This time last year I was having the time of my life, pedalling across South Korea.
Now, I am back in the UK and back in a normal job.
Every morning, I get up at the same time, put the kettle on, eat my breakfast, make a packed lunch and cycle to work.
Every afternoon, I come home, unpack my bag, make dinner, wash up and pack my bag ready for the morning.
Well, in answer to that, here are two things I learned spending 16 months on my bike:
1. Cycling around the world does indeed throw up many weird and wonderful situations but it also involves the most repetitive and mundane of routines.
I still had to get up every morning but the difference on our trip was that we also had to pack up our bed, pack up our house and fit it all into four small bags. The same routines existed – morning coffee, evening meals – they just took twice as long and double the effort.
Waking up somewhere new every day is exciting.
Rolling up the same sleeping bag, deflating the same mat and stuffing away the same tent is not.
2. Routines are good.
As much as we whinged about the boredom of having to pack and unpack the same items into and out of the same places every day, there was a certain satisfaction to the familiarity. Moreover, we needed it.
Being plunged into new places, meeting new people and trying new things all the time is fun. But it’s also tiring.
Sometimes that mindless routine of pedal, pee, pedal, eat, pedal, sleep was exactly what I needed. Indeed, there were many times on the trip that I desperately craved the simple routines of a “normal life” back home.
In other words, “normal life” may be full of routines but so is cycling around the world. And that is no bad thing.
- I use “cycling around the world” in the loosest sense. You’ll see on our map it was hardly comprehensive.
- “Normal life” is deliberately in quote marks. It’s patronising. See here and here.
- You might find the profoundness of this blog post slightly undermined by the fact that I’ve only actually managed 3 weeks in full time employment before feeling the need to write it.