Never Look Back!
Monday 14th of April, D-Day. I have waited so long for this moment. 10 am fresh and ready to go. A last goodbye to all my friends and I jump on my bike, without thinking of it too much…
Never look back!
Exciting, crazy happy…. This is how people would probably describe the situation. However, starting this journey to the unknown is more a heart breaking experience than anything else really. You always know what you have never what you will get. And right know, I feel like I am jumping into the void. I realize, lately, along the first miles the real cost of my trip: the people I will miss during this year on my bike.
I have spent most of my time preparing my journey technically, but almost did nothing to prepare myself psychologically.
Closing The Door
When I close the door of my flat in Northern London this morning, I don’t have the keys in my pocket. I don’t have a room either. Someone already moved in and took my place. I don’t belong here anymore.
I know I am going to miss this place where I use to have good time with my flatmates. I have been leaving here since I arrived in London, three years ago. It is not a luxurious flat. It’s actually quite the opposite. It doesn’t even have a leaving room. But it has nice flatmates. And that makes difference!
I gave or sold everything I had except for what I am carrying with me: a tent, a camera, a cooking set, a sleeping bag, few cloths. Twenty-five kilograms of gears, just as much as I can load on my bike.
Behind me the door is closed. In front of me an endless road around the world.
With the first kilometres, I find out that spare tubes, components and even my way were of no importance. Only people matter.
It will take some adaptation for me to learn how to travel on my own, discover and enjoy all this world’s beauty alone. Adaptation also for my first nights wild camping.
Strange feeling to be alone in the middle of nowhere with just a tent, a bike and plenty of time to think about the trip, about the people I left, about joys and fears.
Spend your day on the road and you meet people you were not even supposed to talk to. Maybe because it seems that I have been a long way with my heavily loaded bike. Maybe because I am often asking directions. Or maybe because travelling alone makes me a very sociable animal.
That’s what happened when Etienne, a cider producer in Saint-Saire (near Dieppe), offered me to have a breakfast with him and his wife Virginie. It couldn’t have happened at a better time as I was struggling to warm up after an extremely cold wake up. Etienne and Virginie are the first people of exception I meet on my trip. The simplicity of their kindness is mindblowing.
Kindness is magic, it fed my belly and my heart at the same time and also gave me the strength for what would be the longest cycling day of the week.
Virginie and Etienne
From the very beginning of my journey, Great Britain seems to give me its best Goodbye. Great weather all along the road and for me the opportunity to rediscover all those charming places. Memory of my previous trip to Paris along the Avenue Verte.
The route is the same, the weather much better and the taste so much different. Last time, I was off for only few days… This time the perspective is completely different, It is just the beginning of an amazing journey.
“The greatest traveller is not the one who has ten times gone around the world, but the one who has explored himself.” (Gandhi)
This first week on the road was great and the perspective of my journey even greater. I know now that the challenge is even bigger than I expected but the beauty of it as well. I will get to learn as much on the world than on myself along my journey.
On my Way from Hailsham to Paris