amongst the coconut trees in Malaysia, the slick malls, the orderly streets and the astronomical prices of Singapore make me feel I have entered another planet – another planet removed from the mother nature that supports us.

100 euro flowers

100 euro flowers

Travelling with Clement, my daily expenditure has descreased by a factor of 3. At the same time, I feel like my experiences have increased by a factor of 3. Less chocolate milk and ice-creams from 7-eleven and more local food from the tiny street stalls. No more hotels and more camping wherever the universe provides. Our camping spots are infinitely nicer that a sterile hotel room, and looking for a camp leads to more contact with the locals, and a closer feeling to mother nature that supports us, and every living creature and plant on the planet.

Eating the coconut

Eating the coconut

We pick coconuts (also from ant-infested trees – that was quite an exciting experience), we find drinking water that is not in plastic bottles – reversing the bad habit I have got into since entering Laos. We eat more fruit – also over-ripe fruit that people wanted to throw away. My last days in Malaysia I was spending about USD7 per day – and Clement even much less.

In Singapore we spent 2 day’s budget on passport photos. Clement lived off the cost of the Indonesian visa fees for one whole month in Burma. In the slick, shiny shopping mall in Singapore, we saw the most expensive flowers I have seen in my whole life. I think the very modest 100 (actually 87) euro bunch of flowers is about a factor 15 more than in Germany, and would have cost even less in the Netherlands. This place breathes money and wealth which feels so foreign now. Expensive cars, designer clothes, an air-conditioned universe. This world is no longer mine. Return me to the high mountain pass in China with just me, the mountains, the rocks and the wind. I feel closer to nature there – the nature that supports us all.

Singapore also means meeting up with Penelope – a very good friend from my university days in Australia. In horror, we realised it was exactly 27 years ago that we first met. Most of the people I have been cycling with in the last year were not born then. Singapore means amazing talks, reminiscing about the past, passionately discussing the present, and thinking about the future – including my future life and job in Australia.

In Singapore, I also talked to kids at Penelope’s children’s school. I love talking to kids, hearing their ideas, and feeling their passion. And its fascinating talking with kids living in such different places about their thoughts on sustainability. Comparing to the kids I spoke to in India, I am reminded that Singapore is, indeed, a very different place.

Oh. By the way, I passed 27000km in Singapore.

We will be in Singapore for quite a while during the Chinese New Year celebrations, waiting for our Indonesian visa. I am looking forward to relaxing and talking.

It has been a long road to arrive at this point, but actually, the road is just starting. Its exciting beyond belief, and bloody scary too. In September I will be leaving my job of 16 years and cycling from Eindhoven, the Netherlands – where I now live, to Adelaide, Australia – my birthplace. There is a lot of preparation to be done. I need to shed all my worldly possessions, learn a bit more about bike maintenance, arrange all sorts of paperwork, and plan the route.

You guys all helped me with my cycle trip in 2013 to the North Cape in Norway. You gave me great tips on my planned route, and I was able to meet up with some of you. I would like to do that here again with this more ambitious trip.

Here is a rough idea of how I want to get to Adelaide.
Bildschirmfoto 2014-01-07 um 20.26.05

In the coming weeks I will be putting together a planned route through Europe. It would be great to get some feedback on the route – roads I should take, places I should go.

This dream I had always thought would remain just a dream. It is too risky, too scary, too thrilling. My life situation is such that I can do this now. I am fit enough. I don’t want to look back on my life when on my death bed and think – I had the chance, and I let it go. A good friend of mine summed it up perfectly: Life is not a dressed rehearsal. I am going to do this!

To be continued!