Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Leaving in a few months

Camping weekend Twentse Liggers
Time starts to catch up pretty quick again, my trip to New Zealand is only about two months away. In that time I still have to manage a pretty hard deadline from work, complete my gear, and clean my bike ;-).
It is now also time to see if I do have all the gear I want to take, and if it actually fits in all my bags. The most heavy part of my entire luggage will be my bike, I really hope that I can clean it out that much that it fits inside a box and that the weight is below 20kg. As the tires (Schwalbe Marathon XR 57-559) on the bike already weigh about 0.8kg each, I might put them in my regular check-in luggage (advantage of foldable tires). But those details will be managed during the Christmas holiday.

For now my mind is set to working my butt off to finish a pilot-project with a working prototype to create and order documents online, finding my own place in Zwolle, and getting the last items for my trip. Oh yeah, also finding some time to actually ride some long miles on my bike, to get in shape for cycling each day in New Zealand. And no, I am actually not that busy, still have quite some time to actually just sit at my computer at home, or watching TV in the living room. It was a lot busier in the last months working on my thesis. It's currently pretty laid back actually :).

Gear wise I think that I have almost everything except a few items, such as a foldable seat (Tatteljee Stele), a pair of light, waterproof hiking shoes, and maybe a Trangia cooking set. A seat would be an extremely useful item to add to my collection of camping gear, until now I have been improvising this with trees and sleeping mats, but an actual chair would be nice.
And "to take a hike" in New Zealand I would like to have a couple of sturdy shoes, that can take me across some mountains and national parks, and be comfortable to wear them for long hours in an airplane. My current shoes are either too heavy, or not up for the job of hiking up a mountain.
But then, why a Trangia set, you do already have a Coleman stove?! That's easy, I will not be able to let my Coleman stove pass customs, as it will have to be entirely empty and look like its new .. well, mine isn't. And I have thought about another lightweight solution, and that is a Trangia set with a cooking pan and one to bake, just large enough for two persons (plan for the future ;-) ). Trangias also burn quite clean, as they use spirits (or alcohol), instead of petrol.

One of the main reasons for me to go to New Zealand, besides the apparent reason that my sis used to work there (read some of my first posts), is the rugged outdoors that cannot be found in the Netherlands. As an aspiring photographer of outdoor activities I do like to take loads of photos and not have to worry about storage. Therefore I'll take a whole stack of about 40GB worth of Sandisk Ultra II and Extreme (III) CompactFlash cards with me, and a backup unit to create a copy/backup of the cards once full. Everything is stored in waterproof (submersible) bags or cases, such as the Gepe Card Safe Extreme memory card cases.
I am actually still in doubt whether to take a small SD camcorder (such as the Canon FS200) with me for those moments where still images just don't cut it. It would be a great learning opportunity to just let still images tell the story of my trip, and maybe have some sound recorder for sounds that I don't want to miss. Some food for thought ...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Almost no steps left

To break the good news directly, I graduated yesterday after a long time working on my final project and the dissertation. Presentation unfortunately didn't go quite as smoothly as I hoped, but in the end it turned out quite good anyway. So yeah, I now can add a Master of Science title to my name! After just over 8 years of studying with a mixed efforts towards my study, it finally came to a close yesterday.

The party afterwards was really great, lots of friends showed up, and a couple of good friends (partially (former) flatmates) had a short thing to say about me. This brought back a couple of hilarious, but also some somewhat embarrassing moments; the past 8 years wrapped in 10 minutes.
Sometime later the evening the canoeing club came with a present in small pieces, to make sure I can now bake an apple pie. For the number of goals I missed during canoepolo matches, I guess that I will be baking a pie almost every week for the coming months ;-).

It's a strange feeling though today, not having to think about a dissertation that should be finished or if I prepared a presentation good enough. I guess that when I actually move out of my room, that it will be even stranger and a harsh closing of a good time I had (and still have) here. All things must come to a close sometime, although you might wish it not to end...

What's next on the agenda? Getting on with work, and make good progress there, and take a couple weekends off to do some activities outdoors. Next weekend will be riding with a bunch of other recumbent riders for a camping weekend, and the weekend after that will be playing canoepolo in Leeuwarden. It was also decided to take a couple of days off between Christmas and Newyear for a paddling trip somewhere, preferable with a bit warm weather (south of France was mentioned :p). Will see, for now I'm going for a run, getting rid of some alcoholic toxins in my body and clearing my head.