Wednesday, 09 November 2011

Messages from Angola

When Luna was taken from me, together with most of my gear, I received such unbelievable support from the Angolan government.

What really touched me deeply are all the letters I received from the general Angolan public. I wanted to share a few of these messages with you. (Some of these letters have been translated from Portuguese.)


From Jorge Semedo on 30 Aug ’11:
As a citizen of Angola, I offer my deepest sense of sorrow at the situation you find yourself in.

It is unfortunate that situations happen like this, but most of us Angolans and many other citizens of the world, strongly reject that this can happen. I want while giving a warning to all citizens and also the police, to show efforts to not only locate and arrest these individuals, but also learn from this situation for preventing it from happening again in the future.

Hope you do not get discouraged and to continue your adventure planned from the beginning. Strength - GOD is GREAT!


From Mariana Vieira on 30 Aug ’11:
Hello Jolandie

First of all, my congratulations for your COURAGE.

I want to apologize in the name of Angola for those bad guys. We have a few like them unfortunately, but most of us are good people, hard workers and love to receive well our visitors. And I am sure they will go to jail very soon, our police will take care of them.

I wish all the best for you, lots of luck and ALWAYS THINK POSITIVE. I will support any decision you will take after this and I will pray for you.

God be with you.


From José Carlos Costa on 31 Aug ’11:
Jolandie,

I hope you are well. As an Angolan citizen, I feel bad to hear that fellow Angolans hijacked your bike. You will be on my prayers and I am looking forward to see you back on road to finish your very noble journey.

Best wishes,


From Gilberto Texeira on 31 Aug ’11:
Hi Jolandie,

I’ve just seen that you have been robed in my country (Angola) while you were trying to accomplish your dream of crossing all Africa on your bike.

Please be informed that I, as all others Angolans of good faith, feel shame regarding this fact.

I just hope that this incident doesn’t affect your objectives and I’m looking forward to read in the news that you have fully accomplished adventure…

Sincerely,
Gilberto


From Adérito José on 4 Sept ’11:
Hi,

I have just read about what happened to LUNA for which I am very sorry. I just hope you can proceed on your journey as soon as possible.

ALL THE BEST


From Edward Belchoir on 6 Nov ’11:
Hi Jolandie!!!!!!

It was so bad and sad to know what happens to you. We are 20 millions Angolans and they are only two who did that bad thing to you, so you can believe that 19.999.998 Angolans love you so much.

Don´t stop and do not worry, the police will find Luna ok???? And when it happens, please go ahead make us proud of African woman, please don´t let that two men take off your dream.

We love you so much and may god bless you forever.

Yours sincerelly
Edward Belchior




Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Thursday, 03 November 2011

First long ride a success. What's next?

About a week and a half ago Nova and I embarked on our first ‘long’ journey together. Some quality time on the open road to get to know one another better. The destination: visiting my family on the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast. The distance: just over 1200 kilometers in total. Riding time: approximately 17 hours there and back.

I’m happy to report that all went well and we didn’t have any mishaps. I’m growing more confident on the bike with each passing kilometer. We faced a crazy wind on our way back. The kind that makes it look like you’re leaning into a corner when you’re actually on a straight. It made me a little nervous at first to be perfectly honest. Gusting winds sometimes feel like they’re about to take the bike out right from under you. Though I think I handled it just fine.

The highlight on the trip for me was that my brother and I got to ride together. For the first time. It was great fun!

I’ve received my first piece of equipment for the bike. My new Trax Top Box. My friend Shayne Robinson from Cyberbike helped me to fit it the other night. It was a humorous event to say the least, as we tried to figure out the ‘not so user friendly’ instructions. So we’ve come to an agreement: if it stays on for the entire trip, Shayne installed it; if it falls off, I installed it!

Looks like Shayne did the installation!!
And... it's ON!!

I’ve also received some new gear from my favorite clothing company: Apres Velo down in Australia. I really, really, really... REALLY, absolutely LOVE their gear. And I’m not just saying that because I’m trying to punt one of my sponsors. Their gear really is just superiorly awesome! You should check it out!
Apres Velo's FABULOUS clothing!!

In just over a week’s time Nova and I will be heading down to Cape Town to attend FIM Africa’s annual congress, taking place from the 17th – 19th of November at the Protea Break Water Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. With a stopover in Knysna first. Really looking forward to it! When we get back, Nova should have close to 6000 kilometers on the clock! * Grin *

Then end of November I’m riding out to Naboomspruit in Limpopo Province to visit Lodie de Jager, a man who has ridden across Africa twice on his KLR. Lodie has been kind enough to allow me to bug him for a few days. I know that I will learn a great deal from his experiences. And I also hope to have my first taste of some off-road training.

As far as preparations for the re-launch of my expedition is concerned, I’m making progress. There’s still a lot to do, as is with any expedition of this size. At this stage I’m still set on launching in January. We’ll see how it goes.

“It’s better to have Journeyed than to Arrive” – From Lodie de Jager's blog.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Nova and I hit the open road

So now that I have the bike, the gear and all the necessary licenses, I thought it time to test out both Nova and my abilities. The destination: Visiting my dad and my brother in Kwazulu Natal. 600 Kilometers of open road.

