Friday, 29 January 2016

One gigantic list, slowly getting smaller!

This week has been spent in a contact state of motion.  We have lists coming out our ears of things to do so we've been steadily working through them before I head off to the Philippines on Monday, leaving poor ol Nick here to hold the fort!

We have lists of things to buy, things to organise for our fundraiser in Daejeon tomorrow, things to check on the bikes, things to ship home, things to sell, vaccinations to get, visas to organise, people to contact...and god knows what else.

Once I get back from the Philippines we'll have to go straight to the Chinese Embassy and apply for our visa.  With over 4000km to cover in China alone we want to get as long a visa as possible, preferably 90 days.  The embassy here is renowned for only issuing 30 day visas but another couple of cycle tourists, The Twisting Spokes, managed to secure themselves a three month visa so we're hopeful!

To apply, you have to have proof of entering and exiting the country (i.e. flight tickets), a detailed itinerary of where you intend on going, accommodation bookings for several of your destinations, as well as the usual application form and copies of your passport!  That's all grand except that we don't have flights, we plan on camping and therefore don't have accommodation booked and our route isn't one the Chinese authorities are mad about tourists taking!  So we've faked it.  All of it.  We have written out a detailed, but untrue, 85 day itinerary, we've booked accommodation along the way (that can be cancelled once we get the visa!) and we are looking into travel agents that will provisionally book us flights that can then be cancelled once the application has been completed!  All a bit of a rigmarole, but with the help of the Twisting Spokes - how they went about it, the itinerary they used etc - we're pretty hopeful that we'll get a 90 day visa.  Even a 60 day one would be grand because it's pretty easy to extend it once you're in the country.

The next hurdle then is figuring out how to ship home our road bikes.  After hours and hours of enquiring with various shipping and courier companies, it now looks like we can just take them to a normal post office and as long as the box they are in is less than 20kg it should be fine.  The girl Nick was talking to said it would cost ₩60,000 (about €45), which if it's true seems like a really good deal.  Now all we have to do is dissemble them, box them up and get them to the post office.

For now though, I'm off to wash, dry and de-tangle my hair one last time before it gets the chop tomorrow!  I have an envelope addressed and ready to go to a Cancer Charity here that I'll pop my pony tail into before the rest all gets buzzed off, turning me into a human tennis ball!  Photo's and hopefully a small snippet of video footage will be up here early next week.  I'm just glad I'll be on a beach somewhere and won't have to see them!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Only 5 days left with a full head of hair for Stef!

It's the start of the another week here in Korea now and it's also the last full week with all my hair! 

Nick, Christy and Stuart (two friends of ours here), are also going to be losing some hair, having volunteered to have their legs waxed for added banter!

We've got some great raffle prizes lined up for the night to so it's shaping up to be a fun-filled event! 

If you're in Korea please stick it in your diaries and bring as many friends as possible!! We hope to see as many of you there as possible but if not and you'd like to donate anyway here's the link:

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Donations have been rolling in this week, so a big thank you to everyone who has already donated.  We have over €1400 now and we're starting to feel very optimistic about reaching our €30,000 target! Also, a big thank you to all those who are doing what they can to spend the word, of our cycle and chosen charity, either via word of mouth or by sharing our event and blog via Facebook etc.

We've had a couple of great things happen this week.  The first was a promise of a very generous donation from The Irish Association of Korea.  They are a non-profit voluntary organisation that promotes Irish culture in Korea and we contacted them initially just to get some help with organising our fundraiser.  As well as pledging to donate money they are also helping us on a couple of other fronts which should result in some more media coverage in the coming weeks and months.  All very exciting!  Once we have some more concrete details we'll be sure to get it all up here but keep your eyes and ears peeled for any word of us at home in the papers or on the radio, you just never know!  We could be famous yet!

For the moment though, its all systems go on the last bit of organising here.  Still some last little things to buy, routes to ponder, the apartment to pack up, vaccinations to get, money to exchange, visas to get....and a head to shave!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Stef's Charity Head Shave

In order to raise more awareness of what we are doing and to get the ball rolling on donations, I've (it's Stef here!) decided to shave my head!

We're having a fundraiser here in Korea before we leave (we're now aiming to leave from our apartment on the 24th of February) and we thought it might draw a bit more of a crowd if we raffled off the right to shave my head on the night, so that's what we're doing!  Nick, and two other poor unfortunate friends of ours, have also said they'll allow someone to wax their legs for a laugh (and hopefully more money)!

We're having the event here in Daejeon on Saturday the 30th of January which means in 15 days time I'm going to look something similar to the above picture! I can't wait!

To donate, just follow the link by clicking here and donate as little or as much as you can.  And, just to remind you all again, all money raised is going straight to Headstong and we won't be using a penny of it to pay for our trip home.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Snowy Cycle to Work! Harden up damn it!

A slightly frostier cycle to work. Hardening up for the - hopefully unfounded - similar weather conditions prediction for around the time we leave.