Before the trip
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The day before my trip, I couldn´t sleep. Thoughts were going through my mind constantly. What if this happens, what if that happens, should I go, or stay safely at home. I have obligations, responsibilities, and is this seriously what I want to do ?
I´d had four attempts to pass Driver´s Licence Type B (For Motorcycles), and each time I was sent back home with the message that I´m not able to ride a motorcycle. I had this annoying "L" behind my motorcycle for four long years. I knew every corner of Switzerland, I rode through every valley, every pass, the mountains, each and every part of Switzerland. I went with the naive assumption that things will go smoothly, however it was mostly frustration, disappointment, and, at some points, even shame. It was supposed to be easy, but it was anything but. I think my determination was the real motivator. In Zurich, 40% of the people who attempt to pass the B Driver´s Licence, fail. I am a non-German speaking Foreigner, a Woman, a Harley rider. Everything which could prevent me from passing the exam.This is what I had heard from others. I received a lot of advice during that time: change the Examination Center, Change the Motorcycle, although, fortunately, no one suggested change my Gender.
In April 2016, I decided to do a longer trip. Without a full License, I couldn't go outside the country, and therefore I planned the entire trip within Switzerland. I didn´t have much of a desire to do yet another trip within the same country, but just the determination that I needed to get out of my home for some time. The trip was supposed to start in July, and I decided to try one last time in June, just a month before the trip.
I arrived at the Examination Center early in the morning hours. We were four, three men and me, plus two experts, who's final judgment would define the ability to ride a Motorcycle. All the men had motorcycles with engines at least two times smaller than mine. I decided that I won´t think much about it. I just made a mental note of the difference, and prepared myself, that possibly, just in a few minutes, I will be sent home with no License, yet again. Surprisingly, even when the two men were sent home, I was still there. I could not believe it. I was scared I would lose focus, and at this point, when I was so close.
I was informed that I had passed the first part, and now it was time to do the second part.
I looked up at the sky, which was slowly getting blacker from the approaching Nimbostratus. "Great!" I thought, nothing could be easier than riding in heavy rain. My exam took over an one hour. The rain was so heavy that I had to stop twice to clean the helmet shield. At the end of my exam, I just had one thought. If I fail, I will be really pissed off.
I was the only one who passed.
It took me a minute to change my travel plans. In the evening, I sat on my sofa and looked at the map. And I got it. I had always wanted to go to Sicily. It's far and warm. And since I knew that I will travel alone, I did not make a precise plan.
The initial idea was that I would enter Italy through Engadin, the southeastern-most part of the Swiss Alps. I had never crossed the border, so it was a perfect time to go via the Stelvio Pass. However, I was very disappointed when I learnt that Eastern Alps still were covered with snow, and the pass was closed. I thought the entire day. I had two options, change the direction and go over the Western part of the mountains, or postpone the Trip. The second choice was not an option for me. I quickly looked up a place to stay the night. I decided - I would stay in Passy, a town 360 kilometers from my home and 23 km from Chamonix - the Touristic city at the foot of the Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.