About a year ago I bought myself a new Brooks saddle. In it was an edition of The Brooks Bugle with an article about Emily Chappell who cycled around the world. My first reaction was ‘oh no’.

Before I read that article I already had the idea of cycling to China some day. And a little voice inside my head continually asked me why I should stop there? So why the ‘oh no’? Was it the click of the switch that I was sure about myself that thát was wat I wanted to do as well? Although not fully aware of all the consequences but of course having enough sense that it would by an outrageous enterprise. Was my inner self telling me what the heck are you going to put yourself into? Was it because I just arrived in Denmark and therefore  just started what I intended to do there; nothing more than write and work on a farm? It was an ‘oh no, you’re actually going to do this too’. It was ‘just’ a confirmation. Now I read it could be done, now I realized my idea isn’t that crazy after all, if others do it and have done it, why wouldn’t I be able to do it?

The ‘oh no’ lingered on a bit, it was really like a switch that was pushed inside my head. I don’t exaggerate that my whole body was filled with the idea. Not only the idea, but the conviction that in one way or the other I was going to plan to do this thing. Not a fibre in my body and not a living human being was going to talk me out of it. It filled me up so much that I just couldn’t sleep because of it.
It quickly evolved into an ‘oh yes’. Now I do almost every day some preparations, either checking out gear, checking out countries, taking my bike for a spin and endless thinking. One thought creeps to the surface now and again.

I read about people who bite back their pain and wipe away their tears, grab the one solid thing in their life and that is their bike and push on. They’re determined to keep on going, they know by experience that a little setback will always be overcome by loads of positive things, like the sun will always crawl from behind a cloud (to use a cheap but very true metaphor). By pure willpower they carry on and on.
If I may say so, I don’t think I lack willpower and determination, but when I talk with people about my trip, I always say ‘well, if I don’t won’t to go further anymore, I just pedal back home’. Is that a lack of ambition? Is that approach just the way I am (we Frisian are known as down-to-earth people)? Is it because I am afraid of failure, so if I don’t set a fixed goal I won’t be able to fail? Is it that I know of myself I have determination and discipline enough to do this so I can easily say it? Is it because I assume people think I am a lunatic, so when I say that it relativizes a bit.
I question myself if I have the right attitude to do this if I think like that. Don’t I have to look in the mirror and scream ‘yes I can!’? Hit myself on the chest and scream even louder ‘let’s do this shit!’? I just shrug and say ‘oh well, that way of thinking is typical me’. Won’t the prospects of new experiences, new people, new places keep me going? It is months away before I set off and I am already very excited. I believe that is more important than grinding my teeth, gripping my steering wheel and cursing the kilometres away with my panniers full of determination. Oh yes.


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