Bearing in mind that just a few weeks ago I got on a bike bigger than 250cc for the very first time in my life, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a tiny bit nervous. I mean, I just got my license and now I’m about to ride just over 600 kilometers on my own. Well, the nerves disappeared as soon as I hit the highway. It was all plain sailing after that.

My ever-present companion (the wind) welcomed me back to the road once again. The nice thing this time round is that I just have to turn the throttle and Nova and I both smile and say to the wind: “Bring it on”.

The other thing I love about being on the open road on a motorbike, is the amazing camaraderie among the bikers. Every time a bike passes me by, they will acknowledge me by putting up a hand or a nod of the head. Almost like saying: “Hey fellow biker, I see you. Welcome to the road and have a safe ride”. Absolutely love it!

My brother, Adriaan, met me along the way on his bike and rode the last 120 kilometers or so with me. This was our first ride together, each on our own bike. A very special occasion for the both of us. Riding in unison. Our family unit.

I will be riding down to Cape Town in November to attend the annual FIM Congress. (Federation Internationale Motocyclisme). That’s a bit of a longer ride. And now that I have a better idea of what distances I can handle, I’m really looking forward to it!

Until then, I’m spending some quality time with my family before I disappear into Africa once again.

The Bike Family




Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Thursday, 20 October 2011

Luna Found!!!

Believe it or not, Luna has been found!!! Along with, what sounds like, all of my gear! I think I’m still in a bit of shock.

I received the news from the Minister of Local Government on Monday evening. Since then the news has spread like wildfire and friends from all over Angola have been texting, phoning and mailing me to make sure I’ve received the wonderful news!

It truly is amazing! I am unbelievably impressed with the Angolan Police Force. Their determination is really something to admire. Huge respect goes out to them!

From what I understand, they found Luna and, by the sound of things, all my gear (someone commented on the fact that one of my panniers even still had a sausage in it!), not too far from where I was robbed! Unbelievable!

Now, answers to questions I know will immediately arise from your reading this post:
1. Have I changed my mind about starting over on a motorcycle? No. All goes ahead as planned. I am still starting over on a motorcycle.
2. What about Luna? Luna and my gear will be returned to me. Details on the how and when is currently being sorted out.

I cannot express just how amazed I am that they actually found my Luna!! I would like to send out an enormous thank you to the Angolan Police Force and all my Angolan friends for all their ongoing support and belief in me. I am extremely honoured!

Angola Rocks!!!!



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Monday, 17 October 2011

Week 42 - Already??

It’s the beginning of week number 42 of the year 2011. How time flies! It’s amazing. I really can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner, yet again!

Initially, when I got back home from Angola I had planned on re-launching in November. Now, with all the planning, gearing up, training and paperwork that is yet to be finalized I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I won’t be able to leave so soon!

So we’re probably looking at an early 2012 start. Starting in January next year should give me enough time to finalize everything needed for the trip. In all honesty, I had initially planned not to announce my departure date. Reason being that I didn’t want a fuss. But I now realize that there are quite a few people that might want to ride with me the first day. I’m sure that it will be great fun. Therefore, I will announce my departure date well in advance for those who might want to join me for a day or two. Or even just a few kilometers on launch day.

Tomorrow I am going for my motorbike driver’s license. I have my learner’s license and can ride around with it, but do need my license of course. So here’s holding thumbs that I pass first time round. Have also received Nova’s license and registration papers and number plate, which mean that she is now officially mine!

Nova and I are getting to be quite comfortable with one another. Since our fall, neither of us is as nervous anymore. (Yes, my bike has feelings. She’s a girl, of course she has feelings!)

I am hoping to ride down to Richards Bay this coming weekend to visit my dad and my brother. Plus this will give Nova and I a chance to take a turn at the open road. And I need the mileage as I have to put 1 000 kilometers on the clock so she can go in for her first check-up.

Some exciting news: I will be attending the FIM-Africa Congress next month in Cape Town. Really exciting! I’ll get to meet all the delegates from other African countries and the governing body, as well as give a short presentation on my upcoming ‘new adventure’. I’ll be riding down to Cape Town as well! Yay! (FIM = Federation Internationale Motocylisme)

There’s also a new website in the woodworks. I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop on progress.

Only 11 more weeks left in 2011. Make them count!

Nova's new ID number!!!!



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Tuesday, 11 October 2011

First tumble off the bike!

Yep. I came off my bike for the first time today! It certainly won't be the last. 
I’m very happy about this. I know it sounds strange. 
But you know how you always feel nervous about these things. 
I firmly believe that if one feels nervous, or scared of something, one should tackle it head-on!
This is not to say that I deliberately fell of my bike. Now that would be odd!

No, it happened whilst busy with my first training session today. Turning the handlebar whilst pulling off and then stalling. Oops. 
I went for license training. Graeme McCormack, my instructor at Drivability Driver Training gave me more than I paid for, which was great. Gave me some very helpful tips as well and corrected all the things that I do wrong. 
Other than the tumble, it all went really well. 

