After so many roads, so many people, blood sweat and almost tears, cycling through mountains, desserts, forests, villages, huge sprawling cities, accumulating a total of just over 13000km. I take a moment to drift back a few months and rewind the highway back to the start.....
I had set out from the south of France in April, the only objective in mind was to experience travelling across land by my own power, to arrive in India for the winter, anything after this was to be a bonus.
I do not like to have solid plans as such, as so many things can happen along the way and change the course and direction of the journey, based upon new information from many people you meet along the way, it often becomes a battle of your ego and desire to follow such rigid ideals that you had at the start, so I am learning now more and more to allow life to flow and to show you better ways that you should be taking.
Was it everything I had imagined? Yes and no, I had in my mind many ways I wanted to go, but I was following a story that was not yet written, until you actually put pen to paper or take those first few steps, or turn the pedals, it never turns out the way you expect, or imagine, there is only so much preparation you can do but in the end it is just a matter of go out there and make the start then the rest will follow in its own way so in no way have I been dissapointed.
Sometimes your greatest mistakes become your greatest discoveries.
Amazing landscapes, scenery, and days of complete, utter exhaustion both physically and mentally, where you ask yourself “what the hell am I doing here, what was I thinking?” then to be presented with a gift around the next corner, a caring voice, a welcoming smile, a quiet place amongst the trees, mother natures reward, a journey of contrasts, that is what makes the story so interesting, all the good, all the bad and the little bits that are normally left behind, unnoticed in the wake of daily stress and routine.
Time and space in our minds to notice and appreciate such simplicity is a gift.
Every mountain, every obstacle is a journey into your soul.
The people are the players, characters that even my best imagination could not have invented, I will never forget them. Now in India the stage is set, within a cast of so many millions I am dazzled again by the diversity of colour, chaos and tranquility.
I emerged from my tent to be greeted by a gathering crowd of young and old, all awaiting the show that was about to start......
Heads began wobbling excitedly from side to side, voices chattering quietly through red betel-stained teeth, toothless smiles grinning wildly. Time froze, eyes met but no one was about to say anything for all of eternity, then suddenly the old man spat, the woman next to him, the child, the dog and the cow crossing the road, spat in anticipation. I grinned back, but inside I was thinking other things.....shit! I am in India, there was no time to wake up quietly with a cup of tea and a thoughtful conversation to plan the rest of the day out, because there was a thousand questions behind those smiles, getting closer and a thousand times that I had to tell them the same answers, but this time, Gary from Manchester was not going to satisfy them. They wanted more.
Now I am two
Having met another traveller in Dubai, Mathiue, from France coincidentally also travelling with a recumbent, we find ourselves on the same path, with similar stories and experiences.
It is good to have some support at special times of the day like this when faced with a crowd of startled, bewildered Indians, its good to share the limelight, and so I gracefully pass them across to Mathiue to answer all their questions whilst I sneak off for a peaceful dump.
Our little team is working well now, we started travelling from Mumbai towards Ahmedabad, through small mountain/jungle roads. Every day has been different so far.
The first mission was assembbling the bits of bicycle back together at the airport, of course with another crowd of gathering locals, security, police, taxi drivers and an old toothless tea lady. We created these strange things before their eyes and set off through the mayhem out of the city.
Hours of hot, sweaty, chaos, dodging a managerie of obstacles soon gets tiring and wondering where, or if the city will ever end.
Everything does eventually end and everything does eventually change, that is one thing we can all be sure of.
|First night in the jungle. Did not sleep too much thinking about tigers...|
|'Rangoli' design dewali festival of light|
|Sacred fire where you may see a vision of Chrishna if you gaze into the smoke|
|life ends when you stop dreaming.hope ends when you stop believing. love ends when you stop caring. Dream believe and care. Life is beautiful|
........Next we head off north to Rajhastan and meet up with two friends who have just started their bike tour from Delhi. We will form a little group and try to get down to Bangalore for Christmas.