Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Monday, September 19, 2005


To those of you who managed to get all the way through my France 'write ups' - well done! I'm quite impressed.

Over a month has now passed since I got back from France and not a lot has changed. My return to 'normality' was a depressingly easy one. My sun tan has faded, my cycling muscles are withering and the freedom of the open road is becoming a distant memory. A lot of people have asked me how I feel after France, particularly with respect to Avoiding Europe, which is, I keep reminding myself, only a year away now.

The answer is that I feel good about it, in essence, but my feelings towards it have changed somewhat. Before France I was adament that I would be 'Avoiding Europe' on my own. The first few days of France, which were also my first few days of 'solo cycling', were surprisingly lonely and, I must admit, had me thinking that I'd never be able to do the whole thing on my own. As the trip went on I became more comfortable on my own but still more accepting of the idea of 'another' coming with me. I'm not going to actively seek a cycling partner and I don't doubt that I will be doing it on my own, I'm just not so adament that I *have* to be on my own now.

Anyway - aside from that France did actually give me some 'thinking space' and I now have a more focussed 'life plan' than I did before. This has little bearing on Avoiding Europe but is such a major breakthrough for me, after 27 years of idle time wasting, that I had to mention it. I have plans for re-educating myself and persuing a 'career path' when I return, all of which means that 'Avoiding Europe' is becoming more of a turning point in my life than I had imagined.

Another thing I have been thinking of more recently is timing and weather. I am beginning to think a more realistic timescale for the trip is around 7 months and, as a result, that leaving in September might not be the best idea. I could, for example, leave in March, looking to finish in September/October. I would be in France/Spain/Portugal/Italy for Spring and the beginning of summer, then up in the middle countries and the Nordics for high summer and back into Denmark/Netherlands/France for Autumn. This would mean I wouldn't have to spend 'deep Winter' anywhere (well, England, obviously) - I've heard even Greece can get quite chilly.

I don't know - I'm not scared of the cold particularly, so it doesn't matter too much, it's just that things like accommodation would be easier to find in that period aswell.

I have a while to think about it anyway. All I really have to do before I leave is save money. I have the equipment and the plan. So here I go - saving.