Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Throw back 2015

This year sees me crossing the 10000km mark into Turkey, losing a day of memory, getting stung by bee, mad dashed through Turkmenistan with a tyre burst, dealing with umpteen bureaucracy crap (a universal visa will be great!), cycling up many passes (also highest altitude to date), losing my temper to unethical men, pedalling through challenging terrains & weather conditions, having the most diarrhoea days ever in my whole life while in the 'Stans' countries (Giardiasis maybe) and after all these I am still beaming with smiles and have to say 2015 has been a blast cruising with my trusty Thorn through striking landscapes and indulging in unconditional hospitality. Even now after 18mths I find it unbelievable to be where I've been, soaking in the beauty of nature, the undisturbed, tranquil and sometimes deep silence. People still played a vital part on this tour, they showed me love, joy, magnanimous, compassion and so much more. They are like angels who appeared miraculously when you thought you had the shitty-est day, they are a reminder that its not the professions, thickness of paychecks, religion or sexuality that defines a person but ones characters. On the other hand, I see how we've let media instill fear in us or wrongly imagined a country we've never been, how men assumes solo women travellers are ''easy going'', how tourism have changed local people both good and bad ways, problems with inequality, pollution, waste disposal, dental (very young kids with a mouthful of rotten teeth) / health care / sanitary issues and how modern developments are slowly draining places of their tradition / original charm.... so much so much that I can't put down in words... I will not experienced these if I live life cautiously...

By the by, at snail speed, I am now half way through my journey and also not far from the 20000km milestones. Thank you Every Single One of you... I will keep roving after my 'winter hibernation' and lets all look forward to another great year. Best wishes to all and to my cycling friends, tailwind / good health / great weather!

Here are the common questions being asked:
1. Where are you from (asked repeatedly a zillion times daily)? 
2. Are you married? 
3. Are you alone? 
4. How old are you? On average they think I'm 22.
5. What is your religion? (especially from Turkey onwards)
6. Are you not scared? 

Thorn is still fit apart from the following:
- Punctures: Germany 2no, Austria 2no, Turkey 1no, Turkmenistan 2no, Uzbekistan 2no, Tajikistan 3no, Kyrgyzstan 2no 
- Tube: Greece 1no, Tajikistan 1no  
- Tyre: Greece 1no (manufacture problem), Tajikistan 1no (due to burst in Turkmenistan)
- V-Brake: Greece 1no (rear)
- Brake pads: Lost count