So…what happened to leaving for Africa in July?
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Our last blogpost ended with the conclusion of us leaving for Africa by July and even though 2020 seems to having consist of one long March it’s the end of August right now and we’re in…Munich. Yep, that’s right. We made it south 600 kilometers and have been stuck here for the last 2 months. So, let’s get you up to date.
We (and by we I mean Björn - there is video evidence, just saying) decided to rebuild Bogdan from the ground up. It seemed like a good idea at the time since Björn had all of a sudden enough time to spare for a new project and we could redesign the interior according to our liking.
Said and done, we started stripping down Bogdan to a bare minimum and revealed the good, the bad - and the ugly. The very ugly. The more we took out the more rust we discovered. The upside: those rusty spots might have kicked us in the ass later on the road anyway which would have been a lot more inconvenient. The downside: this was a job - among many others - we had to outsource to Gregor, the magic mechanic. Since he has a full-time job on his own, we depended on him whenever he could make time.
Parallel to this, you can probably imagine that when two people without any knowledge about cars and carpentry whatsoever try to remodel the interior of a Defender there will be a lot of trial and error involved. Sometimes several errors per trial - one time we managed to repeat the following process for three times: measure, drive to the hardware store, drive back, figuring out we made a mistake, start from the beginning. THREE TIMES. We highly doubted our right to hold masters’ degrees and work in jobs with responsibility on several occasions.
When it looked like we would finally make it to the finish line by the beginning of August, we were hit by another big setback (which, again, turned out to be better happening then than later). It hadn’t really rained for the past 6 weeks and when storms hit southern Germany it turned out that Bogdan wasn’t waterproof - he was leaking in various spots, and we found our already built wooden interior soaking wet. Huge downer, tears may have been held back.
After 6 weeks, working on the car every day for hours, missing out on almost the entire summer and also realizing that this problem wasn’t for us to solve, we decided to leave Bogdan with the Pros and took a time out. We climbed the Zugspitze and learned/ improved kiteboarding skills in Egypt to get at least some achievements into the books.
By the end of June, we had moved out of the apartment in Cologne and at the end of July it was time to say goodbye to Björn’s apartment in Munich. We originally thought we would use it as a buffer in case we needed a place to stay in July but now we were basically homeless and nowhere close to leaving with Bogdan. Luckily, we could crash at a friend’s place (thanks Foxy!) to finish up what we thought would have been long done.
“The route becomes the destination!”
While we were struggling to finish things up, it became more and more clear that we would not be making it to Africa due to the current situation. When all the freight cruise ships got cancelled until the end of the year, we slowly started to adapt the route. We were still hoping that there would be a chance at some point to cross into Egypt, so we decided to drive south-east to Greece, via Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania.
At this point, sadly, it seems like Africa is not really an option anymore - we keep checking the “Sicher reisen” App of the Auswärtiges Amt but borders are mostly closed and the overall situation in Africa is very unclear due to lack of information.
In August we flipped to a new sheet on our wise words calendar: “The route becomes the destination”. We’ve had a lot of fun roughly planning our way through Africa, finding out must-see spots and really getting into great anticipation of what was lying ahead of us. We don’t have all this anymore, with the current situation there simply is no planning: travel restrictions, country accessibilities - everything changes constantly. We do have two terms we would like to apply: temperatures in which very little clothing is required and exploring areas where real adventures are waiting for us.
For now, we’ll keep living out of boxes, since all our belongings are with our parents, practicing for Boggy life. Once we’re ready to leave we will go with the flow and find out where it takes us.