Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Things Just Got Real

Welcome to my first blog post! This is the place to come for regular updates throughout the build-up to departure and, most importantly, the journey itself. I'm still a bit unsure what to call it all, is it an expedition, a trip, a journey, a tour, a voyage or merely a bike ride?! I hope to keep this blog so updated that by the end of the tour it will also help other people who attempt similarly daunting feats in the future!

Things have come a long way since I first thought of cycling to India back in December 2011. More importantly, things have a long, long way to go before I depart on May 19th 2012. In typical Jude style, I've left myself with very little time.

This week has been really exciting. After pulling two all-nighters over the weekend writing code for the website (no wonder my love life is so busy), I finally told people about the site on Monday and the first donations came flooding in from friends. In case you miraculously found this blog without coming from the site, you can check it out at http://EnglandToIndia.com. I've designed several sites in the past but I normally cheekily take a template and change the colours and images around a bit and then claim it as mine: This one however was made (almost) from scratch, so I'm extra happy with it! The site has lots of information on it; there's info on the charity, the route, me (yay!), contact details etc.

On Monday I spoke to St. Margaret's Hospice, the charity I'm raising money for. They were super-stoked that someone had called them out of the blue and told them that hopefully they'll be getting a £25,000 donation before too long. Their fundraising team has been really helpful. They've sent me over some letterheads for me to write off to potential sponsors on, which is really useful. I'm planning on visiting the hospice in a couple of weeks too which I'm really looking forward to.

I've also set up the Twitter account (http://Twitter.com/England2India) which I'm updating frequently. Unfortunately someone's squatting on the username "EnglandToIndia" so I had to use the digit "2" instead #FirstWorldProblems.

With the website done and the charity informed, there are three major things I need to get done.

1) Choose equipment.
For most things, except for my actual bike, I'm going to be looking at getting top of the range equipment. For example, I'll need a stove that will have no trouble brewing some noodles 4693m (15,397ft) in the sky (Khunjerab Pass between China and Pakistan). I'll need a super light-weight tent that can breathe but won't so much as drip on me in the midst of an hurricane. In terms of my bicycle, I'm going to go for a middle of the range mountain bike with front suspension only. Top of the range bikes may have benefits but can be hard to find replacement parts for in the virtually uninhabited Pamir mountains. Pretty much everything I have learned about required equipment comes from Stephen Lord's "Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook" and one or two other blogs.

2) Get sponsored, big time.
£25,000 is a lot of money to raise, I realise that. As of writing, my friends and family have donated £160; party! The majority of money I raise will surely have to come from corporate sponsorship. I'll keep y'all updated on any sponsorship related news, but for now it's important that I don't just talk about it; I must do it. Also, I am going to create an Amazon Wishlist for some of my equipment. This gives people an opportunity not only to help out by donating to St. Margaret's Hospice but also to help actually get me on the road, as at the moment I have exactly *checks on phone* -£-17.74 in my current account (which is meant to only have a £10 overdraft) and £0.40 in my savings account!

3) Get publicised, big, big time.
I can't talk about this too much at the moment ("oooh, it must be a really big deal...") but I'm very hopeful that rather soon I'll be able to announce that I've teamed up with a certain media group who will make the story of my journey known to the masses. Again, I'll keep you posted on this!

And for now, I must sleep. Believe it or not (sometimes I get so excited about England to India that I forget) I do actually have a full time job that I have to be up for at 7am tomorrow!

Since this is the first blog post, I'll link you lovely people with more England to India content than you could ever ask for!

Website: http://EnglandtoIndia.com
Donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/englandtoindia
Twitter: http://twitter.com/england2india
St. Margaret's Hospice: http://somerset-hospice.org.uk

Peace in love,

P.S. My planned route is so ridonkulously long that I can definitely justify measuring it in light years. It'll be approximately 0.0000000010206685701636 light years. Look how many numbers that is; it must be a really long journey ;)