I guess everything from the afternoon and night brought on the sense and the feeling. I was riding home late after a busy week and a rotten Friday afternoon. After park drinks with the messengers, then riding to the pub with Belle, talking about when Jorja first starting couriering and girl messengers generally, then plenty more beer, more riding and talking rubbish, for a solid hour also terrible freestyle battling rubbish, and finally drifting home. Spinning downhill like a bird coasting a thermal and pulling myself up the rolling hills without feeling the lactic acid in my legs after drinking but with my mind starting to sober up. Rolling through empty suburban streets, dotted with those foggy orange street lights, completely silent.
I had spent my afternoon doing a pantomime of terrible couriering. It started when I left an office tower on Elizabeth Street and my bike wasn’t leaning against the wall, back wheel locked to frame, as I had left it. ‘One of the guys moved it. It’s around the corner’ was my second thought after, ‘Some asshole has stolen my bike’. It was gone, I had only been inside two or three minutes maximum. Someone would have had to either put it on their shoulder and run down the street or put it in a van and driven off. I scanned the lunchtime crowd with the eyes of an angered, starving animal. I ran around grabbing people asking if they’d seen anyone carrying a black bike. I was a lunatic, knocking on windows of cars if people were inside and running off to the next person just as the last started their, ‘It’s been stolen then?’ line. Eventually I called my controller to tell him someone needed to take my parcels from me because my bike was gone. As the sentence was forming, and I was wiping a greater than normal flow of sweat and sunscreen from my eyes, I looked from where I was on Martin Place down to the street where I had entered the building and realized I had come out the opposite side. I had gone in on Castlereigh and exited through the lobby out on Elizabeth.
And so started my mistake ridden afternoon in which I picked up a wrong parcel realizing my mistake as I was dropping it off, lost my map book (interesting afternoon memory test!). During which I also only picked up one parcel when I should have grabbed two, got myself a puncture just as things were getting busy and various other shitty little stressful entanglements with a disappointing mind and an uncoordinated body.
Riding back to Huntleys Cove after the pub I got into an odd state of mind. I was loose and tired, I was missing London terribly, especially Jamjar and Scott. Remembering that feeling of being in the right place whenever it was quite late at night or early in the morning and they were nearby being their golden selves. And missing that feeling London used to give, that immense immovable stone centre all crammed full of people and electricity, surrounded further out on all sides by what seem like infinite suburban wastelands, and it all being a comforting containment. But suddenly Sydney was faking me out, making itself feel familiar. Iron Cove Bridge, with the water over by the Drummoyne pool looking like mercury in it’s meringue pie tips in the light. It felt like I was a part of this place now, and that I had always been and I was only realizing it now because the sense of familiarity had returned. Like I had just woken up from a strange and deep sleep and I was reorganizing what the actual world was. It was all unnerving and disconnected and a bit melancholy.
Without being a little drunk, very tired and realizing I really badly miss London, I think it was that I had a good night after a shitty day in a place that I’m becoming fond of. Turning thirty a few days before definitely had something to do with all my confusion too.
But back to why we started this blog and why we’re now living in Australia.
CYCLING AROUND THE WORLD!
That’s why we flew here. To save up to cycle around the world.
I’m getting more and more weary of those four words or three, or any number of which imply that we are telling you, reasonable, rational person, that we have what it takes to cycle for two or so years, covering thousands of miles sleeping every night in a tent in any conceivable environment and that we’ll enjoy it. Piece by piece seems more manageable. Cycling Asia or The Americas. Or lately, Back to London is our go-to way of describing it. At least it doesn’t have the enormity, the whole fucking world bit.
The first flickers of excitement from the fact that we’ll be leaving in months happened just now, a moment ago. I had a rushing something or other from my lower back up through my chest. It’s mad to consider what we’re aiming ourselves towards. Not, ‘Shit aren’t we crazy people’. But everything that might happen and all the people that we’ll meet, how different our perspectives will surely be. It’d almost be more interesting if nothing changed at all. If we hype-up seeing the world and then just become increasingly pessimistic and close minded, appreciating nothing along the way hating everything new. Swear off traveling and it’s virtues and just watch documentaries about India and Survivor.
We still talk about our relatively poor form cycling from London to Rome before getting here. Me staying up all night thinking we were about to be murdered or that the Belgian wildlife was closing in. So many things we were and still are awful with. Our total mechanical skills are puncture repair, tightening loose things and breaking and remaking a chain. We aren’t even good with making sure the possibly loose things are tight. Despite not yet being able to fix our bikes and our many other inadequacies as potential real adventurers we are both quite tough minded and bodied. And we both are happiest once we’ve been on our bikes a little out of breath for a while.
Being back on heavy touring bikes, pushing ourselves through the afternoon, eating enormous pots of couscous and rice and noodles every evening and finding camp sites usually feels quite distant from our current state of completely undeserved but hugely appreciated luxury and comfort here. Australia has been a steady flow of delicious gluttony.
We got back to Sydney last weekend after 8 days or so in Western Australia. I listened to Jorja describe it to me during a cold evening at our Cable Street place in London. With our little fire burning in front of the sofa, wrapped up in sweaters and blankets. ‘My favorite place in the world’ with pensive eyes lost in the drafty windows. Laying back in that bright blue-green water with my feet rising in front of me until I was almost vertical on enormous and still growing waves is the way I’ll remember it. And being thrashed around, flipped head to toe and spun around like a record trying to get back on the beach. That and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten and a lot of champagne and wine. Our showers after the beach with the big door open and the breeze coming in. The vineyards we were filming Jorja’s Dad talking about his wines in, everybody a bit too pissed to keep from laughing. It was paradise. But then it’s a pretty high standard of life in Sydney too. Every meal is delicious and Wendy, Jorja’s Mum, makes me flapjack type biscuits for work each week. There’s a tennis court just down the road with a pool and sauna. My guilt complex is out of control. I’ll never forget how well we’ve been treated here.
We’re saving our money pretty well now and soon we’ll be taking off, all loaded up, toward South East Asia. In the meantime we’ll be trying to spice things up on here. Making some videos, interviewing some interesting people, and showing the getting ready part of what we’re about to do.