I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could have written the day before my departure.
Many things may be said anD even more thoughts are spinning in my head. Everything seems uncertain today.
So I thought maybe it would have been better to start with someone else’s words:
“I went to South America mainly to meet people, explore places and see plants and wild animals away from my experience and from what I knew. Having grown up in the fertile rolling fields and the wooded hills of Sussex, I yearned to the heights of the mighty Andes and their thin air, the vast empty plains of Patagonia, the snowy wilderness and dense forests of Tierra del Fuego, to the arid dunes of the Atacama desert. I wanted to see the Iguazu waterfalls, the volcano El Misti and the Inca heritage in Cuzco and Machu Picchu. I looked for the magic of Lake Titicaca and I wanted to hear the roar of the extraordinary Perito Moreno. To know and understand the people who lived in those places, to explore all the lands between one and the other locations was my biggest wish; I wanted to learn from the inhabitants, who spoke unknown languages and whose customs were completely foreign to me, and to have the opportunity to see firsthand the flora and fauna of that continent.
I craved the freedom of escaping the quiet, orderly safety of mild rural England and concretely take responsibility for my choices. I wanted to find myself the “road less taken” and see where it led, to face some life challenges without a net. If there are cows in the fields, hens in the barn, and dinner on the table, where are challenge and excitement?
For a while I wanted to travel improvising, with no amenities, and find out what fate had set aside for me.”
(Tom Michell – “The Penguin Lessons”)
My situation, basically, is not much different.
I did not choose South America to find out what fate set aside for me, but the feelings are very similar.
I have in mind – someone knows it – a travel itinerary that will take me to some European countries (visiting some friends), to enter Russia (getting on the Trans-Siberian railway), and hopefully ending up several months in Southeast Asia. The whole thing could last about a year, but much depends on my determination, on how I’ll be able to manage difficulties and much more.
It will be a new “gap period”, around an unknown part of the world and still riding a folding bicycle.
Pedaling and taking transport if necessary (knowing myself, I will take a lot).
Improvising, as always.
Someone is afraid this will be, again, another escape.
But well, it is not.
My last-year-adventure in Greece, I don’t deny it, was a kind of escape. An escape from a past that had given me so much – perhaps everything – but unfortunately, for various reasons, didn’t fit me anymore.
I tried in that way to shake it off, resetting myself in the middle of the Aegean Sea so to be able to start again with renewed energy.
Not much of a plan, I know, but that escape – at the end – allowed me to meet unexpected new sides of me.
As if during those 64 days I decided to get up from my sofa, a comfortable and at the same time a stale one, and I unlocked a window toward a new room, from which started to blow slightly a different air.
Air that turned – day after day – into an increasingly fierce wind, impossible to fight.
The wind coming from a new place, which now I need to go to see and discover.
At 32 it is what I feel I want to do, or have to do, challenging myself in different ways.
Indeed I’m not able to plan my future, especially if I don’t try to live my present as I really want to and not as my reason tells me I should do.
I realized, finally, that many people – including friends, relatives or those who have been following my “Travel Diary” in Greece – await this new adventure with great expectations.
Perhaps more than those ones I have myself.
And so I know now that what I intend to do is not only for myself, but also for everybody who “wishes he could”, but for many reasons “can not”.
All of this, I know, will give me strength and that special push I’ll need to keep going (please remind me these words if you grasp a bit of uncertainty in what I will post in the future), and this is why I’m bringing back BiCicladi at full capacity.
So, once again, which are the feelings of the day before?
Excitement, expectations, thrill, anxiety, worry, fear.
I didn’t organize a lot. I feel prepared, but I do not have any printed maps, hotels waiting for me nor pre-arranged visas. I do not know the roads, the distances, the places I’ll visit, the difficulties I’ll meet and all the unexpected events I’ll have to face. I will not earn a penny for I don’t know how long and I’ll constantly have to pay attention to the things I’ll carry with me – the only ones I need – learning how to rule my emotions and my weaknesses.
All this, actually, creates also some kind of fear.
But nothing compared to that one I would live, in 10 years, if I don’t try it.
Future is not in 10 years, after all.
It starts now.