How can we convey the bigness of us booking flights to leave Australia to a world where it just isn’t a big deal? People are hard to impress, and I’m not such a word-spinning wizard to be able to smack you in the face with the intensity of this ticketing triumph. A few friends get it because they have been invested in our story but for the rest of the world it’s nothing. So how to do it? Dan put it in a piece of his own writing like this:
‘We have flights booked to leave Sydney for Japan on September 1st, 2 years to the day we cycled out of London’.
A solid statement, precise, and leaves enough white space to think about what has happened between those 2 markers, London and Japan. We were all gung ho arriving in Sydney from London, feeling free, and excited that we had started the very beginning stages of cycling around the world… saving the money. Once the newness of our plans wore off we slowly got tired, and both battled sadness’s. Time was making fools of us, money wasn’t growing on trees, struggling through our relationship, chipping slowly away at our happiness with a pick made of a pressure to succeed. We both doubted we would make it. Yet we still left our bedroom bare of personal touches as a statement that we both didn’t want to set up home, kind of like keeping yourself uncomfortable so you don’t fall asleep.
So we do have flights booked to leave Sydney for Japan on September 1st, 2 years to the day we cycled out of London. We have our touring bikes, and our new enormous tent (a 4 man, double door, sanctuary of sexual options.) We have not nearly enough money as we thought we would but we have done our very best and that’s all you’re meant to hope for. It would become a regret if we choose to do something else with our time and money. It had become too big of a deal to not follow it through, simply because we have made it so, we are the ones that have created the monster, we are the source of our own pressure, if we were blasé about it all we would of gone off, done it and not said too much about it, but we want it to be our masterpiece of a project, done beautifully, so to hell with doing it with a sense of indifference.
Telling people that we have 3 months till we leave is interesting, some make exclamations of sadness and others say ‘remind me when it’s a month out’, which, to me, sounds like you probably wont care a month out either. We have no plans to return but I have left Australia with no plans to return before so I am not so ignorant to believe we’ll never be back. We are however going to be gone for a long time, we will miss great moments in peoples lives. Life is so meaningful now, it’s annoying, you could leave for a year as a young 20 something and come back to much of the sameness, friends still in Uni, still doing part-time work at a café, nothing interesting happens, now life changes so rapidly from month to month because friends are pregnant, or starting serious jobs and getting married and there is nearly no residue of our teenage years left. I stole a paragraph of writing off Dan that he did a couple of weeks back talking of his own Fear Of Missing Out:
“[It’s hard] seeing and hearing how my friend’s and family’s lives are changing without being around and sharing it. In the last 3 years I’ve become an uncle to 3 nieces and a nephew. Leaving home last time we’d barely started grieving for Dad and I was going back halfway around the world knowing I wouldn’t see my Mum or sisters for years. And my Mum, selling the house I grew up in since I was 5, moving to her own space somewhere in town, developing a life for herself after sharing one with my Dad for 3 decades. Maybe this trip, with its first sparks years ago, started as a way to justify not being home to help and just be around. It’s hard to both live your own life and be there for your aging parents. “
Riding around the world has and will give me me the intensity to my life I have been craving. We wont see the whole world we will see a small part of it even though we will be travelling for years, it will be a pencil thin, rather straight line through a map of a country. Since we booked flights I can hardly get my mind past Japan. I want to see bands and artists and climb hills and ride Tokyo at 4am and do drunken karaoke and walk around foggy ancient forests. But there is still excitement to be had in Sydney and I don’t want to ignore it. We are working harder then ever, through the mild Autumn of Sydney. We had a week of torrential downpour so wild and windy that there were special hour news reports dedicated to the damaging winds and rain each night. Hundreds of millimeters of water came down hard everyday that week. It was the wildest work by far that Dan and I had ever done. I abandoned North Sydney, and stayed in the city. I had 4 plastic bags covering my leather saddle, a zip-lock sandwich bag on my work device and phone, shopping bags around the packages in my bag and two raincoats. I didn’t make one dry delivery that week, each of the envelopes were wet and the ink running.
On the Tuesday of that rainy week in the late afternoon word spread through the office buildings that the Premier had told everyone to go home. A short while later Mailcall stopped taking bookings for new jobs and we just had to clear what we had in our bags. Except that most of us had still 20 or 30 jobs on our screens, it was black and just like a nightmare by the time we had finished. The wind howling and storming down the tunnel of buildings, the rain flying sideways changing it’s direction each minute, the abandoned umbrella skeletons were let loose and flying in the sky and tumbling across the roads, it was rather a lot of fun. A few of the guys food delivery in the evenings, every night I’d get home and dry and it’d have gotten windier and colder and I’d think of all the people over the city, sitting in their apartments not wanting to go out themselves, ordering food to be delivered and those guys with their front racks stacked high with food fighting the wind through the suburbs in the dark. It made me feel like an office worker wondering how they do it.
Everything we wore by the end of the day seemed like it had just been pulled out of a sink of water. We had set up a drying room in the tiny laundry off the living room; with a fan and a heater to try to dry our limited stock of clothing to be worn the next day in the same conditions. I made a $1000 dollars that week though, and after the rain, the most beautiful pale sun shone for weeks.
Following that week I had bought a touring bike, an off the rack style Long Haul Trucker from Surly. Not the most exciting choice. I was hoping to find something that had buckets of style, but it is certainly up to the task. I rode it at work for a week, I’ve never had gears at work, It was unimaginably different, clumsier and much heavier. Sure the down hills where amazing, it’s heaven to coast but a touring bike is no bike to courier on. I rode my fixed again and if felt faster and more efficient, my legs so attuned to that ratio I felt slow and weighty with gears. When we last toured through Europe we pined for our fixed gear bikes after just a few weeks, by the time we were reunited we frothed at the mouth ripping open the boxes they had been shipped to Sydney in. I know I will miss the whip of a light and simple bike while we are away. So I am determined to live it up now while we can.
We are setting off camping next weekend to the Blue Mountains to finish off a film we are making along side a couple of friends, we will open our tents wings and she how she flies. We will do a blog post about it, I’ve never camped in the Blue Mountains.