No injuries to report. Except a broken clutch lever on Nova. Oops! That will be fixed ASAP. 

I have also received my jacket. It’s an LMS Adventure Jacket. Absolutely LOVE it! 
I’ve decided that my color scheme will be black and orange. 
I tried on my boots today. Felt like walking around in space boots. (Not that I actually know what it feels like to walk around in space boots)
They unfortunately only have them in white. I’ll have to remedy that later. 

Bike, Helmet and Jacket - CHECK! 


So at this point we have:
Bike – check
Helmet – check
Jacket – check
Boots – In the mail…will have them tomorrow
Pants – Same as boots

Progress is being made! 
As for the launch date - I was aiming for mid/late November. But I think that’s a bit optimistic. I’ll have to revise that plan. 

License and registration is done on the bike, so I’ll have that tomorrow and will also book for my motorcycle driver’s license. 

So in terms of clothing and licensing, I’m almost done! Fabulous! 



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Tuesday, 04 October 2011

Gearing Up - And my bike's name!

I specifically took the weekend ‘off’, because I thought this week might be a hectic one.
So far it’s been pretty uneventful.

Well not entirely as I acquired another piece of gear today!
Thanks to my friend Shayne @ Cyberbike Johannesburg, I now have my own beautiful new helmet!!
And it’s not just any helmet. It’s a super cool HJC “7 in 1” helmet!!
“7 in 1”? – I hear you ask.

Yes, my snazzy helmet can convert into 7 different helmets.
1. Full Face
2. Super Moto (Off road + shield)
3. Off Road
4. Open Face (Shield + Peak)
5. Open Face (Shield Only)
6. Trial Type Open Face (Peak Only)
7. Classic Open Face (Without Shield, peak)

My "7 in 1" HJC Helmet


AND it has a one-touch, sun shield flip visor, which is super awesome!

Next up is my jacket, pants, boots and gloves.
All on their way!! Soon I’ll be able to upload photos of myself fully geared!

Once we’re done with my gear, we start on Nova’s gear.

Oh yes, I haven’t announced this yet.

My bike’s name = NOVA
Meaning: Nova means ‘New’ in Latin. And also means: A star that grows in brightness. J

Once we’re done with all the gear, there’s a list on what needs to be done on Nova. A few custom parts etc. All very exciting.

And I still need to get in some off-road and handling training of course.

Lots to do!!

Slowly but surely getting there.

I’ll be announcing my departure date soon! So be sure to keep your eyes open and check in regularly!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Thought for the week: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Sunday, 02 October 2011

On your marks, get set...

This weekend was spent doing a whole lot of relaxing.
Hanret took me to my first ‘real’ ballet on Friday evening. We watched ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Absolutely beautiful!

We had a pretty busy Saturday morning. Walking in the park with Hvir (The Greatest Dane in the world), some shopping, lunch with the girls and some riding around on my KLR.
DVD’s and loads of chocolate on Saturday evening.
And today…fiddling around on my blog whilst watching television. So please bear with me as we implement a few changes.

I somehow have this feeling that the coming week is going to be a busy one.
I want to start spending some time in a workshop so I can get to know my bike a little better. All the technical bits etc.
I also need to make an appointment for my license.
License and registration is currently being done on the bike. Should have all the paperwork by Thursday. Then after all the licensing has been sorted, I can start getting to work on Carnet de Passage papers, my international license, insurance and so forth.

I hope to start ordering all my gear within the next two weeks. And then my good friend Shayne Robinson and the guys at Cyberbike SA will be helping me with all the customization that needs to be done on my bike!

I haven’t decided on a launch date yet. I will do so within the coming week.

I can, however, announce that I will be launching from Cape Agulhas.

Making great progress!!! :)

Thank you to each and every individual who plays such a crucial part in my reaching my goals! 



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Friday, 30 September 2011

Get Bike - Check

We’re back in business!!! Wednesday evening my beautiful new Kawasaki KLR 650 was delivered to me. It was quite a struggle to find her! But now she’s here.

Yesterday morning, for some reason, I felt nervous getting on the bike. It’s the biggest bike I’ve ever ridden myself. I’m very happy to report that we get along just fine though. What a beauty! I’m in love with my bike!! lol

It really is a beautiful bike. I know for a fact that I made the right choice. We have a looong way to go together. I cannot wait to get going!

Now that I have the bike, I can start working on other matters such as training, gear, paperwork etc. I’ll need to put in a lot of time on advanced riding training as well as off-road training. Riding a bike is one thing. Riding a heavily loaded bike through 34 African countries is another thing.

I am so up to the challenge. Well I set myself this challenge. New mode of transport, new tour, renewed internal fire. :)

There is still A LOT to do. But I’m aiming for a launch date in November.

Best I get cracking. :)


My beautiful new bike!!
'Out of the darkness and into the light'



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Wednesday, 28 September 2011

She's on her way!!

Wooooohhhhoooooo!!!

