“I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.”
As I stretched out over the 4 seats in the center row of the Emirates 777 to Dubai I found myself reflecting on the last couple of weeks in Kenya.
I felt content that I’d pushed on the last couple of months despite my heart no longer being in the trip. I’d been able to finish on a high, once again loving the challenges and beauty Africa has to offer, leaving Africa happy rather than the inevitable bitter aftertaste I would have had if I’d quit in Dar es Salam.
The last two weeks in Kenya I’d cycled many almost impassable roads thanks to the rainy season and the poor condition of the dirt roads, so my last memories cycling in Africa are of me covered from head to toe in mud and sand and happy as a pig in shit.
I spent my last night camping in Africa alone at a deserted campsite in Hells gate national park. I spent the evening and sunrise overlooking the plain below and watching the Buffalo, Giraffes, Zebras and Warthogs grazing undisturbed by people and cars. What a way to finish a trip!
The following morning I took a lift to Nairobi, I saw no reason to spoil my memories with a day of cycling the road to hell or getting squashed.
Walking through the front door of a house I left a year ago planning never to return was a little weird. By the time I was in the living room it felt as if I’d just left a week ago. It was nice after a year to walk into a place and recognize things, things that I’d bought years previously, furniture, my favorite painting on the wall. I felt like I was home.
The next morning I found myself hunting for my stove, planning to head into the garden to cook up some water for a cup of tea. “Shit I don’t have any fuel.” Then I remembered there is a kettle in the kitchen, time to learn to live the “civilized” life again.
The first week went by in a blur, enjoying the luxuries of home, wasting gallons of drink water under the steaming hot power shower, enjoying the cool damp autumn air, walks in the woods and catching up with friends. Mr Hyde also enjoyed being pampered in a workshop with proper tools rather than at the roadside or in a field. Good food and an overdose of good coffee gave me lots of energy and my sickness and tiredness of the last months felt like a distant memory.
For almost the first 10 days my mind felt less fit than my body. It felt empty and numb almost as if I was sedated. It was unexplainable and almost scary especially in combination with all the flashbacks but I just accepted it as part of the process. This is now happily also a distant memory and I’m now feeling rested and able to start looking forward again. The regular flashbacks of the last months are now almost non existent so I guess my mind is finally catching up and getting its filing system sorted out.
Setting realistic targets and making plans for 2013
We’re now in a season where people make ridiculous New Year resolutions which they never keep because they are unrealistic or impractical or they just don’t believe in them. I’ve never really understood this New Year circus, if you want to stop smoking/drinking/eating or get fit why not start today? Instead of the first of January when you wake up with a hangover.
On that note I’ve started jogging a couple of days a week and plan to have a crack at a half marathon next year. How hard can it be? Its like walking 21km but then slightly faster?
If the last year has taught me anything its that there’s no point in me planning too far ahead. So for now I’m working on a 12 month plan to get work in spring after my cycling in Lapland trip. Hopefully I’ll get work for about 6-8 months then make a plan for what I want to do next winter, at the moment that part of my crystal ball is very foggy, I have some ideas but have no idea what I really want to do so far from now.
I’ll be taking 2013 very much on a one step at a time basis. The first step being waking up in my tent somewhere in Northumberland on New years day, then catching up with friends and family in the UK. Then cycling for three weeks in the cold with fellow crazy cyclist Helen Lloyd. (see wintercycletouring.com for my Lapland trip reports) Everything after that is foggy but it will be very much an earning more freedom credits thing for the summer…
This is my last blog post for Shane Cycles Africa. Thank you for sharing my journey, now go out and have your own adventure, this Truman show is finished!!