A daft idea?
I'm not sure when the idea of a long road trip occurred to me. I'm hardly short of things to do and desperate for some new stimulation. In between family times, DIY (for own home or as an on-call service for offspring wanting some assistance), business/charity interests, sailing, France and endless episodes of Highway Patrol, I seem to be busier than when I was properly working.
OK, Highway Patrol isn't really demanding and I use it as a form of Mogadon for a furtive lunchtime nap - any rubbish daytime TV programme will do - the more rubbish the better. As an aside, there is a bit of a problem with these types of programmes as enablers of the Power Nap. Hugely efficacious in creating a deep sleep in minutes, in daytime TV-land, they tend to broadcast, just like buses are prone to arrive, in threes. So, I may semi-wake, squint open an eye and notice that PC Colin Davidson, (nickname Davy, loves Chicken Tikka) is still on. Thus I deduce I've only been asleep a few minutes and so can treat myself to a further few minutes of slumber. Of course, it may be on the third showing and next time I find that Can't Pay, We'll Take It Away is on and oops, the Power Nap has turned into a 90 minute marathon.
I suspect that my life only seems busy, because these days, I sleep through so much of it. I could worry myself with the notion that I am now very old and sleepy but I prefer to imagine that I am actually turning into a lion - still King of the Jungle, but sleep a lot. Because I can.
At the age of 62, 72 seems not so far away. Maybe I could still contemplate the idea of a rufty tufty adventure in 10 years time. I hope so. But my joints, muscles and tendons are telling me, sometimes screaming at me, to stop, to slow down, to have another kip. The trouble is, my mind, give or take an increasingly dodgy memory, refuses to accept I'm anything near ancient. It wants to play, to drink a vast tankard of metaphorical grog and then demand some more. It was this mental, non-physical me, who came up with the idea. The physical, ahem real world me, groaned loudly and tugged cruelly on an inflamed ligament to make a cheap point....
Having decided on a trip, the next step was to add a bit of detail. Where and what would I see?
I originally thought about India but it's really not the greatest place for a self-drive car. Crazy roads, an unwelcome regime with regard to importing a car, temporarily or otherwise, and tricky access all conspired to cause me to look elsewhere. And that's when I came up with The Idea.
Now I'm not saying it's unique, that no one has been there before. But I resolved that I would drive to the middle section of the Silk Road (ie not the China/Mongolian parts), look about a bit and then come home again. My Google calculations produced an outline estimated trip of 12,000 miles. Yes, I could have taken a flight to Uzbekistan, hired a guide and a taxi and soaked up the culture and the sights. But I felt that wouldn't be much of an adventure, interesting though it might be. Once the seed of the idea had been planted, despite the fervent protests of my body, the next stage was a sense check, an evaluation and, if you prefer, the Planning Stage. Gosh and ooher.