Almost as quick as I dropped the news about my next Expedition, I received an email from a young Swedish bloke, who wrote that he for years have dreamt about crossing the Sahara desert from east to west. As you well can understand, a magnificent journey, which as far as I understand, has been done only once before, by a couple. A Brit namned Michael Asher and an Italian lady named Marianetta Peru. A magnificent feat. I bought this book years ago, about their trip, called Impossible Journey from 1988. For some unknown reason, I remember their personal quarrels more than anything else from the book about their journey. Maybe because I knew this very well from my own Expeditions with my ex, which were plagued by quarrels. I don´t have any memories of the way they felt or appreciated the desert. I will read it soon again, as part of my planning. And, after having read Wilfried Thesigers book, Arabian Sands, I have to say, it is a beautiful book, one of the best I have ever read, a book I will bring with me on the Expedition. It is a book about life itself. Then again, Thesiger is a legend, a true human being. No wonder.
Which, yet, doesn´t apply to Christian Bodegren from Vingåker in the south of Sweden. I met him here in Stockholm a couple of days ago, where he was contemplating life, a break from his work in construction in Norway. He inspired me a lot and told me many valuable things about camel travel. He had already done a small trip, a test Expedition, in Tunisia for a week and loved every bit of it. He doesn´t remember anything negative. He is definitely a true explorer in mind. He was also very laid-back, calm and probably got more worried after the meeting than before, me scaring him with my stories from my travels. I just like scaring other Explorers, I don´t know why…Anyway, I did once cross the Sahara, 1989, north to south, by push bike. I don´t remember anything bad either, except thirst and a terrible heat midday. But, I do remember the feeling of total peace, happiness and a great sense of freedom. That is one reason I want to return. It is part a spiritual journey, to find my ways again. I haven´t been in the great outdoor for over two years now. And the call to return has come, especially after meeting Bodegren, and conversing with some great Omanis by email, who I hope can become somebody to discuss camel issues with. Christian did say he found the handling of camels easier then horses, animals which I know quite well. And that made me even happier. After meeting Christian Bodegren, I took an immediate decision. I will leave any day on a trip together with Bedouins and camels.
Keep your eyes open for this test trip, which will tell me, whether I still have what it takes.