I’m close to beginning my cycling pilgrimage to Bhutan. After departing Edinburgh last week I’ve been in the south of England spending some time with friends and family. I have been experiencing mixed emotions.
At times I notice excitement, but at other times I notice nervousness, or even deep fear, about the long journey ahead. And then there is the joy and sadness of celebrating a life lived with others whilst also departing from them.
However, beneath these ever-changing emotions there I am – the observer, the actor – with a sense of purpose and direction that I’ve never experienced before in my life. Deep down I’m calm and connected.
Bhutan is far away from where I now sit, and to get there by bike still seems, even to me, a little unbelievable. My trip intention is known to me but my route certainly isn’t. I have some vague sense of a route but routes change, nothing is certain, every-thing evolves with each passing moment. The only clarity I expect to have is with each moment as I pedal each pedal and breathe each breath.
From Southern England to Barcelona, and Buenos Aires
Tomorrow I hope to take a boat from Portsmouth to Santander. I’ll then cycle across north Spain to Barcelona. I perhaps haven’t given myself as much time as I would like as I have a flight to Buenos Aires that leaves in the early morning of November 10th. I’m not yet touring fit, and will have 7 days to do 700kms – hopefully I will squeeze a rest in there too.
Buenos Aires to Peru, and perhaps some asides
If there is a cycling route to Bhutan, then going via South America is perhaps not the most obvious way to get there. From Buenos Aires I intend to head to Peru and arrive in Cusco by the new year, or even Solstice if I can do it. But I’m already getting excited by the possibility of perhaps dipping into Uruguay to see a little of what is happening there.
Uruguay is perhaps the most democratic and least corrupt country in the region and personally I’ve always been inspired by Jose Mujica, who whilst he was president from 2010 to 2015, eschewed the luxurious lifestyle many may expect someone in his position to have taken up and instead maintained a life of authentic simplicity.
Beyond Peru everything becomes really unclear. When, and if, I get to Peru I expect I will want to take a bit of a pause. I’ll already be a different person by then with different ideas about what they need to do next in their life. The person I am now is open to that. The world will have changed too. The person I am now is also open to that. I suspect that I have to be if I want to be happy.
However, if I’m still connected to my journey as I see it now then I will head to Ecuador and then Colombia, before heading to Central America. I’m particularly excited about being in Costa Rica, so long as I don’t get ensnared there by its efficiency in creating happy people. I’ll then head up the west coast of the Americas through central America and perhaps quite far up into north America.
At some point I want to cross over to Asia and I have no real idea how I’ll do that – where from and to. I’d like to make it all the way up to Vancouver if I can and take a boat (perhaps a freighter) to some place in Asia. Once I get to Asia I have absolutely no idea about how I then get to Bhutan but with some trepidation I am thinking a bit about the Himalayas, the border complications, and the potentially impassable regions. But that is much further down the line and there will be a way, there has to be, there always is.