As 2016 rapidly approaches, we begin to reflect on how we’ve spent the year previously. Has our allotted time been spent well? How can we best spend the next year?
It is just one and a half years since I graduated, in which time I have been chasing, and living my dreams to the fullest, wherever they lead me… from summer camps and horse ranches in America, to kayaking trips and of course, cycling halfway around the world. I have been exactly where I’ve wanted to be and can have no regrets.
People often talk about how fast the year has whizzed by, with a certain saddened disbelief it is over already. For me however, this year feels long; it was a lifetime ago since I partied 2015 into the year, ‘Tignes-style’, among the snowy peaks of the French Alps, and it is with a heady excitement that I realise how much has been squeezed in since then.
My ambitious cycling trip, which I had been told many times would result in certain failure, and probably death, was successful, and more eye-opening, fulfilling, and enjoyable than even I had expected.
In short the year has been perfect…
… Well, very nearly perfect.
I had expected that around about this time, I would be entering the rugged wilderness of Western China, refuelled by the beauty and experiences of the Central Asian Steppe and Pamir Mountains. I would continue to live a simple existence on the bike, still enthusiastic about the road ahead, having kept my childish curiosity and wonderment for the places I passed through.
Instead I find myself back at home, in the same old bed, like nothing has changed. I’m working full-time in a bar pulling pints and waiting tables, with little time for the adventure and excitement I have come to expect (need). (Previously money has been the only obstacle to overcome, it suddenly feels very bizarre having the money but lacking the time.)
I think back to my chance encounter in Bosnia with Sebastien and Barbara, which led to my return home. These two German cyclists undertaking the same route as I, in reverse overflowed breathlessly, as we camped together, with tales of their journey, and of my road ahead, but warned me that I would miss out on much by going on in winter, where the high passes become impassable. They planted the seed for me to come home, one of the most difficult decisions I have made, one I wrestled with for the ensuing months, and continue to do so.
But, I know it was the right decision. While I enjoy my job, particularly meeting so many people, it has been powerfully reaffirming; this is not the life for me. I am dreaming bigger than ever. Far flung places and different adventures beckon. This is still only just the beginning.
I have many people to thank for the past year, literally numbering into the thousands. Among them, I am super grateful for the support of all you guys, reading, commenting and sharing here. A BIG Thank You, and a Happy New Year! Here's to the next one!
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