No battleplan survives the first enemy contact.
No businessplan ever survived the first market rollout.
Very few dreams survive the harsh meeting with reality.
This post is about a dream and that meeting.
We spent 4 weeks in Spain (Sheesh, time flies) chasing down transport-agencies. 29 days sending emails, making long distance calls to shipping companies, agents and other helpy-helpers. How hard can it be to wring a straigt answer out of someone? Right?
Hard. Very very hard.
«Hello it’s me again. Have you heard anything form your Argentinian agent?»
«Ah, hello Sir, ehr no. But I am sure I will know something tomorrow»
«Hello again. You never called back yesterday like you promised. Any news?»
«Ehr hello Mr Bernstieen (really, my surname is that hard?) no, but we have this under control, you can count on me!»
«Hello, it’s Mr BERENTSEN again..»
This went on and on and on. Being pragmatic, I (justly so) feared the worst..
Why did this turn into a problem after the trip had started? Well, first of all the original trip was planned as a motorcycle journey. And so transport was arranged accordingly by a reputable shipping agency. We had solid reasurances that this was not a problem.
Then, as you may have read in the major changes to just about everything post, we had to change our plan from two BMW F800GS to a Mitsubishi Pajero Dakar. Still all good, route stayed the same and we imediatly got a written quote for container fare from Spain to Argentina.
«Just contact us four weeks before your expected departure». (…so we can do nothing…)
Time passed and we hit the road leaving Stavanger September 9th 2014. Blissfully we traveled on for about three weeks before we, acording to the agreement, contacted our shipping agent. The very same agent who claimed to be able to to deliver, but apparently did nothing exept murder the pronunciation for my surname.
By now I started feeling uneasy about the whole process, and contacted a few other shipping-agencies. As one, they all gave us a solid «Sorry, but no. We do not handle private shipments anywhere, least of all South America».
Now I was really worried, and, reached out to friends, friends of friends and just about anyone through facebook, email and textmessages asking for help and hints. This generated quite a few leads as to how we could proceed. One company then suggested using their company as the sending party on our behalf. That hopefully would eliminate the problem connected to us being a private party sending and recieving the car in Spain and Argentina. Further investigation proved this solution to be no good..
Argentinian customs declared that in order to process the car we had to drive it back to Norway, to have the vehicle documents processed and verified by the Argentinian consulate in Oslo. A 7000 km roundtrip for a piece of paper, whose existence had never come up earlier…
In adition we had to expect «unexpected additional handling fees» (that trancelates into bribes, bogus-fees and broad-daylight-robbery-by-Clerc..)
Tempers started flaring a bit at Lostbiker.net mobile HQ.
Translated, I started loosing it a bit. Two imediate options came to mind:
1) Express my anger and start throwing stuff around, releasing the pent up angry gorilla that resides inside.
Or 2) internalize my frustration and think. That made me very quiet. And sad. And angry. And fun for no one.
The evening progressed and we had to face the very much unwanted truth:
Argentina, and all of south and central america, is a bust!
We now know that many others have had the same problem traveling by car, and the only realistic way is to enter Central-America via USA, and drive south. Problem is that our window of opportunity is within the next 10 months. Due to our USA- and Canada-plans it’s just not possible.
So what now?
Plans for USA and Canada are still standing firm. Shipping, handling and temporary import/export papers are in the works. However, the seasons and their inevitable change forces the issue, so our planned landfall in Florida, USA, is march 1st 2015.
That leaves us four months to do something fun with. Four months that where supposed to be spent in South and Central America learning spanish and avoiding malaria and monster-spiders. Yes, it just so happens we now have a small fortune worth of malaria-medication that will not se any use..
At the moment, we are back in Norway for a week to attend a funeral. This came on top of our other challenges, the same night even. But naturally, trip-related problems must take the backseat to more immediate family concerns.
Later this week, we will regroup, and start to figuring things out. On the wishlist is a week in the Spanish highlands, on dusty roads between tiny villages that may or may not have seen a car since Franco sat at the end of the table.
Next, a few days in Venice, Italy. It may be to late to propose to her in a gondola in the waterways of Venice (because we’re already married) but it sure would be romantic. Other places of interest is Athens (Greece) Istanbul (Turkey)
I find myself grieving over lost adventures and shattered dreams. Childish perhaps. But feelings are what they are. It still is hard to wright about, and even harder if not impossible to actually talk about. I feel like the world throws me new hurdles. Just because I have the audacity.
My somewhat non-square previous experiences has tought me time and time again; when you get beat to the ground, you don’t curl up to a ball and cower. It’s so easy to give in, to give up. But the angry, quiet gorilla inside won’t let me whimper, when I should roar. You roll with the impact, pick yourself up, and try again. Change the angle of attack. Change the plan.
So that is what we will do.
Learn. Grow. Dream.