So today’s the day. The journey begins. Adventure is afoot.
Pico the Picasso and I set off into a great series of unknowns; the quest for escapade and freedom. Who knows what we will find, all we know is that we’ll find it. Driving away from my parents this morning was the culmination of a decade long dream, two years planning and one night of final prep fretting.
It’s hardly surprising that last night was a storm of excitement, anxiety and loose ends (not bowels just yet). You could spend years on planning and never quite be ready - best to be off and on with it. So despite a fair amount of planning, last night I never quite felt comfortable. The beauty is that as I sit on the ferry crossing the channel to France, I feel relief. Everything is started and all the little things are forgotten in the wake of the big excursion.
I can imagine myself saying ‘It’s all easy from now, isn’t it?’ and my mum would retort ‘Yeah right. Be safe’. In fact,‘ just be safe’ is one comment that’s been voiced to me many times in the past few weeks. It’s hard to say what be safe means, my life’s risk factor just increased significantly. Yet without risk, there is rarely return and I’m cashing in. And I promise to be as safe as I can.
On to Pico :)
At this juncture, it’s only fair to introduce my compatriot for this jaunt as no doubt many references will be made and introductions are polite.
Pico is a petrol 2003 Citroën Xsara Picasso in a colour I can only describe as off-puke. Some might call it gold but with the number of bumps, scratches and knocks he’s experienced, at best it is a tarnished gold. Yet her beauty still shines through.
When I was deciding on what vehicle to take, many options were thrown about. Perhaps a Land Rover would have been more practical, a Toyota Land Cruiser more unbreakable or a diesel engine more economical. As it happens, Pico came along by pure fluke.
When I mentioned to a few of my friends that I was on the hunt for a car to travel the world, lots were looked at until a friend kindly remembered he was selling a car. The problem was he couldn’t sell it due to the significant body damage it had sustained when it provided the role of bumper car. He was going to sell it for scrap at £100 and I was not in need of a perfect paint job.
So a friend, Will the mechanic, and I had a look round. What we found was a car I could lay down flat in, a car that was mechanically sound and a car that had every little detail I couldn’t have thought of. From a 12V socket in the rear, to seats that pop out to form a flat bed, to a superior driving position, it was perfect. It had had two owners from new: my friend’s girlfriend and her grandmother. Mileage was crazily low – there were just some bumps and scrapes. And so I bought it for £120. After all, the car had half a tank of petrol. And so Pico was born.
With some minor modifications from Will and I (a full service, leisure battery, new exhaust and stereo) we were ready to go. The leisure battery meant I could charge using a normal plug or USB and the stereo was just for great tunes. A new look was also created with stickers on the outside plus glow-in-the-dark stars, a glitter ball and a broken clock robot on the inside. Check the photos!
Thank you to everyone that provided stickers – they’re all on there – try and spot them!
So with France on the horizon, I bid you farewell and ask you to keep reading. I feel they’ll be much to tell you.
So yeah right. Be safe. See you when I see you ;)