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Delhi – The end

June 10, 2012
by

So here it is, the final post in this tale of cycling adventure.

Trying to write about the emotions I felt over those last few days while sitting here in my living room will not do it justice, so I will instead copy out what I wrote in my journal on my flight home from Delhi.

Thank you to all who have read and followed the blog – it has been a truly rewarding experience to write it, and I hope its been enjoyable to read.

xxx

This is the end, my only friend, the end
1st Septmber 2011, Delhi

So, here it is, my final entry. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I knew it would be on the plane (which it is) but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. I’m actually a little drunk, so that’s probably having an effect. Not to the counter though – I’m so excited about what’s to come. I’ve lost all bad feeling about what I’m leaving behind. Not that I’m sad about leaving – I’m excited by the prospect that ‘life goes on’.

I look out of the window – we’re above Uzbekistan now – and I look at the scale of the earth and I try to tell myself ‘you cycled all this’ and I feel nothing. Not pride, not awe, not a thing. I don’t know why really. Am I numb to it? Sometimes I think I must be missing some kind of emotion inside – devoid of some kind of deep seated emotion that makes me feel like this is a once in a lifetime experience. Why do I feel nothing for what I’ve done? Maybe its the nature of doing – it becomes you. So to step out and think ‘holy fuck’ is not like you would think. The world is still the world. Tesco’s never left. People still die. Nothing you did has changed anything. Maybe nothing ever changes. Maybe I never change.

I can begin to relate to that feeling they say you get when nothing excites you anymore. You’ve seen a lot, so less and less is inspiring – like Christmas when you grow up. Maybe this journey has exposed me to so much that the ‘old life’ I had before this journey now has it’s place. You grow and grow through your experiences, and are able to look back on them all with a sense of clarity and a sense of how you’ve grown. The more you are exposed to the more you understand, and lose nothing.

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe I’ll walk off the plane and it will all hit me and I’ll be knocked sideways with shock. (part of me hopes for this – I know it won’t happen). All I do know now is, I did this, this is my life. I have seen some of the world, as my day to day life. I have lived like this and it has felt as normal as going to work in the morning. I feel more comfortable in the world as a result. Delhi was quite shit, as a place and as an end to the adventure, but I didn’t expect anything less, and in that sense its nature of just being as it always is and will be is the perfect way for me to end my adventure – the dream of a creshendo or some idyllic high is not the real life of the road that has made it the adventure that it was.

For all the darker characteristics of Indian culture that Delhi exhibited – deceit, discourtesy, distrust – I did enjoy it. Lots of beer and curry, and some souvenirs ( a table drum to be precise! ) kept me pre-occupied. That and packing up my bike and organising my stuff and thinking about how my beard will be received back at home. Before I knew it I was at the airport, receiving my exit stamp and sitting in an air conditioned departure lounge in a dirty tshirt and flip flops, wondering where my bike is and what just happened.

(written after a little snooze and a little sobering up)

I guess its not that I’m dead inside at all. What it is, really, is the nature of slow travel. It becomes so normal, the day to day life of moving on the road, that there’s no shock to the system anymore. Nothing to make you sit up in that instant and go ‘wow, what a ride!!’ That’s the beauty and the curse. The beauty is the normality of it all and truly living as if you are a man in the world. The curse is you never can take a step out to look at it all. It’s so big, but you only see a tiny part of it at a time. you adjust, and you carry on. I’m about to enter into a new normality – that’s when the real shock will strike. I will have to readjust to not moving and focus on a few things for a prolonged perioid, as opposed to seeing many things fly by every day. That’s the real test. Staying put in the real world is harder than cycling around it.

So, in summary:

This journey has been an eye opening experience beyond anything I could have anticipated before I set off. The hard times (and there were many of them) were the most valuable of all the experiences. I overcame challenges concerning fitness, emotions, motivation, developing my strengths and facing my weaknesses, while understanding a little more of the complex makeup of the world.

The most valuable aspect of this trip has been to do with my relationship with Julian. The hard times that we endured together, and understanding what it takes to live in such proximity to someone for such a prolonged period, has been my greatest realisation. When you share everything you see with only one person every single day, you cant help but create acute abrasion. The hard days together were some of the toughest days of the road, and being in a position where you have to deal with them then and there leads you to understand a little more the emotional balance of friendship. Sharing this with him, and learning what it is made from, is something that I truly thank him for.

I also thank the difficulty of each climb, for making me more determined to overcome it. I thank the warmth of all the people we met, to show me how to be unconditionally supportive and welcoming to any person. I thank the unconditional support of my family and friends, without whom I would have flown home from Germany.

I love my bike. I cherish the freedom it brings and the opportunity it provides to be a disarmed ambler of the world. I will be back on it one day for sure.

As my new friend sitting next to me on the plane says, the most important thing is to live on based on what you’ve learned from your experiences in life, not to forget them and keep them with you, living a life of richness and of balance. This is what Mathias always said, and this is what I will strive to do. Work hard, stay healthy, and most of all anything is possible if you really want it.

Thank you bike, thank you world.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Charlie permalink
    June 13, 2012 6:21 am

    Well, yes, it was plainly quite a ride in the broadest sense. I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff as you’ve travelled, identified quite well with the frustrations and the sometimes astonishing breaks that you get when you travel alone, pushing the boundaries. There’ll always be some part of you that is that young man on the bike, a long way from home. Don’t forget to bring him out on those occasions when career or whatever seems so, so important … let him have a laugh and let him remind you of a few things. Thanks for keeping the blog, especially for those of us who are now a bit beyond youthful adventure.

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