Pre-trip Emotions

A Post by Lucia

When I wrote this blog post, it was the last day of August; officially 4 days until we fly to Singapore. Just writing that sentence makes me feel overwhelmed! (Run for the hills comes to mind…!) It’s been 4 months since I last wrote a blog post, but those 4 months have been busy with finishing work in Cyprus (leaving my job as a primary school teacher), moving back to the UK, sorting and organising all of our belongings ready to leave them in my Mum’s cellar (thanks Mum!) for the next 18 months whilst we galavant across the globe.

One of my mum and my favourite summer pastimes: blackberry picking!

Preparation

Followers of ‘Cycling Two’ will be well aware of how Adam has prepared for our upcoming adventure: In true Adam style (not one to do things by halves) he has cycled over 2,000km from the UK to Gibraltar. Arduous, tough, hot training in the saddle; across France, the Pyrenees, Andorra and Spain to arrive, triumphant, 2,050 km from where he started. I, on the other hand, have done precisely 38 km along the flat, easy canal near where I’m living at the moment… Oh dear…!

Nerves

So it’s safe to say one of the many emotions I am feeling at the moment is nerves. Knee-jerking, trembling, ‘burying-my-head-in-the-sand-in-denial’ nerves, ‘should-I-just-go-into-hiding-until-this-blows-over’ nerves… In a way, I’m sort of kicking myself thinking, “I should have done more training!” I’m not completely unfit, but I have been fitter. These past 8 weeks living with family have been full of quality time. Quality time consisting of lazy mornings, long dog walks, blackberry picking, lunches out, coffee and cake, cooking delicious food, drinking (lots of!) wine, seeing family and friends, cozy nights in, family dart tournaments, family tattooing sessions!, organising all of our worldly possessions and a grand total of two bike rides.

The first of two tattoos I got done by my talented brother before he flew to live in Australia with his lovely wife.

I wouldn’t change my ‘trip-preparation’, as the people I have spent my time with mean the world to me and I won’t see them for a fair while. Justifying it to myself, I know that the first two countries we are cycling through, Malaysia and Thailand, are – so I’m told – very flat: so that’s my training!! As Tom Allen puts it,

 

“The best physical training for a big cycle tour is to ride a really heavy bike a really long way. Obviously. Guess what? You can do that by going on a big cycle tour. Start off gently. In less than a fortnight you’ll be as fit as you’ll ever need to be.”     https://tomsbiketrip.com/how-to-train-for-long-distance-cycle-touring/

 

That’s put my mind at rest, phew. One thing I have been proactive about is bike maintenance. I did a basic bike maintenance course which means I now feel confident in changing my own inner tubes and fixing my own punctures. I want to feel in command of my own bike and not rely on Adam to fix it for me.  Another reassurance is that, unlike Adam’s cycle tour to Gibraltar, we have got no set deadlines to cycle to. With the exception of visa deadlines, we have no flights to catch and we are not setting a ‘minimum daily cycling distance’. We are unbeholden to anybody else’s expectations. Each day we will cycle as far, and as hard as we both want to. Starting gently in a flat landscape with guest houses aplenty, our choice of starting in Singapore and working our way through SE Asia was an intentional one, due to the suitability for beginner cycle tourists, such as myself. That being said, I am still naturally nervous. I would compare the nerves I feel to the ‘pre-show’ nerves I used to feel before going on stage to sing in a concert or opera. I used to feel almost like I didn’t want to go on stage to perform. Once I got onto the stage though, it felt amazing and I loved it. The adrenaline and the joyous feelings of doing what I really loved were unrivalled. Skirmishing through these nervous emotions to get onto the flight, to get to Singapore, to start our adventure, I know will be totally worth it.

Excitement

That leads to my next emotion: excitement!! So much excitement. I know at times our journey will be gruelling and exhausting. I will be uncomfortable, get frustrated and irritable with a situation or environment but… the places we’ll go; the people we’ll meet; the sights we’ll see; the food we’ll eat; and the friends we’ll make will make all of that worth it. Also, I’m excited to push myself physically. I have never been one of those energetic, up at the crack of dawn, just ran a marathon type people. I’m the type of person who buys a gym membership, goes three times a week for a month then makes up excuse after excuse to miss class after class. But with cycling from Singapore back to the UK, there will be no room for excuses. I have no choice but to get fit, cycling – if all goes to plan – 20,000 km home! I am very much looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone; challenging myself physically and mentally; seeing and feeling my body change as I get fitter and healthier. I have often daydreamed about being the fit, slim, energetic version of myself… (whilst eating a family sized bag of maltesers scrolling through instagram at the fitness fanatics)… if this isn’t the time and the chance to become that ‘daydream’ version of myself, then there’s no chance!!

Easily pleased: a day out shopping with a lunch stop for burritos and wine!

Anxiousness

As is to be expected before any long-term travel or adventure, there is a certain amount of anxiousness going on inside too. Many questions float through my mind: Do we have everything we need? (YES! And more!) Is everything sorted? Have we done enough research? What route are we taking? I am extremely lucky that Adam is very proactive; we have spreadsheets galore for different route options; language cards; malaria risks in each country; equipment and costs; to do lists; kit list and more. So any anxiousness or doubt is almost always extinguished after a conversation together. The beauty of our plan to travel slowly and meaningfully also means we will just take it a day at a time. We have our route roughly mapped out and have researched when and where we will need to apply for the necessary visas and the like, so I feel confident that we couldn’t be more prepared than we are.

Guilt

Finally, there is a feeling of guilt mixed in there too. I am close to my family, particularly my Mum (no tears whilst you’re reading this Mum!) and although I have lived away from home since I was 18 in: Leeds, London, Cyprus, Catterick, Wiltshire and back to Cyprus again, it doesn’t make leaving home any easier, especially as I’ve been living at home for the past 8 weeks. Naturally, my family are nervous about the adventure I’m about to undertake, especially now we’ve discussed changing our route (no spoilers – more on that later). Similarly to me, I know there will be a mixture of emotions but the beauty of modern technology enables us to keep in touch regularly, so much so I’m sure my family and friends may turn notifications off to escape the bombardment of ‘cycle touring is awesome!’ photos and videos which are to come!

 

SO! That just about rounds up how I’m feeling pre-tour, 4 days out. As I type, Adam is beginning to lay out all of our kit for a final ‘kit inspection’ (!) and the obligatory kit photo before it all gets packed. Best go and help before he confiscates any items from my rather large wash kit! Next blog post will come from Singapore baby!

 

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