Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's OK, You Can Skip to the End


"And then many things happened at the same moment."

-JK Rowling

It's interesting to sit and consider how plans form. I did this the other day after a giant moment of, "How did I get here?"

I was hanging around in Malvern, an upscale neighborhood of Melbourne where I often go to work, to fundraise in the street. It's a place where people park their Rolls Royces five feet from the curb, go shopping for tomatoes at $15/kg. They then swear at you when you ask them if they have a minute for mental health, and tell you they can't afford it

I didn't make that up.

I suppose that a theme of this blog has been travel. It's hard for me now to consider that I ever traveled, it being those wee morning hours and I have work at 9am. This whole work/holiday visa thing has turned out to be work and about ten days of holiday. But wasn't that the point?

I remember having a party at my house on a weekday in spring during my 2nd year of university. What a glorious spring that was! I had a massive test the next day, so I wasn't really doing much other than reading about brain plasticity and you know, synapses. I could hear distant noises through hallways and doors proving that there were other things in the world than study. I occupied the bedroom closest to the front door, which was often the first stop for visitors to the house. Visiting that night was a friend of mine named Pete. Pete had just returned from four months studying in Spain then traveling around France and elsewhere before returning back to Oregon. He had always been a motivating fellow, but for these few months after returning from his first time abroad, he was Inspiration itself. He walked in my front door and immediately plopped himself down on my bed before seeing what the goings on were deeper into the house. Happy to take a break I put my book down, gave my heartiest welcome to my house's newest guest, and embarked on a conversation that would last for hours. This would end up in a plan, even a pact, to ride our bicycles across the US in two years' time, after we had finished those degrees of ours.

At the time we hadn't really heard of people doing that but we were sure that there were roads spanning the continent, and if bikes went on roads and we went on bikes, then we could traverse this landmass. Our eager friend Kelvin jumped on board and joined us. Sure enough, two years later with degrees in hand we set out from Charles G Washburn State Park on the Pacific Ocean in Oregon to land 2.5 months later on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. This was the longest I had ever planned ahead for anything, by about a year. I still can't believe that we did it. It opened up a wide door for me in terms of what was possible with a little time, a bicycle, and some cash. You can read all about it at www.rollingrealdeep.blogspot.com.

Two years after that I had another idea burning in my head, only made possible by my experience riding across America. I wanted to ride across Eurasia. I really only wanted to go to Central Asia, and I thought it would be easy and practical enough to get there by bike. I didn't want to go alone because I wanted to share the story with someone. Reminiscing about the trip across the US was so much sweeter with Pete and Kelvin, my companions. After a lot of talk and not much planning, I sat down with a friend of mine named Jake R and ordered some pizza and some beer in North Portland. After some pizza and some beer in North Portland, we were bellowing of what it would be like to cross the Caspian Sea in a ferry to Turkmenistan. A few days later Jaco went back to Berkeley and told me he'd think about it. He said he'd call me soon to tell me if he was into the idea. Jaco called me a few days later and told me he had found a Russian dictionary in a box on the streets of North Berkeley. Although not a supersticious man, Jaco nonetheless interpreted this as a sign, and we began planning to ride our bikes from Portugal to China. Then we did it, and near the end I began running out of money. This happened in Yunnan Province, in the South of China. I was told it would be a good idea to go to Australia with a work/holiday visa and make more money if I wanted to keep cruising. The next day-which would have been about a year ago-I bought my visa and plane ticket from Hong Kong to Perth. A few months after that, it's spring again in the southern hemisphere and here I am in Melbourne, making new plans.

So that's how I got here, eh? This conversation with Pete in my room when I was 20 years old got me to Malvern, contemplating how people getting into Rolls Royces can't afford a few dollars a month for mental health? Well, maybe. It's kind of silly to think of life as, "EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE HAS LED TO THIS VERY ONE!" Jaco and I would joke about that at times, although I'm not sure if he remembers. Maybe he can post a comment about that on this blog? JK Jake, you know how it is! I'm getting distracted. Not every moment has brought me here, but there are a few moments that I like to think have played some good roles. And I can think of a moment that is bringing me to my next plan: when I realized flying through Shanghai to Mexico City was cheaper than any other route! This brings me to Shanghai for a week for Thanksgiving with my blond-haired cousin Max, then Mexico City and riding north from there to the city of:

The Oakland Athletics clinched a spot in the American League playoffs with the lowest payroll in the league! So if anyone need a young, vibrant, dynamic, revolutionary baseball team to follow, follow the A's, now more than ever!

1 comment:

  1. N. Andre, great blog! After reading the entirety of the other blog you've linked us, the readers, to, I've found that you in fact arrived at Ship Bottom, New Jersey 2.9 months after setting off from Carl G. Washburn State Park. I thought 2.5 seemed a bit hasty. How long (in decimaled months) did it take you to cross Eurasia?

    ReplyDelete