The wheels are rolling, in more ways than one. I’ve been struggling my hiney off to get the bike I want. Even had friends searching with me, for me… far and wide.

I’ve had a few people message me, asking me which bike I’ve decided on. There were a few correct guesses!

So now I can reveal that I will be circumnavigating the African continent on a Kawasaki KLR 650. Has anyone ever ridden through Africa on a KLR? – I hear you asking. Well, as a matter of fact. Yes!

Check out Lodie de Jager’s site. And thanks to his generous input, I am more than convinced that my new KLR and I will get along just fine.

For the last two weeks, all I’ve been doing is scouring online advertisements for second hand KLR’s. Each and every one of them sold by the time I contacted the owners.

Even a brand new one seemed out of my reach. Until yesterday when I phoned up Mean Machine Motorcycles in Menlyn, Pretoria. ‘We do have one, only one’ the sales executive said to me. Needless to say I immediately jumped on my bike (read Hanret’s car), and drove through to Pretoria.

Today I am the proud owner of my beautiful, brand new Kawasaki KLR!!!

Yessssss!!!

They’re delivering her tonight. I am excited beyond what words can describe!!!

I’ll post photos as soon as she has arrived. Yes, it’s a she. Of course.

Now I just have to decide on her name. :)



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Sunday, 25 September 2011

Bridging The Gap

Sitting at the Service Station coffee shop this morning near my home with cappuccino in hand, chatting to a friend of mine and taking in the aroma of coffee, bacon and eggs and fresh toast being served, listening to the hustle and bustle of the other ‘breakfast goers’… I got served a plate of realization.

I realized that from an outsider’s point of view it might seem that there’s this big gap. One moment my bike and gear is taken from me in Angola, the next I’m back home and hopping on a motorbike. I feel that maybe I haven’t addressed the ‘in-between’ bit as well as I could have.

There’s one main question I got asked this morning that I would like to address now: ‘Why the change from motorcycle to motorbike?’

This was a big decision for me, but one that came surprisingly easily. Almost like it was the natural choice. For the longest time, my focus lied with CYCLING around Africa. Because it seemed more challenging, somehow I convinced myself that I needed to do something extreme to earn people’s support. Almost like, if I did it in any other way, it would make me less ‘worthy’.

In the moment that my Luna was taken from me, the idea of going around Africa on a motorbike slipped into my head. Unexpectedly. I was completely at ease with it. I knew then that my journey had taken a turn.

And there, standing next to the road with my Camelbak, one front pannier bag and my handlebar bag hanging over my shoulder… watching Luna disappear around the bend… another realization hit me. (Realizations are wonderful little things. It just sometimes feels like they hit me at an abnormally frequent rate!) It was never about ‘doing it on a bicycle’ as such. It’s about the actual journey. No matter how I tackle it, making it around Africa will be a feat in itself. It just took me about 4 years, 11 000 kilometers and cycling all the way to Northern Angola to make peace with it.

And so I have.

Most of the feedback that I have received upon breaking the news has been positive. I am sure that my hardcore cycling friends must be a little disappointed. Yes, I won’t be doing it on a bicycle. (Not this time round anyway.) I don’t consider myself to have failed. Instead, because of what happened to me in Angola, I have gained so much.

I have a new found need for simplicity in what I do. To be open and completely honest about where I am at. (As opposed to doing what I ‘think’ others want me to do.) I think we all struggle with this at some point in our lives.

Hanret mentioned the other night that I show more excitement now, than I ever have before about the trip. That, in itself, somehow tells me that I’m doing the right thing. I truly am extremely excited!!

It feels like Africa will keep dragging me back to the starting point… until I get it right.

I think I’m finally getting it right.

I don’t think it will be any easier. A motorbike brings with it its own set of challenges. I will still need to face and handle bureaucratic intricacies, all kinds of logistical planning, paperwork, bad roads, conflict areas and all the other wonderful things that travelling in Africa brings with it.

Tomorrow, I might be getting my bike. I really look forward to introducing her to you. That’s step one: getting the bike. From here, I can move forward with all the other arrangements and will keep you all updated about my progress.

I also want to ‘simplify’ my blog a bit. If you have any suggestions or input as to what you think might improve my blog, please let me know. I would love your input.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your continued support!

I look forward to sharing my ‘new’ journey with you all!



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Patience is a virtue

Or so they say. Whoever ‘THEY’ may be.

You know how when you really want something, time can seem to stand still and it seems like everyone is taking their time at delivering whatever it is you need from them? That’s how I’m feeling right now.

I consider myself a fairly patient individual. But yikes… I wish things would happen a little faster now. (At the same time this little voice inside of me says: Be careful what you wish for!!)

I want to get going. In order for that to happen, a great deal has to happen first. Like getting THE BIKE, for instance. (In search of ‘The One’.) Waiting on Angola for transfer of funds before I can start ordering all the gear I will be needing for the trip. Only when I have my bike can I start organizing the paperwork I’ll be needing for her.

