Pinched by the credit crunch, with unemployment rising and in the midst of a global economic crisis, 2009 doesn't look like a great time to go travelling. But the idea of sitting at home scrimping, saving and worrying about what we'll do if we lose our jobs isn't going to make things better. And since we haven't got jobs anyway (at least that's how it feels when you're self employed) we figure we spend enough time each year worrying about that anyway. We know we can live about as cheaply on the road as at home and figure we'll have more fun getting away and trying to stimulate the economy than sitting at home sulking about it.
So ,come summer 2009 we're going to do our own version of The Italian Job. The mission is simple: – to Italy by bike. We'll start in Dover, cross the channel and head south through France until we reach the Alps. For historical interest we'll follow the Via Francigena, a less well know pilgrims route that heads from Canterbury to Rome via the Grand St Bernard's pass. But at 2469m we don't know if we'll get to the top of that, let alone to Rome. But who can be sure of anything these days?
With no fixed end in mind, we're going to let the kids set the pace. They say we’ve got to get up and over the Alps for they won't be satisfied until they've had ice cream in Italy. And if we get up and over then the plan is to keep going until we're sick of pizza, pasta and pannini (or we've run out of money). We don't know how, when or where it will end... will it be with tagliatelli in Turin, macaroni in Milan, penne in Pisa or ravioli in Rome? Who knows and who cares? For 2009, Family on a Bike will be powered by pasta, out and about in Europe, finding out how our neighbours are coping with the current crisis, making things better by spending a little of our hard earned dosh and seeing whether a month of family adventuring can make us feel better.
We've got six weeks, Rome is 2000km away and the crashing pound means everything will be expensive. Sounds great eh? Well better to look on the bright side :-).