Tuesday 18 March 2014

Options in light of disaster.

After extensively thinking about all the possible options that I have since my passport was stolen from an embassy I think I have now rationally gotten them down to two options....

I am now riding on my third engine, I have gone through two other pistons, cylinder rebores and now a stolen passport. All in the space of 6 months. A lot of people in the world seem to think that things happen for a reason. That life gives you signs and you should follow them. There's no doubt that human history has been shaped by people following signs, but personally I don't take to such things. I don't believe in God, divine intervention or the sort. If things happen for a reason then why are babies born with heart defects, children getting cancer, loved one's dying in road accidents. This is what life can give you. It is a game of chance and it can be cruel. There's no way around it, I feel I have been very unlucky since I left home. But that is it.

After everything that happened with my engines I really thought most of my troubles were over and I lulled myself into a false sense of optimism where I expected everything to be fine, for a least a while anyway. So when my passport was stolen a week after I got a new engine it hit me hard. In Africa you can sweet talk a pharmacist into giving you anything... Diazapam, Dihydrocodeine, Tramadol, and I spazzed myself out on a beach for the best part of a week.

After realising this really isn't the best thing to do I escaped the beach and I am now living with an American diplomat in Accra central, in a massive air condition house (which feels really weird) and he even has a pool! He's a very positive and travelled man and we've talked a lot about my current situation.

There's no getting around the fact that I need to go back to England to get a new passport. As of 13/10/13 the British government changed there legislation on their foreign citizens acquiring a passport abroad. If this happened before I would have been able to get a new passport from here no problem. But now I need to be a citizen, local insurance ID, proof of address etc. I looked into temporarily becoming a citizen but that isn't possible. I could become a citizen of Togo for the some of £20 but then have no British high commission there. What my government now does is issue you with an emergency passport... which only has five pages in. I could technically reach South Africa with this, but I'm doubtful it will work. Both of the Congo's stand in the way and they have visas that are very, very hard to obtain. Togo is the best place to get the visa, but then my 5 page passport would have expired before I get to the Congolese border. If by a stroke of luck I did manage to get through then by the time I get to South Africa I would still need to fly home. The further I go from here the more expensive that is. And if I get stuck outside the Congo it is even more expensive to fly home. The emergency passports are £100 a pop too. I don't think going on as it is, is a viable option.

I do need to get home from here and pick up my standard passport. The two options are; fly home from here, sort a passport out in England, hopefully find some work to equate my expenses and then come back and continue. The sting of this is that I will be leaving my bike in the country illegally. Out of the many things I've learned in Africa you can talk your way out of most things at borders. But this is still a risk and it could be expensive.

My second option is to turn around. I can make it back to England on two emergency passports and I can see a lot of West Africa that I haven't seen yet. I can pick up a 5 country visa in Togo which covers Benin, Burkina, Ivory coast and Guinea. I can then go to Sierra Leone and the Gambia and then make my way back up through the Sahara (which has been one of my favourite parts of the journey so far) and make it back to England.

The main goal out of all of this was to get to Canada with my girlfriend. She was going to meet me in South America and we were going to ride up together. But if I decide to ride home, which would still take me another 6 months, I could meet her, work until the weather changes and replenish some much needed funds and then we could set off to the far East together and make it to Canada whilst seeing Russia, Kazakhstan, Kygzstan and Mongolia. Everywhere in the World interests me but these countries do especially.

I'm torn between both these options. I do wholeheartedly begrudge been in the position where I now how to fork out on an air ticket for England after walking into an embassy for a £10 piece of paper. But these things happen. (I have said this a lot so far!)

As yet I am still very undecided about both of these. They both make me happy, but if I'm honest my heart is shifting towards riding home and going East. But then I have always wanted to see central Africa....

I don't know yet.

Suggestions are welcome.    


  1. Re tool, re think, re plan... Good plan! I was going to give you the speech about, "life throws us some curves..." It's indeed true. Shit thrown at you makes you stronger. Think about this - what have you learned about life and people on your journey? Did you end up losing it all? No. You were able to walk away without losing it all. You think that, "this sucks". Have you lost your health. Have you lost your sanity? No. You realize that that there are options and you have the luxury of making a choice. Dude, this is the forge of life and you are being tempered to withstand the crap life throws at us. Be appreciative. You will not acquire this knowledge at University. You got to experience it first hand.

    On a cheerier note - if you want to see the home of the London Bridge (in Arizona) and your travels come to the US desert southwest. By all means, drop by....


  2. There you go big boy, nice one David..…I could not have put it any clearer than that. Just to add a small point? With all this knowledge and exeriance you're gaining, you probably will not stop at just one rotation, and then put centle Africa on the must see list the second time around ��

  3. I agree, I think ride back then set off going east and return to Africa one day sounds like the best option. Did you manage to get in contact with yommi? It doesn't sound like going further into Africa is an option. Plus it doesn't seem like you're in a rush so taking another route home would be nice, then as the others have said refueliing, recouperating and recharging with a new route. Lots of love jx

  4. Liam, you made a good fist of it and lady luck has not been too kind, although she can be a stroppy cow. You have done what many many people dream of doing and done it well.

    Dave up top summed it up - Re-tool, rethink, re-plan. If i was in your shoes, i'd be heading west for some sahara bashing on the way back to blighty.

    Fix that cub of yours up, work save and go again.

    If you're ever up north, in scotlandshire way, i'll buy you a pint.

    Cheers, Andrew.

  5. Holy shit Liam! When I met you that day I never thought it would be this big a problem. Keep pushing man!

    1. Yes Jack, it turned into the mother of all fuck ups. Slowly getting it all back together though. I think from now on there will always be a little glare in my eyes whenever I hand over my passport to an embassy clerk.

  6. wow....On one hand I would say you have experienced so much already and you could easily write a book!! It's good you're considering every option....It depends how long you would have to work for back in England to recover the cost of your flight....or maybe you could appeal to people for some money??!! Or do a fundraise thing back in england to get you back on your travels? Im sure you would have many supporters. It's a hard decision and only you know if you are able to accept the incredible achievement of making it to Africa but calling it quits to go be with someone you really love sooner rather than later (which is a completely valid and understandable thing to do!). OR you will continue the adventure and it will make it even more epic! Neither option nullifies your mission or the reason you set out to do all this in the first place. That's all I can offer hun.....me and to are thinking about you and GOOD LUCK!!! xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  8. Seeing how this post is pushing its way up in the 'popular posts' section, I should clarify that I didn't go home and I got my passport sorted out (that might be kind of obvious) all the details of it are in my Journal 6 if you want to have a look...

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