A bunch of my gear will be ordered from the USA. Delivery of which, takes time. I still have to go for my motorbike driver’s license. Then get my international driver’s license from the AA and ‘Carnet de Passage en Douane’ papers for the bike. And of course for this, I need to get a bank guarantee first.

The visas won’t be an issue this time round. Acquiring my Angolan visa will be VERY easy! :) DRC and Congo takes 4 days max to get both. The rest I still have to get on route.

I also still need to go play around in the sand a bit. Get better acquainted with my ‘new Luna’. Which reminds me, I haven’t thought of a name for her yet. Any suggestions?

On a positive note: Thank you to Nokia for their ongoing support! I lost my ‘hands-free’ set. So they provided me with a new one yesterday and threw in a spare battery pack as well. Awesome!

Training is also going really well. Swimming in the mornings, walking and rowing in the evenings. I don’t know why I have this new-found urge to train. It’s not like I ever trained for any of my other trips. And that was WAY more taxing, physically! Then again, exercise can only be good for me.

Here’s hoping I’ll have more news by the end of the week! :)



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Like a kid on Christmas eve!

I love it when a plan comes together. Things are now starting to move along and I LOVE it!!! :)

Being a little more active always helps as well. I’ve decided that I’ve had enough loafing now and need to get moving again, in more ways than one.

Since Luna has gone gallivanting somewhere up North without me, I am now getting into swimming, walking and rowing. Just to keep the joints well lubricated. Hanret and I had our second swimming session this morning. Swimming is very different from cycling… that’s for sure! :)

I also had to write my learner’s license test for my motorbike license yesterday morning. I am happy to report that I passed with ease. Thank goodness!! Although the whole process did take 4 hours!!

Now the real fun begins!! Shopping!! **Grin** Bike, gear, clothing, gadgets… I feel like a kid on Christmas eve! So much fun!!

AND…I have finally decided on which bike I’ll be taking. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the big unveiling, I’m afraid. I should have her within the next two weeks. Then I’ll introduce her to you all!

Now, I have to book for my motorbike driver’s license. I have to sort out my visas… again! I have to sort out Carnet papers for the bike. International license, once I have my driver’s license. Insurance. Order gear. Go for advanced driving course. (Especially playing in sand.) Spend some time in a workshop so I can get to know the ins and outs on my bike. And then… we’re good to go.

Africa, here I come. Again!!! LoL



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Saturday, 17 September 2011

Bikes, bikes and more bikes.

That’s what I’m eating, drinking and sleeping right now. I dreamt I was riding on a Kawasaki KLR 650 last night. Black. A sign???

It’s down to two bikes at the moment. I haven’t decided on which one I’ll be taking around Africa yet. At this stage it’s either the BMW F650GS or Kawasaki KLR 650. I guess it will come down to the one I’m most comfortable with, that’s easiest to maintain and most reliable.

Next week is devoted to sorting out licenses and finalizing the finer details with Angola. I still have to pinch myself every now and again. That a country, not even my own, would agree to support me in such a big way… remains unbelievable to me. It’s fantastic of course. Just still feels so unreal!

There’s a certain camaraderie among ‘bikers’ that I really enjoy. There’s only been one article on my ‘new’ adventure thus far and already someone has offered to GIVE me a bike that I can fix up and play around on.

I am yet to get to know the biker community in my area though (Melville, Johannesburg). So if you know of anyone or if you’re an avid biker, please give me a shout. Any and all advice/input welcome!

One of the to-dos on my list is spending some time in a workshop. Getting to know the ins and outs of a bike. I need to be able to fix anything on a bike. So if you can help on this front – please let me know.

Then, once I have the bike – it then becomes all about the gear! I love toys and gadgets! Very excited to play around with some of the new gadgets I’ll have this time round.

One of the things I would like to change is to implement live tracking. So you can follow me all the time. I’ll also be doing more video documenting on the trip. There’s so much going on. It’s all very exciting!

Within the next 2 – 3 weeks, everything should start falling into place.



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Thursday, 15 September 2011

Angola Supports Jolandie

I have been bursting at the seams with anticipation of this announcement.

So much has happened in the last few weeks. From Luna being hijacked, to my being flown all over Angola. Staying with Zaire Province’s Governor. Specially chartered flights. Road trip back the way I came. A few changes to the trip.

There is no denying that Angola has gone above and beyond in assisting me when I really needed some assistance. Well, they’ve just gone the EXTRA mile.

The only thing that has changed in my aim to circumnavigating Africa is my chosen mode of transport. If you read my last blog update, you’ll know that I will now be circumnavigating Africa on a motorbike.

The goal remains: ‘To be the first woman to circumnavigate Africa, solo’.

I have been chatting to a lot of people around the issue of ‘which bike do I choose’? It’s all very exciting.

Now I won’t fool myself into thinking that it will be any easier. Sure, I’ll be going a little faster and won’t have to pedal at all. But apart from that, it’s still the same trip. Same challenges. Same dangers. More paperwork!!

I do not have a new launch date yet. Right now I am immersing myself in research and training – All about the bike.

Once I have a clearer picture on departure date and other details, you’ll be the first to know.

