One important lesson that I have learned over the last few months is that you never truly know what is round the corner.
After the indignity of a spiked drink temporarily turned my world upside down at the start of this year it has taken exactly 109 days, six weeks on crutches, four trips to A&E, three sessions on my sprained ankle from the healing hands of Acupuncturist par-excellence Tania Spearman, two x-rays on said ankle, one night spent in hospital with a suspected hernia later downgraded to a groin strain (Note to self: Do not attempt to lift a 50 kilo bike under any circumstance), copious amounts of Rioja (purely for medicinal purposes) and an unscripted detour back to the UK for physiotherapy – plus invaluable quality time spent with friends and family – I am back on the road at long last.
To be honest I had started to think that my journey to Ethiopia was ill-fated before I had even really got going. But then who said things were going to be easy?
On reflection it has been less of a false start and more of a turning of a page; this time with a greater sense of awareness, humility and determination than ever before. I now feel much more prepared (mentally and physically) and have managed to better equip myself with some essential gear (Katadyn water filter, Power Monkey solar panel, wind-up radio, anti-malarials etc) that will allow me to be as safe and self-sufficient as I possibly can on the road ahead. I will of course spare the long list of equipment that all too easily fills up the panniers with each mounting kilo but it does seem a rite of passage for the budding cycle tourer to metaphorically share the load in pictorial fashion before setting off (again). So here is my contribution folks…
Most importantly, my good friend and fellow cycle-touring companion Richie Thomas had grasped the nettle in a moment of inspired life-changing decisiveness, quit his web design job in Barcelona, and has embarked on a round-the-world trip on his trusty Cannondale steed. We’ll be riding all the way to Istanbul together taking in Italy and Greece before reaching Turkey. You can read more about his adventure by visiting his excellent blog here.
So with four wheels, two’s company and a good measure of coffee-fueled, pedal powered gusto, Constantinople here we come. Next stop Italy.