I am tired now, I think I will go home Forest Gump’s brilliant words come to mind as I push the pedals on first gear up the Cordillera Blancha road in N. Peru’s national park. My legs towing the weight of my bicycle bags, they are strapped behind me on the rack. The pedals spin round as they have for 5 continuous years of touring, a 40 country, 5 continent effort that will soon complete my first bicycle tour.
It's about the journey not the destination I remind myself while percolating with gratitude at all the places I have seen in the past years. Peru’s high altitude glaciated gorgeous mountains vistas north of Huaraz strain my eyes, my cold hands clasps the handlebars. I lean forward and continue up the mountain to 15,000ft.
The goal of cycling a line around the world was accomplished, 2 weeks ago, when I reached the coast at the Pacific Ocean south of Lima. I am cooked, done, chewed, crispy, burnt, finished; it is time to move on to the next life chapter. The lessons learned from bicycle touring I will always cherish. The basic kindness of humanity all over the world will stay with me, the beauty of living simply I will take with me to my next home.
However, the exit plan has gotten as logistically complicated as the cycling around the world goal.
Solo Female Cyclist Dream Road
A paper work problem on moving to a farm, 6 miles from the ocean on the east coast of the USA, (I am Canadian) prevented me from flying out of Lima and then an expired bank card furthered the delay. Allowing me to gratefully be able to pedal N. Peru and speak to the Huaraz, Peru newspaper about women's bicycle touring.
Once you rush through something you have already decided it isn’t important…I cheer myself up from another delay and remind myself of what I love best of about slow bicycle travel and this weeks facebook and twitter post:
Photo bomb a mountain? Took a wrong turn at 15,000+ feet, went down a trail into a valley N. Peru, (a jokester of a woman in the village insisted I was going the right way). Then I proceeded to push my bike + 55pds of gear back up the steep loose rocky path for 6hrs. Eventually, I decided it was time to start having some fun. What a perfect opportunity for my new “photo bomb’ hobby. Moral of the story, when lost and getting your ass kicked by altitude and confusion a photo bomb can greatly improve the situation.
The only thing that remains now is how to end this world tour. Forest Gump it? I am tired now, I think I will go home...just stop. Interestingly, carrying on is not an option, not unless I rename Pandemic The Magic Bicycle ‘Wilson’ from Cast Away. Socially speaking, I am long over due for a stable social life.
I read somewhere that to go around the world, one must cycle in a continuous direction a minimal of 18,000 miles (29,000 km) and cross the equator at least 3 times. I have never been interested in mathematics, my actual mileage is unknown but since I cycle everywhere except when removed from my bicycle because of security that I have doubled or more likely tripled that distance. Ending on the equator, on the Pacific skinny dipping with a beer in my hand, that sounds good? How would you complete a bicycle tour?