Six years years ago this is where most of my memory from my past starts twenty minutes or so before…….. I 8 a Jeep!
Thankful that every morning when I swing my legs out of bed I have a choice. Choosing to be the best that I can be. I just arrived back in Cape Town a few days before, after participating in a cycling adventure cycling from Beitbridge , the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe and thirteen days later my companion and I completed the life enriching experience at Camps Bay beach. My story is not about cycling however cycling caused me to have a story and I am fortunate enough to be able to tell you about my journey. God works in mysterious ways and little did I know what he had installed for me just around one of my next corners. God was preparing me for the next chapter of my life, taking me on this life changing road trip. I had the suntan of my life, I was healthy, lean, strong and fit as a fiddle. Happily married with two wonderful sons that both nearly completed their schooling. My career was going good and I owned equity in a great business of which my share was nearly paid for in full. This is exactly the point where God intervened in my life!
One morning early myself and a friend went on a training ride around the Durbanville Hills as we fondly speak of our home town. There are beautiful rolling hills surrounding Durbanville. Cresting the hills towards the West we have the most beautiful views on the ocean, Robben Island and Table Mountain to the South West. One of the seven wonders of the world keeping watch over Cape Town, one of the best cities in the world. As we turned eastward we saw the sun rising over the Du Toit's Kloof mountains. It was a Friday morning and what a start to the weekend. Cool fresh air sucked into my hungry lungs and the gentle warm sunbeams on my face. I did not ask for life to get any better as I was content. Sweat was making pearls on my forehead and started trickling down my temples. We were training and enjoying our early morning ride. My riding buddy and I decided to turn off Klipheuwel road, the main road in and out of Durbanville towards the North Eastern side of town. The traffic was getting busy and we preferred to ride on the gravel roads.
Six years later this is where most of my memory from my past starts twenty minutes or so before…….. I 8 a Jeep!
I remember most of my life partially from twenty minutes before when Wayne and myself decided to turn off from the busy Klipheuwel road onto the Spes Bona gravel road. Gravel travel is supposed to be much safer than cycling on the road, this morning there was another story to be told. As we cycled up a little short, sharp biter of a hill turning to the left the driver of a Jeep Cherokee lost control of his vehicle, oversteered and headed straight to Wayne and myself. Wayne jumped off his bike, just in time and fell hard onto the gravel road. I went down as the vehicle hit me and fell down and under between the two front wheels and came out with the two bicycles that were in pieces, out between the two back wheels. Judging from the marks on my body the jagged wire fence ripped me out from under the Jeep that came to a standstill 50 meters further into a farmers field. Wayne told me that I looked like a rag flying through the air coming out from under the Jeep after being dragged for some metres. My cycling helmet was cracked open like an egg at the top of my head. To this day I do not know how my body contorted to actually make the journey it did that morning, without losing chunks of flesh and or body parts being severed. I have been living intentionally thankful and intentionally aware of my fortune of being alive!
I had various lacerations and bruises, my head, face, hands, wrists, forearms, back, thighs, groin, privates and legs on various places. I had broken and displaced bones, in my hands and wrists, right foot, pelvis, compression fractured vertebrae, coccyx, left hip joint, broken ribs, shattered left arm, wrist and shoulder. My liver had a tear, a rib bone punctured my right lung, my right kidney burst open which was the cause that I bled out internally and flatlined three times, thankfully I was resuscitated every time. I sustained a brain injury due to oxygen depravation while I was being resuscitated. My verbal memory and cognitive functions was permanently damaged. My main ophthalmic nerve was stretched due to the massive impact on my head and I could not see properly for the first two years of my rehab. This also caused balance challenges when walking on uneven terrain. I had a massive concussion and was left comatose for days after. I can not stand flashing lights and to this day it feels like I will faint, vomit and fall down if I have to look at flashing lights for a prolonged time.
Doctor Neil van Tonder just arrived shortly after I bled out internally and died the first time, he resuscitated me, saving my life.
I am blessed to have recovered to the point where I can become economically active again. A Massive silver lining. Unfortunately I have used all my savings and the money that I realised after selling my share in my business. As I was getting involved in a restaurant project, Covid-19 hit and I have not been able to earn an income since March 2020 as the restaurant project never started and was mothballed due to the pandemic. We have sold our second car and currently share a vehicle between the four of us.
I have been working hard on my book I8aJeep and I am in the process of receiving coaching and guidance on the way forward, commissioning an editor to assist me with publishing my story. I hope to enrich many lives with this journey and become a silver lining for whoever might need one along their way on a cloudy day. I aim to do motivational speaking, especially aimed at children and motivating them with their daily challenges and teaching them methods to overcome these.
Meeting my saviour along the way and becoming a reborn Christian during My Journey has been and is a MASSIVE silver lining and realising that Christianity is not a crutch, it is a lifestyle has brought endless sunshine, energy and joy back into my life. May I live with gratitude and bring some sunshine into other peoples lives too.
Being married for 26 years and looking back at the hardest work that both Lynn and myself ever had to do, there has been many highs and lows over the years. My rehabilitation was a long and stop start process during the last six years. It is during these times when you are or become challenged that team members real colours come to the fore. Real commitment, hardiness, tenacity and love, real love, it is during these challenges of partnerships that you realise what companionship, back-up and commitment you have in your partner. I certainly have not fallen out of love, to the contrary I only now realised how loved I am, and have learnt a fundamental love lesson after 26 years of marriage. What a silver lining that it did not take any longer.
The birth of GRAVETRAVEL-BIKEPACKING and the request for funding is to set up this business in Matjiesfontein in the Karoo and to purchase a vehicle to be able to run this cycle touring business as a family and to secure an income and our future.