NOW:
Today I received some fantastic news! News that had me throw my hands up in the air and shout yesssss. If I could, I would’ve screamed at the top of my voice. But I’m incapable of doing so. I’m not a screamer! LoL

Negotiations are at an end and I can finally let it out:

I am extremely excited to announce that The Republic of Angola, in association with INFOTUR – the Angolan Institute of Tourism, will be the main sponsor of my expedition around Africa!!!!

Unbelievably, amazingly AWESOME!!!! Wooooohhhhoooooo!!

So, preparation and organization is now in full swing. I really am unbelievably excited!

To Angola, her people, government and country as a whole – Thank you so much for your amazing support! I feel this to be but the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship!

Ladies and gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!!! :)

(Can just see I’m going to become a total motorhead!) LoL




Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher

Change is something that I am quite accustomed to. It is something I accept very easily and more often than not, look forward to. This is something that hasn’t changed in me. :)

A few other things have, though.

But first: an update on what I’ve been up to.

I’ve just spent a few days visiting my dad and my little brother in Richard’s Bay. It was great to see them and to catch up on all that’s happened over the last year or so. My time there also gave me the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened over the last few months and the way forward.

I even got to take a ride on the back of my brother’s new bike. I have never gone that fast on wheels of any description!!! LoL It was great fun!

I also got to play around on a bike to get in some practice.

I’m guessing you’ve all cottoned on to where this is heading by now. In the moment that my precious Luna was taken from me, it made me question my primary objective of this trip. In all honesty, after four years of fighting like a good trooper and never giving up – for the very first time I couldn’t get excited about getting on a new bicycle and carrying on from whence I left off.

For the very first time in almost four years that clear picture I had carried with me, of riding around Africa on my bicycle, wasn’t there anymore. It was very difficult to admit it, even to myself. One of the first thoughts that went through my mind was: ‘I need to do this differently’.

I realized then that my primary objective is to be the first woman to circumnavigate Africa, solo. That is the goal that lies at my core. And so, without further ado:

I will be continuing on my journey and I have now decided to circumnavigate the African continent on a motorcycle. So the dynamics change a bit. All-in-all the main difference is my chosen mode of transport.

I do have a potential sponsor but am waiting on a definite yes before I can make that announcement. I am working hard at getting back on the road as soon as possible

My needs list will change a bit as well, of course.

As soon as I have my ducks walking in a neat row again (not like they ever do), I’ll be able to share more details and the more technical aspects of the trip. For now, this update serves as an announcement of my intentions going forward.

I am sure that my decision will result in mixed reactions. But I am very excited about this change.

The adventure does continue.


Spending time with my little brother and... his bike!!!



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.


Wednesday, 07 September 2011

Update - Being Home

It’s much easier to give a blog update when I’m on the road. I don’t even have to think about what to write about. On the road, there’s so much to take in and experience every day.
 
Something that did cross my mind yesterday was that: I have never flown so much in such a short space of time as in the last two weeks. First it was flying to M’banza Congo with the Governor of the Zaire province in Angola. Then specially chartered flight to Lobito. Then flying home from Windhoek.
 
On Thursday I fly to Richards Bay to visit my dad and younger brother. I haven’t seen them in over a year and a half! So, I’m really looking forward to catching up!! And then the flight back to Johannesburg again. (Maybe I should fly around Africa?!)
 
My pesky cold seems to have finally come to terms with the fact that I don’t like it and don’t want to be involved with it anymore. ‘It’s not you, it’s me – I’m just not that into you.’
 
My most precious Hvir (The Greatest Dane in the world) is sick. (Seems that the pesky cold is chancing it on ‘playing the field’). She has been to the doctor and I’m sure she’ll be wagging her tail again in no time.
 
Now… what’s happening on the ‘circumnavigating Africa’ front? I hope to be sharing some exciting news with you all pretty soon. Right now I don’t have any definite answers, but there is a plan!
  • It does involve a new Luna…of sorts. :)
  • It does involve going around Africa.
  • It does involve jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, hold-on-to-your-seats-and-buckle-up-for-the-ride-of-your-life adventure!!! 
 
But you’ll have to wait until I have a definite YES!
 
Other than that, I don’t have much news at this stage. Though that doesn’t deter ‘La Domestique’ from giving me the ‘I’ll kill you if you don’t give me a blog update’ look every day! :)
 
Here’s to living your dreams, taking that leap. To getting up, dusting yourself off and carrying on. No matter how many times you may fall down.
 
‘Shoot for the moon, if you miss, you still land amongst the stars.’
 




 
Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

 
Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

 
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

 


 

Sunday, 04 September 2011

My side of the story

Phew!! So much to say, where do I start?

First off, I really just want to say thank you! From the bottom of my heart. Thank you to all my followers, friends, family, fans, for all your support, messages, e-mails, tweets, sms messages, phone calls. It’s been one crazy ride! (pun intended) :)

And thank you to La Domestique (Hanret) for keeping everybody updated and making me jump up and down, screaming next to the road!!!

