Fifty Shades of Earl Grey

Cornwall, UK
So what was this? Grey stealth battleships emerging from grey skies and grey waters. Perfectly camouflaged and stark to match the environment. This was our welcome as we idled into Portsmouth.

We were late. And then we were almost last off the boat. And then the passport guy couldn’t believe we’d come from Singapore. Then the customs guy couldn’t believe we’d come from Singapore. And he also wasn’t sure what this form was we were asking him to sign. In the end, he didn’t sign it. Not long after that we were ejected onto the M27.

Drive on the left.
Drive on the left.
Drive on the left.
It was cold and we had 340km to complete in about 5 hours of daylight.

It wasn’t much fun and our pounds didn’t go a long way. Service stations? What service stations? We shivered drinking tea in an overpriced pub and eyed up the lunch menu that was far too poncy for our wallets. The tarmac was dry and predictable so progress was good as we wound through tree-filled valleys.

Then there was rain. Across Dartmoor some nice cold rain. Over Bodmin moor some more nice cold rain. We couldn’t really see through it, and it became dark as dusk. Quickly soaked, we knew we just had to get beyond it. There was a steaming-hot cup of tea in a warm kitchen waiting for us. We would stand shivering in front of the old stove until our bones had thawed.

Alas, this dream was not to be. The Aga stove’s flame had gone out due to an oil flow problem. The stand-in electric kettle took forever to boil. The room was frigid. There was no heat source anywhere. It was dark, we were cold and worn out. I remember loading the bags onto the bike on the first day in Singapore. We had been drenched in sweat within seconds of attaching the luggage. Since then, we’d travelled through two summers and springs to avoid the worst season. But now after 44,378km we had definitely arrived into a cold, wet winter.

From sea level to 5,200m, from monsoon to desert, from enemies to friends and from injury to health, every day our journey had encompassed a fat slice of life. Now this incredible expedition was coming to a natural conclusion, which would inevitably make space for something new.

It was time for recuperation for all three of us. Stein would shortly begin his slow and seaborne journey home. But first he needed some beauty work, some new parts and the most microscopic clean he’d ever had. As the team disbanded and we waved him goodbye, we wondered when we would see him again. We hoped it would be mata ne but not goodbye!


  1. What an incredible journey and a mighty accomplishment! You not only did what you set out to do but more exceeded your own expectations. Proud of you guys for living your joy! It’s been a pleasure following your travels and antics while cheering you on from London. And so good to have you “home” for a while! The good news about endings is that they usually make space for another beginning. So… what’s next? 🙂 Big love. xxx

  2. Over 44,000km!!!! I just back tracked all the way to Singapore from Cornwall on your blog map. I had to lie down! Unbelievable!! Awesome and amazing all three of you!! We have loved catching up with you on your blogs and enjoying all that beautiful photography. The woo woo part is that every time I had a thought about you both wondering which part of the world you were in, up would pop your blog!!!
    Thank you for taking us with you and sharing the ups and down of your sometimes wild journey.
    Look forward to seeing you back in Oz Matt & Nickiy,
    Love H & T xxx

  3. It has been incredible following your journey. Next step…writing a book perhaps? These write ups have been literary gold. Lots of love, Ansie

  4. What an adventure! Can’t wait to hear about/elbow in on the next one. Take a break, see the dentist, eat some vitamins, and then start planning! #gonads xxxxx

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