Belair, 21 February 2009


Cycle to Ceduna? The immigration officer at Adelaide airport must think that I am totally mad. She browses through my journey planning and is in for another shock.

Did you really buy your ticket only one week in advance?

Shouldn't you have been planning this journey a bit longer?

Well, I am not really convinced that detailed planning is a success factor for a journey.

Plans just limit flexibility.

Earlier on another lady told me that my bike can not exit the box yet. As... that box may have to be X-rayed.

Well yes of course lady, but ... are you sure a box this size will fit the X-ray machine?

Well, she doesn't know about that. What she does know well are the rules and I just have to obey them. The box remains sealed.

Australians are about the most rule loving people in the world.

Yet, an true blue Ozzie prides himself when his great great great granddad was shipped as a convicted thief from England and his great great great grandmother as a prostitute.

Now, don't come and tell me those were people that loved to obey rules.

So, why do I have a business visa?

Am I going to sell my laptop?

No, no, no way in hell.

I am kind of attached to my Panasonic Toughbook.

Mike Levyssohn ( did a good job selecting this one for me.

But I may find some new customer for the shift roster design training.

The question hour continues, now I am in for research inquiry. Which signs did I notice at the airport?

Eh... the only one I paid attention to was the one with foreign passports. It told me which queue was the right one for me to join.

It is definitely not the answer this lady wanted to hear.

Well, yes, there are probably about a hundred signs telling me all the Australian rules, but sorry, I already paid attention to those rules while packing overseas.

The final check is about mud.

Now the bike must get out of the box.

I do not have to much mud on my bike, do I?

No, no, before leaving the Netherlands I thoroughly wiped out all traces of a mud trail hike. Now, you see how much I care about Australia, don't you?

And while in Malaysia, I stuck to bitumen roads.

Now do I obey your rules or what?

Once passed customs, Australia is a different country. No more questions. No more thoughts frozen solid in rules.

Ozzies are excellent in just leaving you alone, much unlike the curious Malaysians.

It is almost a surreal experience to reassemble the Flevobike green machine. without a growing crowd.


The next day Peter Crettenden, the outback expert from Swag About Tours helps me in selecting a large, yet light weight swag.

A swag is an Ozzie invention, a cross between a tent and a sleeping bag.

Actually it is just a piece of canvas with a mattress inside. Simple, yet easy.

Put your clothes in the swag. Roll it. And you got luggage that is easy to carry.

The swag will be at the back of the push bike later.

With a swag you can sleep just anywhere, a million star experience, just unroll it and you're ready for a good night sleep.

Peter Crettenden: Henk Jan, as the proud owner of a swag, you will not need a sphere to live in!

Once you are inside Australia, you are free to go where ever you like.

Would Australians still feel liberated from the English rules and values?

Next week I will start a long distance bike journey, with a yet unknown route.

The start is pretty well organized, with map, following the Mawson trail till Clare.

After that I will probably head for Ceduna, yet I am not really sure.

Now that is not planning falling short, but a maximum of flexibility.

Till next nut,