Few weeks ago as we were on the way to Cusco and I was in a grumpy mood (happens a lot for some reason), Carl and I had a small fallout when he wanted to take a photo of us on the bike, but I got really angry about it, as we had been riding for several hours, my bottom was in pain and all I wanted was to get to our destination, not to take some silly photos. At that point he murmured something like – if you don’t like being on a bike, you should have chosen a different type of transport. I did not say anything at all and we got back on the road, but deep down it made me really upset and I was raging in my head. I wanted to shout out loud that I don’t care about his stupid bike and the only reason I came to this trip was to share the adventure with him and to see why likes to travel so much. I felt like he was being unfair to me and with all his years of experience of traveling around the world on his bike, he did not understand that to me it was a massive effort, painful at the times and, truly, maybe not my preferred mode of moving around. Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut and it gave me more time to rethink my attitude and possibly avert a big argument (as in my head I was already marching off to buy the plane tickets to go home, not dramatic at all!).
The cause of our argument – I closed my helmet, because I was really angry, but later I had to laugh as I look like a proper fatty in this photo
What I did not know at the time, was the fact that I would slowly change in unexpected ways. It would not be a massive change, but little things. For example, I cannot point out the exact moment when I suddenly felt that I am becoming better at packing my belongings quickly and strapping them to the bike – a task which seemed so annoying in the first month of the trip (if you missed out on my miserable thoughts in the Month 1, click here). When something broke down, I was trying to help or was curious to see how it would be fixed. Somehow it started to feel that Carl and I are a team, instead of him doing everything and me just sulking in the corner, feeling useless.
For all the pain my poor bottom had endured as a result of many hours on the back of the bike, there came a day when, after staying in one place for a while (something I usually rejoice about), I uttered – I cannot wait to be back on the bike again and go somewhere else! Wait, I said WHAT?? Could that be a travel spirit awakening in me? For suddenly I was longing to be on the bike, to watch the scenery pass by and to revel in the pleasant excitement of reaching yet another destination. I started to enjoy offroad riding more, for I concentrated on the sense of achievement that followed an especially rough part of the road, rather than allowing the bumpiness and discomfort make me annoyed.
There are days now when I daringly daydream about a possibility of owning my own bike and riding it myself (and there have been plenty of enthusiastic motorcycle riders met on the way saying – go for it!). And where I swore to myself that this would be my last bike adventure, now I picture both of us riding in the sunset to another adventure (on two bikes this time, I am still done with being a pillion).
Another thing I am tackling is my ability to socialise with new people. Despite the fact, that I am usually considered outgoing and don’t tend to have problems opening up to people, I struggle with engaging with unknown people, mostly fearing rejection. Like, why would this person want to talk with me, or what would they think of me, if I would randomly approach them? Staying in backpacker hostels removes some of the barriers, as most of the people are eager to socialise, they want to know about the other traveler, they want advice, they want to share experiences. For all my resistance of initiating contact, I have managed to start conversations, ask unknown people to come out for a lunch with me, because traveling makes you crave the contact, it makes you curious and wanting to know more about countries you have not visited yet, more about the people on your way and their reasons for doing, essentially the same thing you are doing.
For all the cheerful and positive talk, there are still days when the road seems to stretch to nowhere and the showers have only cold water, but I have come to accept that it is absolutely fine and part of the deal. There are many more positives and negatives coming our way, but I don’t feverishly daydream about my own bed anymore, choosing to cherish every moment I have here instead as one day this will be but a memory to have.
P.S. I have been reading a lot of travel blogs lately and I stumbled upon this beautiful post from Lauren at Never Ending Footsteps. Even though, I have been posting about my thoughts here, I still sometimes wondered if it is not cringy to be so open about all the bad stuff, but after reading Lauren’s post, I found it so inspiring that I have promised myself to be as honest as possible and to continue to self-reflect on a regular basis even if it is just for my own benefit.