Monday, October 18, 2010

The Wheels Come Off the Bike

How much I enjoy my travels is based on how I am feeling mentally. I need to keep my mental reservoir from emptying out to keep enjoying myself. Bad experiences, physical fatgiue, and a lack of quiet can drain that reservoir. Experiencing amazing things, resting, hearing from home (hint, hint) and great personal interactions can fill it back up. When I head out on trips, I usually start out with a big reserve and slowly chip away at it because I do so much. This is a calculated decision and I usually come out ahead, tired, but ahead, because they are shorter trips.

When I was planning this trip, I knew it was not a great time for a trip. I was run down from not having a stable base for four months. While I had a single place to sleep while training in New Zealand, I did not make it mine because I was leaving after two months. I also mixed in a bunch of mini trips. Then, I started harder traveling in Australia, Hawaii, and closed it out with a two month road trip in the states. So while I knew I already running on low, I also had to buy a flight to Europe and was unemployed. It was an ideal situation for travel. I felt I had to take advantage of the situation. I'd just find new ways to keep myself moving. I think the one big thing that I did not factor in was that the the bike trip would tire me out more than usual and there would be no immediate end in sight.

All this build up is to say, that I emptied the reservoir and found the wall in Turkey. As I slept that night in Fethiye, I decided that I had really struggled in Turkey to do my daily 100km. Greece had been hard at times, but fine. I was able to push though. If I had kept to my original schedule, I would have been flying home in three weeks and I think the excitement of getting home would have continued to push me through. However, since I had pushed back my flight by almost six weeks and had nine total to go, I did not have that motivation to drive me. Something was holding me back. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the weeks of crappy sleep from shoulder pain. Maybe it was the pressure of keeping to a schedule. Maybe the reservoir was overdrawn. I know the idea of going home made me happy, but I also knew some of my best adventures were yet to come. I decided that easing up was the best way to fill up the reservoir and get 'me' back. I decided to take the Blue Cruise.

Taking the cruise, would force me to bike very hard for two weeks afterward to keep on schedule though. Instead of doing that and tiring myself right back out, I decided that I just needed to bike smaller parts of Turkey. I would take buses and kick back a little bit. Unfortunately, when there is a crack in the wall, it is easy for it become a gusher. This kicking back slowly evolved into biking almost none of Turkey and even skipping sights that I had wanted to visit. I skipped them to have more than one night in a place. Being in a new place and packing/unpacking every day also wears me out. Well, that might not wear me out, but it definitely does not fill the reservoir back up. The best part is that while I was bummed I was missing out on some great biking, I didn't mind. I was doing what I needed to do to keep enjoying myself and realized that. My bike tour is over. I am now doing a bike-as-much-as-I-can-but-do-whatever-I need-to-keep-enjoying-myself-especially-in-this-freaking-heat tour.

My great new plan of living it up in Turkey also played very well into my financial woes. My ATM card broke and when you bike, you need cash for the rural areas. Sticking to tourist areas, taking buses, having to eat in finer restaurants, and needing to stay in non-budget hotels would all slowly fill the reservoir back up and, hopefully, give my ATM card enough time to arrive. Ten days minimum to my mother who would overnight it to me. No express service available from the bank. Ugh. These are the things that drain the reservoir, but also the adventures we love to talk about later when they end well.

At the end of my Turkish travels, my ATM card had not arrived at my mother's house. I called the bank. It had been ten days and they still had not even ordered the card. No explanation why. I would need to wait ten more days. I decided to move on to Syria where my brother Tait bailed me out by wiring me money. Tait, thanks again. Thank you also to Daglar, Terri, Reina, my mom, Herb and Judy, Sam and Kat, Michael, and all the others who helped me stay afloat or offered to bail me out. You guys help fill the reservoir.


  1. Since this

    Asked a guy three times if he would take me to hotel in minibus. I thought this was odd because minibuses normally go to special station. I paid extra for hotel. He went to station. Grr. grr. grr.

    In anger, I left my 5 hour only ride 2km in helmet in his car. $100. gone. back to riding without a helmet. They don't sell them in Syria. Hopefully, I'll find one in Jordan.

  2. and excited to be wrapping up a second great day on the bike. 140km then 100km. I had been going up hill a long time. Time to cruise down into Jerash, Jordan....unfortunately my rear cassette (all the rear gears) stopped free spinning when I was not pedaling. I assume it is ball bearings. Someone worked on it and made it functional but it isn't good enough to get to Cairo. back to buses!

  3. how could I forget..i also got hit by a car on my way back from the 5 bike shops in Damascus that don't sell them. I had tried two other in the north before getting the one in Beirut. I dont think Syria sells bike helmets, just motorcyle ones.

  4. wow...I stopped writing grammatically correct on this. I was hit by a car after looking for a helmet. too much typing in a hurry.