Backed by the mountains and well off the main road, it’s a peaceful haven and a perfect antidote to the speed of modern life. We’re not the first to think so either. Of the 100 or so people who live there, there are around 18 travellers who have settled here. As it turns out it was a haven in more ways than one for us.
Arriving from Romania after a long day’s riding, we received a warm welcome from Polly, Ivo and a full camp of travellers and spent a wonderful first night in easy company, relaxing around the barbecue.
The next day we were on a plane to sort out Mickey’s expired licence, safe in the knowledge that our bikes were secured without breaking the bank. After failing to obtain our Pakistan visa we needed to ship to India. Customs would require a valid driver’s licence to release the bikes and we decided it would be fastest to go home to sort it out…
So began our wait for the amended licence to turn up. Ordinarily this would have been only 3 weeks, but thanks to a mistake by the DVLA meaning the new licence restricted Mickey to riding trikes only, we were further delayed as our Iranian visa expiry date ticked ever closer.
Finally, after nearly 7 weeks we had licence in hand and were back on a plane to Sofia and Idilevo. Unfortunately though, by this point our Iranian visa had expired so we were faced with major plan adjustments. Again, Motocamp came in helpful as residents who knew only too well the challenges of long term travel offered stories of similar problems, possible solutions and support.
In the midst of all this upheaval we also investigated the strange noise that had developed in Mickey’s engine just before the Bulgarian border. After 3 weeks and much thought, investigation and discussion we had to face facts that the bike needed attention beyond our abilities. Luckily, two of the couples who lived in Idilevo who we’d gotten to know were heading back to the UK with empty vans and both kindly offered to transport our bikes back where they could receive attention from a trusted mechanic.
It’s been almost 2 and a half months since we’ve moved anywhere by motorbike. We’re missing the road greatly but there’s never a dull moment and the interruptions have forced us to take stock of our journey and what we want out of it. We’d both fallen into a routine of chasing the deadlines. From the beginning, we’ve had to get to places to pick things up or conform with visas.
This deviation from the plan reminded us of the value of staying a while in a place, getting to know people and seeing a way of life. Of course we’re disappointed to miss Iran and Pakistan but there’s a lifetime ahead of us. For now we’re grateful to have had time with family, to have made lasting friendships and to have taken the lesson that life has given us. Slow down, appreciate. After all, it never was about getting from A to B.
Today we begin the journey down south to pick the bikes up and take them over to Garw Valley Motorcycles in Wales. In early November we’ll fly to Goa, India to ensure that our final running visa gets some use and ensure that we don’t miss another much looked forward to destination of the journey. It also means we get to fulfil out commitment to speak at the MTM16 travel meeting on the 11th. The bikes will follow us at some point, we’re not sure when. We’re ironing out details daily but we’re doing well, staying open, responsive and keeping our focus on what makes us happy.