In South Africa…

And then all went really quick…
Setting up a Polarexpedition, and all that’s involved in doing so, logistics, paper business, setting up and preparing the books (2nd) and lectures, fundraising, organizationalbladibladibla, it all is a lot of work. But it inspires me. Making new contacts, getting to know different people experiencing the passion they have for their jobs. Doing things I?d never imagined I?d be doing. Learning lot?s, also about stress management in trying to realize the seemingly impossible?. It?s so possible!
My Polar guide Matty mc Nair put it in a striking way recently: ?When your pioneering, the way you are doing right now, trying to do something for the first time it?ll cost you more effort than if you?d be following a paved road. You seem to face more problems, but they?re part of everyday life when walking off the beaten track. Enjoy it. It?s fun!
There were issues with the tractor?s ?temporary residence permit?, the substitution. I did what I could by telephone and email but then heard what was decided, through the ADAC in Germany that normally (very normally) arrange these matters for you, that the tractor won?t get the substitution to be allowed to stay in South Africa. Because the people of SARS (the South African authorities) simply can?t believe my tractor?s really going to the South Pole. They think I?m trying to make commercial use of it, am trying to sell it? (n-n-n-nnnever!!!)
I understand the dilemma, really. Come on, a tractor travelling to the South Pole, helooo-ooo that?s not possible, surely?!?
It is possible. But the emails remained unanswered. When phoning I didn?t get past the receptionists, who were really friendly by the way: ?On a tractor to the South Pole, that?s such a great story! Tell me more. Iesh, amazing!? The official person I spoke to afterwards only wanted contact via email.
A few weeks time to solve the problem. When my permit expires I?ll be in big trouble.
A few weeks time. Driving the tractor to Namibia will take me a minimum of 2 weeks, and it will remain a temporary solution.
?Ship the damn thing back to Holland?, my mother said. After four years spend to get it there? After driving 38.000km?s bring it back to the Netherlands, just before it?s departure point to the last leg of the journey, that?s shouldn?t happen surely?! ?and now I?m not even talking about the financial aspect of doing such a thing.
If I could just speak to the South-African authorities, go by the offices. The people of ADAC say: you have to go, there?s nothing more that we can do for you.
Go. Show people in person what I?m doing. Show the big articles in magazines, the photo?s of the deputy major of Cape Town on the tractor when arriving on the Cape of Good Hope, show the DVD with SA TV features? Do it! Show that this tractor is going to the South Pole!
Time?s short. I don?t want to think about what happens if this problem isn?t solved! Two days later I jump aboard a plane. I was supposed to come to South-Africa for a few weeks around the end of October because there are many things to arrange, with my belongings, the tractor company that?s ready to modify the tractor, open film contacts etc, fetching my dog. All that needs to happen now, in the few weeks before giving my lectures in the Netherlands.
Running, finding a home for the kittens I?ve found in Amsterdam. Flying (well, in a car;) to Arnhem, to, how very sweet, get the keys to the house in Kommetjie of Jan en Corrie! Then running to the vet with one of the kittens and then, hop, aboard a plane. Surreal.
I?m scared of flying. But 20.000km in 9 hours, my heart bursts open: that worlds so far apart can be so close!
I awake in the arms of Biba!

A day later I?m discussing matters with the people of the tractorcompany in Cape Town!

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