Answering a few questions - June 28, 2010 (continued)
I believe that the overwhelming majority of people in the world are kind, are mainly concerned with being productive citizens and want to live with their families in peace. Most people are self centered, focusing on their jobs, school and day to day lives and they are not living for the sole purpose of doing harm to others. It's time to put that theory to the test and I guess you could say I am willing to bet my life on it.
In terms of my fear then it is not the fear of terrorism, getting mugged or even robbed. I will not be carrying any form of weapon as that just increases the risk of retaliatory violence. If someone wants the few possessions I have that badly, they need them more than I do. I can always replace stuff. The biggest risk on a bike trip is getting hit by a car so I will take the necessary precautions by avoiding busy roads, being highly visible (my pannier bags are bright orange and have highly visible yellow rain cover). I will also do my best to hitch a ride on a bus/train/car when approaching large cities.
The real fear for me however is the fear of being lonely and I am not sure how I will be able to handle that. My friend in Bermuda, Catherine Visaya astutely asked me why I don't fly to the Philippines at the start of my trip. Her plan for me : , bless her heart, was that I might meet a nice girl and then travel with her instead of on my own. That was a thought of mine but I have always wanted to go by bike and the odds against finding someone who not only wants to go out with me but also take a year and cycle around the world were prohibitive. I like to gamble but know my limits. The downside however is that I will be seeing incredible places that I cannot share with anyone other than through words and pictures. It is easily the most difficult thing I will face but a bike trip like this is going to be physically hard and you only have so many years to do it. The fear of being lonely is not as great as the fear of having regrets that I didn't follow my dream when I had the chance.
There will also be opportunities to meet others. An organization called Warm Showers is an internet connected group of people around the world willing to host other travelers. When you approach a city you simply contact another member listed on the website and ask if you could stay on their couch. It's a novel idea for people to save money on accommodation but most importantly, meet others that share your interest in travel.
One of the things I will need to work on is to get out and meet people. I can be very chatty (don't laugh Alona :) but can also be comfortable just keeping to myself. I plan to remind myself everyday that I am travelling to meet people and get to know other cultures and that involves talking to complete strangers on a regular basis. There will be many times that I want the peace and quiet of being alone as long as that does not become an escape to avoid human interaction. Humans are social and are not meant to be alone.
What will you do when your trip ends?
Do you ever realize that we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the future or past? I know I do and unless I am completely unusual think most are similar. As you get older you think a lot about how things used to be in the good old days, and those days are always better than they are now. In the future, today will be part of the good old days but we might not recognize that now. We were all a little smarter, better at sports, great in school and of course much better looking. I know for a fact that Continued onto Next Page