Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
Well off again, that was a short stay at home. But then that was the plan.
Last fall I was working on the ski jumps preparing them for winter, when my friend Buck called having just returned from a trekking trip in Nepal. He was excited about a potential bicycle trip there, and was inquiring about interest. He mentioned the devastation from the earthquake in April of 2015. It seems much of the aid is often misused and is short term. The only real way to help, is get their tourism industry back on track. Buck was contacting a few people whom we had ridden the Andes trail with and it looked like a great group of people and a great trip. Sign me up!
In 1988 I trekked the Annapurna circuit. At that time it was very much a trek without vehicle support. 4 of us took about 4 weeks with 2 porters and a guide. We did not understand the inns and such and camped out the entire trip, cooking our own meals, carrying our tents, and setting our own camps. ( often paying an inn 50 cents or so to stay in their yard).
Then in 1992 Jeanne and I spent 2 1/2 months trekking, including 2 weeks on the western side of Annapurna circuit, skipping the 17650foot (5600 meter) thorong la pass. This time we got a vehicle ride for the first part as the Chinese were building a road to Tibet and it was partially completed.
Nepal was very different in those 4 years. In 1988 the black market was alive and well, in 92 the government had begun to figure out money. Also the tourist industry was more developed. Jeanne and I stayed in inns and ate there although we had camping gear, but did not use. And a lot more people were there. Nepal had been discovered.
And so I am returning to the Annapurna circuit, this time to ride on a bicycle. Apparently it is 75% rideable with the rest being hike-a-bike. Exciting. Back to biking at altitude. Thinking the trip to the great divide will help acclimate but we were only at 9500 feet which we will be at on day two or three. Also going to the mustang area which was still closed to tourists in 88 and 92. A friend of Nancy Brady, braught coughtburn (sp.) in Jackson Wyoming, said the road was in, but we would be riding faster than the buses due to rough conditions. Yahoo.
Anyway arrangements made and here I go again. It is a bit too busy for me, but sometimes when an opportunity hits one has to take it. Only a week from getting off the divide which was awesome and feeling bad we did not get to finish. Spent the past week giving the bike some much needed loving care. Replaced bottom bracket, new chain, replace tires with something hopefully more appropriate for the terrain, cleanse thoroughly, and take apart again for packing. This the same bike used in South America which I love. It is a 26″ wheels, a front suspension fork and pulls apart to carry in a duffle bag and the wheels are in a wheel bag. Gear gets packed into the bags for padding and two bags are 16 and 22 kilograms. No extra charge or hassle for flying.
Have been thinking of traveling recently. Why is it some people go and others just like to stay at home. Nothing wrong with either. Sometimes it is nice to develop an understanding of ones home. Jeanne’s mom was one. She had an adventurous spirit, but it was sometimes difficult to leave St. Louis because, well this week is this and that week has this other thing going on. She loved St. Louis although understood there ere other places in the world.
Inertia is another thing. Sometimes one gets settled into a routine and it is hard to break. Sometimes I think though people are afraid of something new and or different. My dad used to tell me before I left on a trip “you be careful out there! They do things different there, not better or worse, just different”.
I remember the first Asian toilet I saw in Thailand. Wow one sometimes thinks we have it figured out and then there was this hole in the floor one squats over. Hmmm
That is part of the adventure, seeing different ways of doing things. Live and learn. Maybe it works better if you allow yourself to realize there are differences and those can be good.
I grew up traveling, maybe not exotic places, but going to relatives in different parts of the country. Seeing new sights, new landscsapes. We moved a lot which meant learning to meet new friends.
In 1962 I got to travel cross country with my cousin and uncle taking three weeks. Chicago, Florida, and across the southern United States to California. Whew they had different attitudes in the south. I am still jaded.
Then in 1964 on an afternoon jaunt to Yellowstone (we lived nearby) I saw a group of bikers riding across the United States. Wow. In 1965 I took off on a train alone to philadelphia where I joined 10 other 16 and 17 year olds. The trip leader was 22 years old. We biked for a month in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and washington D. C. Not sure one could do that now as a teenager but I was hooked.
Over the years I did numerous trips by bicycle. Always interesting, sometimes difficult, sometimes I quit, sometimes just a chance to connect with myself. I was reading John Steinbeck “travels with Charlie” one mid November and just got the urge to go, so took off across Colorado in November. A week later I wrote a philosophy paper about the trip for a college class. Good results as a remember, although later flunked as a philosophy major. The point was to just go.
Sometimes it is good to break ones routine. Get out of the rut. Stop being comfortable. Scare oneself. Life is not easy and we as a species are not designed for easy. We are designed to work, figure it out and perhaps that way we can survive. If we sit and just watch the world, soon enough it will just pass us by and sooner than we expect we will be left behind.
It is scary, what happens if something goes wrong. I worry on this trip of a multitude of potential issues. What happens if I get sick, what happens if the bike breaks, what happens if I embarrass myself, what happens, what do I do? On and on. Ok just deal with it, enjoy the journey, there will be problems, enjoy them. There is good and bad in the world and eliminating the bad just removes the ability to see the good. Diversity is good as sometimes memories are created by hardships.
This time around not only do I get to see new things but establish new connections and restablish old connections. One never knows what will happen but we have a group of 8 from USA, Australia, South Africa, Netherlands. That should provide different viewpoints.
And for those who want to follow locations here is the spot address
J. R. Spot location
This site may or may not be useful. I am expecting internet to be very sporadic, intermittant, slow, and weak.
So I still have not answered why some travel and some do not. I guess there is no answer, we are all different. The diversity of life on earth. One does not have to travel. I seem to remember a story of Jules Verne who felt he did not need to travel because he accomplished it in his writings. Sometimes traveling in your own mind is the best.
I just like the experience. Enjoy!