Cycling across Australia – Am I mental?
The wet season in Darwin is drawing to a close. Wet season is HOT and HUMID with massive thunder storms on an almost daily basis. Once May arrives, Darwin enters the dry season. Temperatures will drop slightly and the rain will almost disappear. I am (patiently?!) waiting for May to arrive before embarking on ‘Stephanie’s Donkey’ – my wife’s trusty bicycle, and heading off across the Australian outback for a 4,500 – 5,000km journey to Coff’s Harbour on the east coast. Stephanie’s Donkey and I have ridden close to 3,500 km together, through New Zealand, Scotland, England, Switzerland and France. We are well acquainted. But this will be our longest and most testing journey yet.
My mood has been swinging wildly since I have been back in normal life for the past few weeks. The row from Singapore to Darwin has now drifted far away into the list of ‘past experiences’ in my mind. The emotions experienced on the first stage of the journey are fading at a frightful speed and looking back – it has started to feel as if I am an observer on someone else’s experience.
I compare my adventure life to eating. I can eat a delicious meal for dinner. After dinner I feel full and satisfied with the experience. I go to sleep but wake in the morning to feel hungry again. I must eat. If I do not, I will become weak and eventually die. One delicious meal will not sustain me for a lifetime just as one great adventure will not sustain my spirit for a lifetime.
I can’t wait to get on ‘Stephanie’s Donkey’ and head out alone into the Australian outback. To spend long, hot days riding across the entire Australian continent. The massive distance I plan to cover is equal to riding across the whole of Europe or from the west coast of the USA to the east coast. I can’t wait to fall sleep in the open, under a sea of stars exhausted from hours in the saddle. I can’t wait to spend time by myself, a solitary existence, to concern myself with no one else’s needs apart from my own, to ride, to dream, to miss my precious family and realise even more deeply just what they mean to me, and to plan more unique adventures in far away places. The journey can never end. Without it my spirit is done.