Just two weeks today and I fly back to Tbilisi, pick up my bike, and begin cycling around the world again. But, I’ve got a little (big) surprise…
I’m not going alone!
I am going to be joined indefinitely by my adventurous university friend, ‘Big Sus’, who has the requisite adventurous attitude, level of craziness, and willingness to camp in pretty grim places to make this trip awesome.
Travelling with someone else is a real game-changer, an exciting, but also incredibly daunting prospect.
This bike trip has been my baby. It is my dream I have harboured for 3 years. I have invested countless time and energy towards it, and I have saved money tirelessly and made many sacrifices for it. I have loved it more than anyone else can. And now I am sharing it with someone else. No longer is it just mine; my freedom is reduced, my powers of compromise and patience tested. There will be times Sus will want to splurge money on a hotel room while I would rather wild camp. There will be times where we disagree on which route, and it ends up not going my way. Where before I could be as selfish as I like, now there is someone else I must consider if it is to be a harmonious adventure for both of us.
Sus came along for the first section of the adventure to Dover.
More positively, it is exhilarating to have someone to share the trip with. There were times I marvelled at something, be it a sunset, a building, a star-studded sky, and felt utterly privileged to be the only person there to witness it, but there were also times I desperately wanted to share that moment with someone. When I was lonely and finding motivation difficult to come by the ability to laugh with a friend, or discuss what we’re both experiencing would have provided intoxicating relief, particularly as someone else brings a fresh perspective to see through and learn from.
Cycling across Europe I was lucky to connect with many people and receive inspiring levels of hospitality, something I hope remains unaffected when cycling with someone else. Regardless, travelling in a group you benefit from each other’s strengths; Sus, being friendly, funny and probably slightly better at meeting new people than me, will hopefully lead to more frequent, and deeper interactions. Also, Sus is female, 6 foot tall, and blonde, which will be sure to rouse people’s curiosity and make us stand out even more than I already did last time!
Looking back, some of the highlights of my journey so far were the moments I shared with other people. I loved cycling with Russell in France, and the week Yusuf, a stranger, spontaneously decided to join me cycling in Turkey. I treasured being adopted into the family, getting invited for roadside watermelons, and couchsurfing. People are the journey – and hopefully that proves true with Sus also.
And, if nothing else, she can help carry some of the stuff!
Just two weeks to go. I hope you're coming along for the journey!