…or simply Tom, as many friends call me and one who has been on the road a lot; the constant restlessness. At first they were only little hops; I always liked to return to my home stable. Nevertheless, even then I had big dreams of great tours, but in my young years they just remained dreams; others had higher priority for the time being.
A language stay in the French metropolis and the subsequent change to the French-speaking part of Switzerland brought me into a certain restlessness. Something new had to be experienced again and again. With the food came the appetite and with every excursion, every journey the questions soon arose as to what or where the next excursion or journey should go. As soon as I had left home, my next dreams began to sprout into my next adventure.
During the wonderful time at Lake Geneva Chantal also came into my life, together we went on new discoveries and many crazy things should come along. As soon as we got married, we started our first marital test round: A longer bike tour from Switzerland to South Africa; finally we wanted to test ourselves extensively during our honeymoon. By the way, after 16 months we had completed the 16’000 kilometres and stood at the Cap of the good hopes; a great and very moving moment.
Then things calmed down a bit; family life with children and all the many other obligations were on the agenda. The “travel hops” became a little smaller and it was necessary to explore the closer surroundings togehter the children.
First motorized, no not in a car, but with the motorcycle, respectively motorcycles. I’ve always wanted something different from everyone else. So we did not have just any family car, but a motorcycle with sidecar and after the birth of the third son a second sidecar followed, so that Chantal also had to catch up the motorcycle test for heavy motorcycles.
A family bike tour from Basel to Amsterdam soon changed a lot again; the bikes were sold and in the following years it was quite clear; “we are cycling through the world” and no objections from the kids! After the many camping holidays, I had to carry the packed camping trailer through half of Europe for several years, our kids said goodbye. The “Chantal and Tom” -team, however, remained on tour – with the bike and light luggage – and followed the European rivers. The tent and the sleeping bag were exchanged for simple accommodations; so we got closer to the local population and many contacts are still in good memory today.
At the same time I was very active with the juniors in the Swiss Alpine Club and since 1986 the same mountain guide accompanied me again and again for the weekly events.
During all the many camps and touring weeks in the whole Alpine region, he kept telling about the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the endless expanses of this country. I could never get enough of these stories and some day Alfons organized a ski and canoe tour in the west of Canada. I was quickly able to convince Chantal of this intention; she travelled later for the “Tour after the Tour”. I got out my old maps of North America, which I bought when I was young, because I wanted to take a motorbike from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and soon the next dreams began to flourish.
The mountain tours, the paddling in the Bowron Provincial Park and the riding trips awakened my hunger for travel extremely strongly, followed by the family visits in the east of Canada, which left a single insight; here we have to go again as soon as possible!
On my 57th birthday, it was a quiet day and we – Chantal and I – enjoyed the afternoon coffee when I told her about my dream that in a year’s time I would go into early retirement and travel around the world with her again.
Slightly shocked, no response came back that day; we were both strongly involved in various organizations. Sometimes we had the feeling that without us it wouldn’t work and everything would collapse. But after a short detour to Maroco her answer came: “Let’s do it!” Mine, our newest dream has taken root!
A few weeks later, it was our 30th wedding anniversary, we bought our “Gazelle” in the French Alps; a special camper based on Jeep Wrangler.
The crossing to Switzerland took his time, was connected with various difficulties and for the time being we had to prove our loyalty to our bikes.
The first extensive test tour to England followed at the end of October. We wanted to know if we could cope with such tight conditions for a long time and if the thing was suitable for bad weather at all.
We survived the first motorized tour, despite rain, storm and cold temperatures! 🙂
The first extensive test tour to England followed at the end of October. We wanted to know if we could cope with such tight conditions for a long time and if the thing was suitable for bad weather at all.We survived the first motorized tour, despite rain, storm and cold temperatures! 🙂
At the end of 2017, we had to get down to brass tacks; early retirement yes or no, or only reduced workload and longer journeys in Europe?
The issue of the visa for the USA made everything clear; we’ll go through with it and live our dream!
I guess it’s because of my nature that we, or I, underestimate everything. I led many JO and SAC events during the whole ski touring season, so that almost everything else fell into oblivion.
Also still a complete household contents must be sold or disposed, which took likewise much time and us nearly no quiet minute indulged. But, ….
….typical for us! Maybe we just need it!