Two Kids? Check. Fifty-eight Bags? Check. One Bike? Check.


How the hell is this bike going to fit in that box?!? Do we have $30 on hand to pay for visas when we get to Kigali? Can someone write down how the Wii connects to the big screen again? Sure, bring an extra roll of paper towels and more tin foil, too — can’t hurt. Bug spray? Triple-A batteries. I thought you were getting those? You did tell the bank that the Rwandan money changers will absolutely only take new, flawless $100 bills, right? Where are we leaving the key for the car? And where’s the other cell phone charger?

… And now it’s all done. It’s over. Whatever we didn’t bring, we’ll either get there (dear Google, what’s the Kinyarwanda for “I need a 4mm allen wrench, please”) or do without.

As we stood waiting for the Dartmouth Coach a little before noon, we looked more like a recently evicted family than an intrepid bunch of explorers. All the same, we’re off to explore; we’ll find out what we as a family can or can’t manage under strange and challenging circumstances — by that token alone, we’ll come back infinitely wiser. If the kids also speak half decent French by then and have an appreciation of the world as it exists outside the fairy tale land of Norwich, then all the better for them and for us. It’ll be good. 

Huge thanks to all the amazing people who got us over the hump of preparation and pre-departure jitters — the encouragements, the offers of help, the tactfully hidden eye rolls… all greatly appreciated.

Getting on the coach is of course just the beginning of what’s to come, but in and of itself this is a significant milestone: we got ourselves organized (ha!) and out the door — on time — and can rest fairly assured that Turnpike Road will work out for various tenants, fish & plants in our absence. In spite of the occasional setback (no, Lucas, the Xbox isn’t coming to Rwanda with us), the kids are both more-or-less on board with the plan. 

Next stop Logan Airport, where we’ll check our caravan’s worth of granola bars, horse posters, doodle pads, flip flops and other of life’s essentials. Then, our dear & beloved friends from the TSA will do their level best to undo the rather amazing job I did of boxing up my bike. If I’m really lucky, they’ll seal the whole thing back up when they’ve convinced themselves that it’s really just a bike, not a bomb with disk brakes. That’d be neat, because then the bike might arrive in Kigali in one piece. 

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