It’s just over a month since I left the UK and started riding east, through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Dubai and across India. I’m over 10,000 kilometres into this journey and it’s certainly given me time to reflect on what I’ve let myself in for — and what I’ve left behind me.
Here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind on numerous occasions while on the road…
I’m missing my family terribly. I knew it would happen, but not as bad as this. It’s an overused cliche but there truly is no place like home and the people in it. They mean the world to me and being apart is painful, especially as I chose to go. I miss my dog, too.
Without the help of so many, I’d have never got this far. To those that have provided a bed, offered advice and assistance, helped with the bike, phoned their friends further down the road and just watched out for my safety, I can’t thank you enough.
I never realised just how privileged my life has been. And how I’ve taken that for granted. The places I’ve ridden through and the things I’ve seen have convinced me that life is a daily struggle for survival for so many people. I’ll never complain about trivial things again. At least for a week or two.
I can get by with very few possessions. I never thought that I could live out of just one bag, but it’s entirely possible, as long as you don’t mind washing your undies and socks out every couple of nights. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a lift with me though…
My budget isn’t going to last the whole trip. Things were going well, but shipping costs from Iran and air-freight costs from Dubai have seriously dented my finances. I’ll get as far as I can but might have to sell a few more stories to keep putting petrol in the tank.
I’ve not stopped worrying about what could happen. This annoys me because I am as ‘free’ as I’m ever likely to be, but time alone allows you to fret about all kinds of things, like strange engine noises, food poisoning, robbery, ransom and Dengue fever. I’m definitely not as brave as I thought I was.
Things can and do go wrong and you need to adapt. Like when I uncrated the bike in Delhi and discovered that the keys were still in Dubai. Shit happens and you just have to readjust your mindset accordingly and try to turn misfortune into opportunity.
My marathon training plan is in disarray. The problem is that there’s just nowhere to run. I managed a trot out in Bulgaria and Dubai but that’s all, and I’m starting to worry that I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew. There are no pavements/sidewalks/sports grounds here, with crazy traffic and huge crowds forming whenever I stop. There’s just no chance of putting on the trainers at all.
Blogging is fantastic. I’m enjoying writing immensely and it’s an amazing feeling to be connected to people all over the world already. I’ll never complain to my kids about overusing social media again — it’s perfect for a trip like this and everyone’s comments and encouragement have really kept me going.
If it ended tomorrow, I’d have no regrets. I’ve given it a go, and that’s good enough for me. In fact, I’m already thinking about another long trip, but this time walking or cycling. Cairo to Cape Town anyone?