This is the end, my only friend, the end.
And so it comes to pass our cycle journey is over. Looking back it’s been one hell of a ride. Our route took us through 13 countries, both the richest and poorest in the world. The friendliness and hospitality we received impressed on us the need to pay this back to future travellers. The connections made to like-minded people encouraged me to believe there are some people out there who really get what’s going on with the planet. And most of all, the myriad of experiences Anna and I went through together has undoubtedly set a super strong foundation for our upcoming life together.
Lately I’ve been trying to understand my own driving factors for wanting to travel, and having my mind blown at how different these are from 10 years ago. When we set out I still held onto the idea that new countries, cultures, experiences and people was what I was after. 10 years ago, this purpose kept me going for 3 years, but this time round only the first few months. So what’s different? Well to start with there’s the obvious age stage differences (no pub crawls this time); also travelling as a couple vs single; and mode of travel eg bikes vs public transport. Whilst all these have influenced my purpose out here, the major difference I can identify is my consciousness. Previously I had no qualms about flying jets around the world; the mounds of beach trash would draw my attention for all but a few seconds while I sipped my mango shake out of plastic; and any cultural destruction eg neon-tourist-towns or children begging had little or nothing to do with my presence. Well all that’s changed, I’m now acutely aware of just how impactful we tourists are.
So going forward what’s the future of travel for me? To start with I feel conventional travel bus, train, hotel etc. is out the picture. The sheer number of other humans participating in this global dance ensures you will be constantly corralled left or right, and regurgitated experiences daily. Cycle touring was great, but often we found ourselves resenting the tether to Tarmac, and the arse end of the world (backroads are where we place all the bad shit: nuclear reactors, factory farms, mono-crops etc.). So that leaves me with limited options… I can imagine future travel will be limited to important family visits, or adventurous single destination missions eg canoeing down a river for a month. Whatever the case this trip has drastically changed my worldview and placed me, “the tourist”,centrally as one of the key contributors to destruction.
Taking this learning and applying it to home, Anna and I have never had such resolve to live a more sustainable life. We’ve both set goals to become hyper-conscious consumers; to try set up a green co-housing property; and to strive for a work/life balance that allows us to spend time doing the things that really need to be done. I’ve never been more passionate to learn more about plausible options for the survival of Homo Sapiens, and to find ways to get others onboard. There’s never been a greater need for change than now; I just need to harness the passion and understanding that 8months of peddling/thinking has developed and put it into action back home. The challenge will be not slipping back into the status-quo.
So yes, this is the end of our cycle journey and of this blog. Thank you for following along.
Sam and Anna