I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I must be the luckiest person on the face of this earth. Now I can hear some of you asking: ‘How the heck can you be lucky if your bike got stolen’? Well, it would seem that I ALWAYS bump into the right people, and when something ‘bad’ does happen to me, a miracle always follows.

I am absolutely stunned beyond what I can put in words, at just how Angola, as a nation, as a country… reacted to my ‘predicament’.

I’ll try and explain, in my own words, what happened. (In a nutshell, as I think everybody knows the story by now and I’ve had to go over it with the Angolan police and media like ten thousand times.)
Four drunk kids yielding knives (big and bigger), take my precious Luna. I manage to keep my handlebar bag, one front pannier and Camelbak. I Whatsapp message Hanret back home. I manage to phone friends in Lobito and Luanda. Then….CHAOS!!!

Friends from Lobito jump in their car, friends of friends from Lobito in Soyo jump in their car. Bearing in mind that these towns are, respectively, about 200 kilometers and 700 kilometers from where I am!! Friends from Luanda phone the head of police in N’zeto. Next thing I know I have four cars skidding to a halt next to me. (Police)

I get taken to police station and have about thirty officers in uniform all asking questions, all at the same time, in Portuguese. They find someone that can speak English. (At this point my Portuguese is good enough to explain what happened etc, but I’m stressed and jump between English, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, Hebrew… heck, I even throw in a little isiZulu)

Then I get taken to hotel, two guards in charge of making sure nobody comes near me. The guys from Soyo arrive (Domingo and Jose, whom I met for the first time in front of the hotel, but they came to save me anyway). We soon discover that all three of us are Aquarians and we immediately get on like Namibians and Jaggermeister.

I then receive a phone call from one, Pedro Sebastião, the Governor of the Zaire province in Angola. He informs me that he has dispatched two helicopters from Luanda and is on his way, personally, in his airplane. Holy Moses!!! From thereon it was just the most incredibly, amazingly, bizarre and crazy and ‘out-of-this-world’ experience I have ever had.

The Governor arrives and tells me that I will be flying back with him to M’banza Congo where I will spend two days. (Yes sir! – she replies) In the air, he asks whether I need a doctor? (I’m still fighting this stupid cold or flu or whatever it is.) We land, at his house (read mansion), the doctor awaits. He gives me a load of meds and I go to bed. I stayed in bed, no jokes, until the NEXT evening!

The two helicopters remain in the air for TWO days, searching for Luna and/or the perps. On Monday, a flight is especially chartered for me to Lobito, at my request!! (I have a lot of friends in Lobito and it was where I felt most comfortable at the time.) I receive phone calls from no less that four Ministers, PERSONALLY!!!

From Lobito I drove to Windhoek (Namibia), thought it would be a nice road trip, to see the road I had cycled just weeks before. Then I flew back home.

So here I am, back in good old Mzansi. In the city of gold. AGAIN!!!

Bar the incident in Angola, I just have to state that I have never experienced such kindness, openness, warmth, caring and passion anywhere else before!! And this is before and after the incident. Angola is an amazingly beautiful country with amazingly beautiful, caring people!

I am, and probably always will be in awe of the extent that the people of Angola has gone to, to try and catch the boys that took Luna and to make sure that I was safe. It is just beyond words! I owe them a great deal of gratitude!

NOW – I know the question EVERYONE is asking is: ‘Are you calling it a day’? I will say this once, and once only: I have NO intention to give UP!!! I want to be the first woman to circumnavigate Africa solo. I’m just currently figuring out the how and when etc.

So * watch this space *!!

Thank you to Hoteis Angola for their ongoing support.



Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.



Tuesday, 30 August 2011

So much kindness

I’m battling to stay on top of the wave!

This morning four Angolan Cabinet Ministers, not their attachés or spokespeople or secretaries who whoever it is that Cabinet Ministers normally get to speak to mere mortals, PERSONALLY phoned Jolandie just to make sure that she that she is being taken care of, to express their sorrow for her ordeal and to assure her of their support! Awesome? Amazing? Unbelievable? I’m busy wearing out the pages of my Thesaurus, but my heart remains filled with gratitude at this wave of support and concern.

I’ve always hoped that there would be no need for me to restore the Needs List on this blog, but alas, there is a need!! I’ve scraped together bits and pieces of previous lists, and this is where the time has come, like the Walrus said, for you to turn to the Needs List page to put our Jolandie back in Wonderland!!

If there is anything that you can help with, or if you know of anybody who can help with anything, or if you know someone who knows someone, or if you have any suggestions or advice, please help! You know the story: please get your people to speak to my people!

With all the excitement of yesterday I completely forgot to post the link to an article which appeared in Die Burger – sorry, it is in Afrikaans only.



Thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time out to follow Jolandie’s journey and for your support and encouragement. And thanks to Hoteis Angola – without your involvement we wouldn’t have been able to look forward to sunny skies again!

I’d like to leave you with a quote I read on my friend Mariella Furrer’s site this morning, in keeping with the kindness being bestowed on Jolandie. Mariella's My Piece of Sky project is an inspirational journey of healing and personal growth.

