Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Back to basics!

Phew, returning home seems to have happened with very little palaver. Leaving Ohm Beach was done without any safety margin as far as time was concerned, I caught a mid-day train to get to Goa, a motorcycle Taxi to the Airport, then had a seven hour wait. Another wait at Delhi airport turned out to be for 15 hrs, and away we went, only three hours late. Aren't I ever glad I had warm clothes handy, two thermal layers and a Rab jacket, they done the job. For a change, I also had a lift arranged from the airport, life doesn't get much easier. Even the absence of my luggage from the plane failed to perturb me, I had my hand luggage i.e. the Laptop and camera equipment. What else is there to worry about, my bike and bike gear waited at Phil's house, my first port of call. So how was it arriving back in North Wales? Almost like coming back home. I spent three nights dossing on couches, so I could relax with friends and drink without driving. The main advantage to arriving home this time was actually having a place I could treat as home, a cottage put at my disposal by a very generous friend, Jason. I'm glad he feels happy having me occupy his otherwise empty cottage. Call it Kama, but after numerous occasions when I've given over the use of my house, whilst travelling for a few months, it's nice for the shoe to be on the other foot. I think people should reap what they sow! (Photo: Lunar Landscape of Penrhyn Quarry - Bethesda, North Wales)

Now life takes on a new meaning, another period of organisation, four months of being in the UK. My maps have just arrived so I can begin to chart possible routes through to China. Decisions, decisions, luckily none have to be made as to the actual route yet. It's all a matter of timing though. For Russia I must declare the actual dates of entry and exit, each time I pass through, which has to be at least twice. China also needs a specific date for entry due to the extensive organising of permits, for travel and the bike. The formalities are horrendous for both these places, but it's only really China that charges a sizeable portion of third world debt to drive your own vehicle through. A different permit for every province I pass through must be obtained, my bike has to get registered for use in China, and I'll need a Chinese driving license. I'm giving myself three months to make it to the Chinese border. That gives me more than enough time to get there and and enjoy the process of doing so. Somewhere around Central Asia/Mongolia I'll take some time off the bike and get acquainted with another horse. Let's say there is no shortage of horses or amazing countryside in that part of the world. I'm not used to having to time the crossing of continents though, I'm worried it will get a bit rushed. (Photo: Shadow from airport security's observation window - Dabolim Airport, Goa, India)

There is so much to organise, it's a bit worrying, as soon as I settle in Wales again I get lethargic. Though there is so much to sort out, the motivation to do so is hard to find, I feel like curling up in a corner, hiding away from the world. It saps my energy, leaves me despondent. And this, I believe is why I've been hopping on planes so frequently, jetting off to the first place to grab my attention. I know it isn't quite as easy as that, I have maintained a desire to finish my book before setting off on another adventure. The effort to write at home seems too much for me, even now when there is so little left to do. I used to be such a dynamic person, now I feel everything is a huge effort, there isn't enough joy left in life. And folks, if you lead the life I have been recently, and still feel empty, something is wrong. I'm not complaining, nor feeling sorry for myself, this is my life, the one I've chosen to pursue. I didn't chose the circumstances under which it reached this point, but I still have options, I make my own choices as to the direction I now take. A fine line is still trodden though, between an emotionally devoid contentment, and upwellings of grief. Don't listen to those who assure you that you'll get over losing a loved one, if you do I doubt the depth of that love. But as I keep reminding myself, life goes on, which is also my own choice. (Photo: Gribbit - Namaste Guesthouse, Ohm Beach, Karnataka)

But sort stuff out I must, all my travel equipment, which hasn't seen the light of day since I got back from the Americas trip. My humongous bags of clothes, quietly sitting in my mum's attic, need redistributing. Boxes packed and stored in 2007 need routing out and clearing. But most importantly, my bike needs preparing, to make it the ultimate machine it can become, my ideal tour bike. Plenty enough to keep me busy, and I am getting on with it, honestly! There are drawbacks though, delving my hand into a side pocket of a bag, only to dig out something of Cai's, a personal item, stashed in his travel bag when we left for the States, all that time ago. That hit me hard, I hadn't felt so emotional for some time, but it passed, probably quicker than I'd have thought feasible. So time does make a difference, but it never goes away, the pain is always there, more gentle, more forgiving, but always waiting in the shadows. Realising this is important, it let's me accept it as a part of my present life, it isn't a hindrance. Nowadays, I smile at the memories of Cai more often than I cry! (Photo: Sunset over Newborough marsh - Ynys Mon, North Wales)

My head spins round in circles, trying to make sense of life, trying to keep my head above the clouds. North Wales drains me of motivation, saps me of emotional strength. But what am I whinging for? If my only words to write are of complaint, why do I bother? If my photos on here become merely random pictures to fulfil, am I missing the point? If I don't do anything worth writing about, then why bother. This Blog comes precariously close to its final days, due to finish with the completion of my book. I just need a good kick up the arse to keep me on track, keep my head engaged.

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