Friday, 20 July 2012

Base Camp Manager retires

On 6 July 2010 my friend Pauline left the UK to begin a great adventure; to cycle around the world, camping most of the time. I knew it would be a while before I saw her again, which was hard, but I was to be involved in the entire time she was away as her Base Camp Manager.

In the first few weeks, as she journeyed through France, I had my first task; to find a replacement or repair for her gas stove back here in the UK and get it out to her.

This was just one of many times I came to Pauline's assistance, another being in the city of Bordeaux. This time it was trying to find a cambio to exchange travellers cheques, and with the help of Google maps I was able to guide her right to the door.

And so it continued, all the way round, from locating and speaking to the hostel manager in Buenos Aires, sending her my Thermarest by FedEx to the western edge of Argentina, to getting a National Cycle Network map to the ferry terminal in Newcastle for her to guide her way home on the final leg.

A regular role was drawing maps for Pauline to include in her blogs as she picked her way through 19 different countries on four continents, more than 15,000 miles. Click the Bicycle Diaries on the right to read all about her entire adventure.

Twice my role would change dramatically as I became her travel companion. The first was in Spain when I met up with her in Logrono to cycle the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, and then we would meet again for the greatest adventure I've ever had; a 4,000 mile cycle from Plymouth Massachusetts to Seattle Washington.

Yesterday, on the 19 July 2012, Pauline cycled along the promenade in Portobello, Edinburgh, bringing an end to her adventure and my role as Base Camp Manager. I am just as sad as her for it all to be over. There are no more things for me to find, or source or maps for me to draw. There are no more opportunities for me to join her at a point on her route.

Retirement sucks.

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