"It is important to reflect on the kindness of others. Every aspect of our present well-being is due to others' hard work. The buildings we live and work in, the roads we travel, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat, are all provided by others. None of them would exist but for the kindness of so many people unknown to us." ~ Dalai Lama

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!


Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.


Abundant Angola!!

Before leaving M’banza Congo yesterday afternoon, Jolandie was taken to the police station one last time. The officers went over her statement in detail again, checking and double checking her descriptions of the four scoundrels that took Luna from her and the black Ford ‘bakkie’ that disappeared over the horizon with Luna and Jolandie’s expedition gear on board. Assuring her that the search has by no means been called off, she was taken back to the Governor’s residence to get her, by now, meagre belongings.

With Governor Pedro Sebastião
Waiting for her was Pedro Sebastião, the Governor of the Zaire province. Having a last chat in the lounge, he again apologised for the ordeal she was subjected to in his province before handing her an envelope. And inside? Generous compensation for the loss she suffered; his contribution towards a new Luna and the load she will be carrying!! Jolandie was totally overwhelmed by this completely unexpected display of generosity.

Having said their goodbyes, Jolandie was taken to the landing strip where a Beechcraft airplane was droning on the runway to take her to Lobito.

Eagerly awaiting her arrival were the guys from Hoteis Angola who whisked her off to a press conference.

I simply have to believe that in a country where complete strangers reach out so freely and with such ease and such abundance, Jolandie had the incredible misfortune to run into the only four bad guys within its borders.

Jolandie will be spending a day or so in Lobito before making her way back to Johannesburg. Without question I am delighted that she is heading back home and Hvir’s tail hasn’t stopped wagging since she heard the news. However, I suspect a hectic time lies ahead. Best I clear the decks!!

Ooooohhh!! And switching to whisper font, the new Luna may already have a name – don’t tell Jolandie that I made sure you’re the first to know!! There may be a Pink Floyd song title in the name. Sssshhh! I didn’t say a word!! Now it is just a matter of finding a bike fitting the name and gear to match!! Oooppss, I forgot about one teeny, weeny little detail: we’ll have to rustle up some funds, donations, pledges, help and chocolate cookies to make sure the new Luna et al get back on the road again. A.S.A.P!! Feel your heart sink as you read this – you will be called upon!!!

As always: Hoteis Angola – you guys are simply phenomenal! Thank you. And Governor Pedro Sebastião, I cannot think that I will ever have sufficient vocabulary to thank you for your magnanimous and big-hearted gesture. Not only to pull out all the stops to find Luna, but also for your sizeable contribution towards getting Jolandie back on the road. Muito obrigado!


The Beechcraft ready to take Jolandie to Lobito


Cockpit and cabin - only anorexic hostesses need to apply!!


The fighter jets that went looking for Luna. Oh, no! That's wrong, it's just fighter jets on the runway.
THIS is one of the two police helicopters that spent two days up in the sky with eyes peeled for a sighting of four scoundrels and Luna!


Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!


Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Nothing found other then immense generosity!

It is not often that I am at a loss for words, but yesterday I really was.

I was woken yesterday morning when Paul Buys and Burt Triegaardt phoned me from Soyo in Angola. They had mailed me on Saturday night when word of Jolandie’s plight had reached them. Their security team was immediately advised to be on the look out for Luna. Arrangements were made to accommodate Jolandie in Soyo should she choose to go there. They unconditionally offered their help and support – in any way it was needed.

I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I put the phone down in stunned silence.

When I turned my computer on, I found my inbox bursting with mails of concern, offerings of assistance and just an overwhelming outpouring of love, support and comfort for Jolandie.

I am immensely humbled and bow deeply to each and every one of you for your unconditional generosity! I’m sure I had an out of body experience – my skin was just too small to contain the emotion that swept through me.

Jolandie spent most of yesterday morning in bed, but was feeling better by the afternoon. It was near impossible to talk to her as she just lapsed into coughing fits! We were chatting on Whatsapp, thinking of names for Luna’s replacement when suddenly she said: ‘I hear helicopters!!’ My heart skipped a few beats.

Whilst I was pretty sure that I would be tinkering away here at this hour informing you of how Luna was returned to Jolandie unscathed, am afraid to report that my sincerest wish did not come true. The police helicopters had returned empty handed.

Can you believe: two police helicopters out for two days searching for Luna! Is that not just incredibly awesome?

It seems that Jolandie will go to Lobito today, then back to Windhoek and Johannesburg later in the week. And I guess then it will be serious regrouping, rethinking and reorganizing.

I can assure you that Jolandie is viewing this incident as part and parcel of the experience of cycling around Africa. She has no intention of giving up!! It will just be a mammoth scramble to get bike and gear together again to continue where she left off!

Sincerest and most heartfelt thanks again to the team at Hoteis Angola for their generous sponsorship and for going much, much further than the extra mile to make sure that Jolandie was taken care of this weekend.

A loud round of applause to the police and Governor of the Zaire province for their relentless efforts to find Luna and for keeping Jolandie safe, warm and cared for.

I sadly sign off with no photographs to post!


Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.