Today I’ve had some interesting reactions to news of my trip.
“Are you set on France and Spain? New Zealand is much warmer this time of year.”
From an experienced bike tourist I asked for advice. He clearly has a bigger budget than I, but perhaps smaller horizons. Couldn’t countenance midwinter in a tent I call The Human Condom on account of its catherdral-like spaciousness. No, I am not flying halfway round he world to avoid exactly what I hope to experience.
“Are you sure that it’s sensible?”
This was my mam. Seems the unconditional support I’ve had from her all my life may be being stretched here. Used the stock responses, “Of course it’s not sensible, I wouldn’t be doing it if it was…” and “If not now, when?” But somehow it felt a little hollow. I must own up to the fact that this trip will be harder on others than it will be on me. Perhaps a telling reaction is the one I’ve not had: from my children. I’ve not explained to them yet what I’m doing, or for how long. To them I’m going on a bike trip. What’s new?
“If there’s anything you need, which I have, take it.”
I got this same response from two friends whom I value deeply.
So I must decide between my bodged, basic, budget gear, or the best I can borrow. And though I thought of little at the time, down sleeping bags, thermarests, drybags, GPS, and a proper (non-condomlike) tent with titanium pegs all sound like tempting items, generously offered from people I’d take with me if I could.
Finally, someone I love, who asks only that I wear one of these, inscribed with her name, who always knows just what I need, who makes me laugh every day and encourages me when I’m uncertain, sent me this: