I have decided to leave my job, the city I live in and all my wonderful friends in London who make the city worth living in. After two years in the capital I feel the need to move on and have a more stereotypical adventure. I settled on the idea of cycling to Istanbul. A quick internet search suggested I follow the Rhine then Danube and Google Maps tells me its about 2000 miles. I’ve guessed I can cycle 300 miles a week and have booked a flight back to the UK in May. Departure day, or D-Day as I like to call it, is the 25th of March.
The anticipation of an expedition like the one I am undertaking is probably the best part of the journey. I feel I am waking up from two years of sedation, after the numbing effect of repeatedly being rattled in the gloom and fluorescent flicker of the Bakerloo line. I have an over eagerness which ignores the practicalities of actually cycling 60 miles a day. My longest ever bike ride so far is 30 miles, after which pain woke me in the night with burning agony throughout my thighs. I relish the concerned looks and laughter when people discover my folly. I enjoy the sense of nervous unease when I feel unprepared or unable to do it. I am already feeling the health benefits of a more foolish life. I remember the sense of relief when I booked my flight and the elation at handing in my notice. I like my job but the decisive moment when I burnt my metaphorical ships and had to go through with it was exhilarating.
For now I prepare, more spiritually than practically. I am contemplating failure and trying to imagine the loneliness, isolation and fear. D-day is six weeks away and I will get round some training but for now I’ll enjoy the excitement of adventure.