Sunday, 25 September 2011

Bridging The Gap

Sitting at the Service Station coffee shop this morning near my home with cappuccino in hand, chatting to a friend of mine and taking in the aroma of coffee, bacon and eggs and fresh toast being served, listening to the hustle and bustle of the other ‘breakfast goers’… I got served a plate of realization.

I realized that from an outsider’s point of view it might seem that there’s this big gap. One moment my bike and gear is taken from me in Angola, the next I’m back home and hopping on a motorbike. I feel that maybe I haven’t addressed the ‘in-between’ bit as well as I could have.

There’s one main question I got asked this morning that I would like to address now: ‘Why the change from motorcycle to motorbike?’

This was a big decision for me, but one that came surprisingly easily. Almost like it was the natural choice. For the longest time, my focus lied with CYCLING around Africa. Because it seemed more challenging, somehow I convinced myself that I needed to do something extreme to earn people’s support. Almost like, if I did it in any other way, it would make me less ‘worthy’.

In the moment that my Luna was taken from me, the idea of going around Africa on a motorbike slipped into my head. Unexpectedly. I was completely at ease with it. I knew then that my journey had taken a turn.

And there, standing next to the road with my Camelbak, one front pannier bag and my handlebar bag hanging over my shoulder… watching Luna disappear around the bend… another realization hit me. (Realizations are wonderful little things. It just sometimes feels like they hit me at an abnormally frequent rate!) It was never about ‘doing it on a bicycle’ as such. It’s about the actual journey. No matter how I tackle it, making it around Africa will be a feat in itself. It just took me about 4 years, 11 000 kilometers and cycling all the way to Northern Angola to make peace with it.

And so I have.

Most of the feedback that I have received upon breaking the news has been positive. I am sure that my hardcore cycling friends must be a little disappointed. Yes, I won’t be doing it on a bicycle. (Not this time round anyway.) I don’t consider myself to have failed. Instead, because of what happened to me in Angola, I have gained so much.

I have a new found need for simplicity in what I do. To be open and completely honest about where I am at. (As opposed to doing what I ‘think’ others want me to do.) I think we all struggle with this at some point in our lives.

Hanret mentioned the other night that I show more excitement now, than I ever have before about the trip. That, in itself, somehow tells me that I’m doing the right thing. I truly am extremely excited!!

It feels like Africa will keep dragging me back to the starting point… until I get it right.

I think I’m finally getting it right.

I don’t think it will be any easier. A motorbike brings with it its own set of challenges. I will still need to face and handle bureaucratic intricacies, all kinds of logistical planning, paperwork, bad roads, conflict areas and all the other wonderful things that travelling in Africa brings with it.

Tomorrow, I might be getting my bike. I really look forward to introducing her to you. That’s step one: getting the bike. From here, I can move forward with all the other arrangements and will keep you all updated about my progress.

I also want to ‘simplify’ my blog a bit. If you have any suggestions or input as to what you think might improve my blog, please let me know. I would love your input.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your continued support!

I look forward to sharing my ‘new’ journey with you all!



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1 comment:

Jeanine said...

Looking so forward to experiencing Africa through your travels Jo. Not the typical, edited panoramic media view, but your own personal (so far incredible) version of places most of us will probably never get to see. Good luck with getting your new riding companion!