Almost five months since we left. It does not feel like that at all. Maybe it is the nature of the Australasia section of this trip, or just our way of doing things. Regardless, we never fell into a mid-term rhythm resembling anything like the baseline “being at home, working”. Don’t get me wrong, we are creatures of habit, and Nina and I in particular are very quick to adopt a particular daily regiment. What defines this trip for me though is that the rhythm we adopt is constantly changed. Three weeks of “doing the same” is pretty much the longest period we had on this trip. Then the music stops, and it starts again with an entirely different beat, sometimes almost a different “genre”.
So right now, we are in another one of these slow sections. 11 days of “rest”. We get up, have a shared breakfast around 9, then either an activity or slow time until the afternoon. A coffee break, and dinner at 7.30 pm, pretty much every day. I must say, as exhausting as travelling is, for some reason these times away from the bike are in a way the hardest for us. After a hard three week push through Sumatra, we needed that change of pace. But in every rest period so far, we have gotten restless again, maybe 5 days into it.
So what is it we take away from that? Well, first there is no real feeling for what “the trip” as a whole is at its core. It is in some ways the opposite of a single thing; it is the constant presence and pressure of change. There is a underlying theme, that red line on the map on our pannier. Every section is linked back to this, and they are sometimes linked to each other. But the route is nothing tangible, it is only a remote pressure, an idea beyond the horizon.
On a more tangible level, we have learned something about how we can structure the sections better. The right mix of travel and rest days seems to be 6 to 1 (what an interesting coincidence), at least for us. And three weeks of traveling is really pushing it. If we had full control over it, I would try to aim for no longer than 2 weeks of travel with breaks of 2-3 days in between.
About the initial question, what is the trip about? What is the overarching “feel” of it? The tag line? It might be the wrong question. It might be that it is nothing more than an expression of wanderlust and curiosity, and the question to what it was about is also the answer. To find an answer, to have something to impart with meaning, to chew on, even in the years to come. Finding a good answer to “why do we go?” is a big reason to go in the first place …