Haret AlfasiThe Long Way To Italy | Autumn 2016

Day 1: Oil changes and late departures

And so it began….in bed….not wanting to leave bed. Oh how comfortable was that sleep, but pushing the covers off I knew that there was still a ton to be done before my planned move at around 4pm. The atmosphere at home hung with that familiar air of departure. Siblings quiet and mum more so. My youngest brother had come over to bid his goodbyes while I was still half asleep seeing as he needed to head to the office. I vaguely remember thanking him and wishing to see him again very soon.

As per the usual, the last minute rush was very present. Don’t ask me why, and don’t ask me if this will ever change, but it’s something I’ve never been able to improve on. Whereas you’d think that one should take it easy in the morning of such an epic trip, there I was rushing to update the firmware of my bluetooth communicator, make a few last minute purchases and change the engine oil of the bike. This doesn’t factor in the fact that I hadn’t even started to prep my clothes or the panniers with the things I wanted to take. Did I have sincere belief and conviction that I could get it all done though? Absolutely yes!


There was no real order to completing these tasks. I found myself rushing between the clothes, the electronics and the sorting out a few bits and bobs before making a decision to quickly nip out and finalise the purchases. I was really only after two things: A microSD card and protective hand mitts/muffs for the bike when the weather would get cold. As I was about to walk out the bike shop I spotted the engine oil and had the spontaneous idea of getting some and making a quick oil change for the bike. Bear in mind I’ve never done this myself before but I held firm to the belief that with a quick Youtube tutorial and the necessary tools (I was SERIOUSLY hoping we had the tools at home) that everything would go smoothly. Luckily, everything did! :D. I finished up the rest of the clothes packing, and after putting all my mess in order and saying goodbye to the family, I was out the door just shy of 8pm.

The plan was to head to London and stay the night with a friend and then make an early 6am start to Harwich where I would be catching the ferry to the Hook of Holland. As per the usual, the trip down to London was the typical motorway slog, void of anything interesting and cloaked with the darkness of the night that quickly swept over me. Before joining the motorway however, I made a quick stop at a petrol station to top up, and after returning to the bike I noticed that the lid of the left pannier was wide open! What the heck??? Shocked and in disbelief, I quickly checked that everything was in order and indeed it was! Not a single item had fallen out, incredible!

Fast forward two and a half hours and I found myself in east London. The motorway had given me the opportunity to test the new bluetooth/camera communicator that I had recently bought and I felt that it was doing a pretty good job. Shame that speakers were flush on my ears which meant that it wasn’t that snug fit that I love from in-ear earphones on the bike that helps to both protect one’s ears and deliver deep sound at the same time. I did also make a stop on the hard shoulder to call my friend and chomp down on a cheeky snickers for that extra bit of energy.


Arriving in London, I caught up with my friend Saqib and his lovely wife Suma, saw their incredibly adorable and growing-at-a-seriously-fast-pace son Hamza and had the most delicious (albeit a tad late) takeout dinner. We chatted and shared the happenings of the months since we last saw each other, and come 1am we were all ready to hit the sack. It was around this time that I did what is probably one of the stupidest things in a while.

I recently migrated from an Apple iPhone to Android. And by recently I mean….two days ago xD. Still getting used to the system, I decided to get the trip’s navigation issue out of the way by downloading my favourite navigator from the Play Store. I was prompted to add my payment details and then my account password before completing the purchase. I must’ve entered my password incorrectly or something because the payment didn’t go through, and so was asked to enter the password again. Having full conviction that this indeed was the correct password, I proceeded to enter it confidently an extra 4 or 5 times until I was locked out of my account. Till this moment, I have absolutely no idea what went through my head……how could I just carry on? Well….that was that………and if only it had ended there. I attempted to recover my password so Google asked me for my recover email address so they could send me a code. After writing my recovery email and hopping over to login to get the code, I was notified by the other email client that suspicious activity had been noticed and that I would need to enter my recovery email address so they could send me a code………..that recovery email address being my…Gmail address

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Are you serious? And so I found myself stuck. Till now. I couldn’t keep fretting as I needed to catch some sleep, so I left it and decided to deal with it in the morning.