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Day 0 – No turning back

(Please excuse the following introspection. This is as much a personal journal as a public blog.)

So I’m sat at Atlanta airport, in transit. No turning back now – this is for real now! After what seems like months of planning, preparing, talking and thinking about this ridiculous cycling trip, I’m now doing it. And its a tad bit scary!

A brief summary of how I’m feeling:

  • Tired of answering the same 4-5 questions in every conversation I have (don’t get me wrong – I totally appreciate the interest, its just nice to be able to have different conversations now.)
  • Excited to be finally getting on with it. No more worrying about what else I should be sorting out/buying/practicing/researching – its just all about the cycling now.
  • Worried. About whether my body will cope with the physical challenge. About whether my mind will cope with the mental challenge. About whether my companions will cope with the challenge of putting up with me 24/7 for three months! About my bike breaking and not being able to repair it. About crashing/having an accident.

The worrying thing is a new one for me. I’m not a worrier by nature – I prefer to take a risk and see what happens. But it feels like this is the perhaps the first time I’m putting myself way out of my comfort zone for a prolonged period. And I find myself just hoping that at the end of it all I’ll have enjoyed and appreciated it. Reminds me of Paul’s words in the Bible: “I have learnt to be content in all circumstances”. Perhaps this is what my aim for this trip should be. To be content, whatever happens.

On a lighter note, I must pay homage to my colleague Paul for unwittingly passing on his skills in price-negotiation. It took a nerve-wracking 20 minutes of meticulously-jovial ‘discussion’ with the Delta ticket desk official before we were allowed to pay the much lower 55 EUR KLM/Air France fee for the bikes, rather than the obscenely high 200 EUR Delta fee. Maybe I’m learning – in days gone by I’d have just given in or lost my cool.

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Start as you mean to go on...

14 Responses to “Day 0 – No turning back”

  1. Cat says:

    Graham, you do realise you’ll have a bunch of 4/5 new questions that everyone will ask you along the way?….

    Have a great time! Looking forward to reading all about it.

    Good luck to your companions dealing with you 24/7 for 3 months!! 😉

  2. Mum says:

    Can hardly believe you are actually about to set off! So excited for you – and praying hard that the ‘all circumstances’ won’t include too many trying ones at the start!

  3. Liz Powell (you know, the social worker) says:

    I’m not sure that inn is so ancient…may God protect your body,mind and soul…remember though, he has a sense of humour x

  4. Ninjim says:

    Why does the glass in the photo look like a modified jam jar?

    Also, while on the subject of the photo – of which I hope there are many – either you’ve been on the sunbeds/spray tan or you (meaning the photographer) need to check the white balance settings before pressing the magic button!

    Been waiting for your journey to begin … keep the updates coming!

  5. Jim says:

    Chin up!

    Just remind yourself of the alternative – not cycling across America. That doesn’t sound like much fun, now does it!

    Regards,
    Jealous of Cambridge

  6. Rodney says:

    I’m sure the worries will disappear once you’re on the road for a few days… Enjoy!

  7. Rodney says:

    Oh, and on the topic of getting the same 4 questions all the time – I found that if you start making stuff up, it removes the tedium. I must have had about 10 different interchangable stories of why I’m in the UK…

    Or, alternatively, print the answers on a card, and just hand it so someone when you meet them the first time :)

  8. Alan Hensure says:

    I’m coming… Just waiting for my BMX to clear customs.

  9. Charles says:

    Quit worrying, the hard part is over (planning, airlines, airports, security). Now all you have is the pysical challenge and mother nature to contend with, the rest is small stuff.
    Enjoy it!

  10. Sasha says:

    Waaahoooo! Very exciting! Looking forward to pedaling up hill (a lot) with you and Matt in 6 weeks! I’d say worrying is just a reflection of how much you’ve already invested into making this trip possible. The good news is that all of that preparation has indeed prepared you thoroughly. You’re ready, you’re set, GO!!

  11. Jessie says:

    I hope my countrymen aren’t given you trouble…They do think all their nosey questions are interesting for you to answer. Honest.

    Go.Go.Go.Pedal.

  12. Dustin says:

    Looking forward to falling your blog, I will try to let you know if I can give any pointers ahead on the road. Only first real one in Hindman, KY don’t talk to the historical society but meet with the First Baptist Youth Ministry. They will hook you up with a place to sleep for free.

  13. Sarah says:

    as your flatmate i sympathise with the putting up with you 24/7 goodness knows how they’ll manage that :0)

    i once read that worrying is like a rocking chair. it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere! easier said than done but you’re on a lifetime experience – enjoy!

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