Current Location: Streaky Bay (South Australia)
“There were so many fewer questions when stars were still just the holes to
-Jack Johnson, On and On
“Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Some comparative stats for all you statisticians (some of these are
Year 1: 12,652 km
Year 2: 8123 km
Total: 20,775 km
Distance by boat:
Year 1: 2000 km
Year 2: 4500 km
Total: 6500 km
Year 1: 39
Year 2: 11
Total audience of slideshow presentations:
Year 1: 4000
Year 2: 8500
Nights in tent:
Year 1: 39
Year 2: 37
(incredibly, this means on nearly all the other nights I have been hosted by
incredibly generous people… apart from twice in Russia and about twenty
times in China, I have never stayed in hostels. Before I set off on this
journey, I thought I would be in my tent every night, as it turns out, the
opposite is the case)
Money raised for Viva Network:
Year 1: 8100 GBP
Year 2: 5053 GBP
Total: 13,153 GBP
Days since left home: 740
Days until I get home: 400 ?!
Distance to home: I have no idea!
The first year of this expedition was a big challenge to me, in that I had
to learn to survive extreme weather conditions (in Siberia), how to live a
life constantly on the move, and how to cope with the fact that virtually
everybody I ever meet is a “new” acquaintance (though often a very nice new
acaquaintance, I am pleased to say!).
The second year has been full of different sorts of challenges: I can
firstly say that the cycling has been the easy bit, and the hardest parts
have been logistical – organising boats, visas, routes and dates. This time
a year ago, I was still in Hong Kong, scrutinizing maps and trying to find a
plausible route for getting to Australia without a plane. Even with the help
of the internet, there seemed to be a lot of things I could not find out: is
there a ferry from the Philippines to Indonesia, and if not, can I hitch a
ride on a cargo ship ; if I arrive in Indonesia by boat, will they give me a
visa ; is there a road along the north coast of Papua New Guinea ??? It
seemed the only way I could find out would be just to go and try – nothing
ventured, nothing gained.
By October I was committed to a plan, and began it by sailing with fellow
Englishmen John and Steve across the South China Sea to the Philippines. In
November, I did find a cargo ship to Indonesia, and the port officials even
let me sleep on the floor in their police station for 3 nights. In Papua New
Guinea there did turn out to be roads (though sometimes only suitable for
carrying/pushing the bike along), and then, quite to my suprise, in March I
finally stepped off a dive boat and onto Australian soil.
Australia has been rather hectic in a different way. Administratively, I
think this expedition has now outgrown my capabilities, and in order to
organise charity events, paid work in schools, and meeting of contacts along
the way, I often spend entire days just rattling the keys of a computer. For
a little while I became rather grumpy about this, but now I see it has been
another good learning curve… there is a season for everything and this
trip was never intended to be a holiday (though I have had several lovely
holidays with Christine in the last year too).
Australia also lobbed a couple of unexpected bonus adventures at me in the
form of Cyclone Larry and more recently a bout of tropical disease – in both
cases the Australians came to my rescue – Nikki and her family gave me
shelter in their house the night of the cyclone, and Tom in Melbourne kindly
had me to stay as I regained strength after the malaria. All that remains
now in this land of long roads is a 2000 km ride across the empty Nullarbor
Plain to Perth … and then I will be hiking a boat ride back to Singapore
and the intoxicating, headspinning wonder of Asia.
Fromthere, the next 365 days will hopefully bring me right to the
heartlands of Europe, but there are quite a few final challenges to
negotiate in-between: a winter in Tibet, the Karakoram and Pamir Highways in
summer, the unpredictable border crossings of the Near East… but I am also
looking forward to simplifying life again – life on the high roads of Asia
where I can camp behind any boulder and do not have to constantly race to
get to my next appointment.
I mentioned in my last email that I am making a conscious effort not to
worry about things that lie ahead, and I find it helpful also to recall some
of my moods from the last year – where the way ahead looked simply
impossible (or insane!), and yet, with a bit of perseverence and help from
all sorts of quarters, somehow everything worked out well. I hope and pray
everything works out ok this year too!
Many thanks for all your support and prayers,
To support Viva Network and their heroic work for children at risk around
the world, please visit www.justgiving.com/cyclinghomefromsiberia
This is a little reflection from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin which I thought
was rather good:
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are all, quite naturally,
impatient in everything to reach the end
We should like to skip
the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being
on the way to something unknown,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually –
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today
what time (that is to say, grace and
circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you
and accept the anxiety of
feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
Tags: After two years