The long way round

Be focused, be persistent, never quit. The long way round

Remember me my love, I’m the one you’re dreaming of
Going for a ride, I’ll keep you warm inside
I’m Gonna roll up the sidewalk, I’m gonna tear up the ground
Comin’ round to meet you, The long way round
Sooner or later, I’ll get me off this track
Gotta do what it is that I do and then I’m – coming back
Got sun in my face, sleeping rough on the road
I’ll tell you all about it, when I get home
Gonna roll up the sidewalk, I’m gonna tear up the ground
Comin’ round to meet you, The long way round
– Long Way Round by Stereophonics

A long time ago, someone sent me the lyrics of this song. Truth is I never understood the meaning of that gesture.

Ever since I left Patagonia, and it’s now been a few months, I haven’t felt myself. I feel empty, without energy. I blamed the stress of changing continent, getting my gear organized again (after selling the bike to pay for the plane ticket), settling in a new land with different customs and cultures, different languages and different animals.

Crossing the border between South Africa and Namibia I was convinced that the energy was returning, and the momentum needed to continue crossing the African continent was surfacing.

Immediately began a series of bad luck that led to damage to different parts of my equipment (among other things: tent, stove, dry bags, anythingcage, etc); with the trouble also arrived a very strong, cold wind; sandstorms; nights when the tent was filled with sand (sleeping bag, liner, face: all covered with sand!). And then the rainy days… well, I brought rain even in the Namib desert.

I began to feel the weight of three years on the road, with only 14 days to go to the three candles. Three years lived intensely but also three challenging years, three years spent looking for the best way to survive, where to spend the night, where to find water and food every day, where to minimize any risk.

The person I was in love with went away and then I lost a dear friend.

Suddenly, the adventure’s weight became overwhelming. I began to reflect on whether the cost of this expedition is greater than what I am willing to spend.

I have already been vagabonding for three years and I expect at least as many to complete the round the world journey.

What is the cost? The cost is to always be away from the affections, from friends, from family, pausing my life for six/seven years, to be constantly under the stress of surviving by meeting primary needs on a daily basis that most people take for granted: water, food, keeping warm and dry, finding a safe place to spend the night.

Being constantly focused on these primary needs I became very selfish, putting my project always at the centre of everything and everyone. I did not leave room for anything else. I became selfish and self-centred.

I was not even able to give attention, appreciation and support to the person I loved even when she was going through a difficult period. Normal and natural that she has moved away.

I spent more time on instagram than talking to my loved ones, with my family or my friends.

Putting together everything that has happened in recent weeks, and adding the last straw (snapping a braze on my bike’s fork that supported my rack, due to a small accident in the desert), I had to consider stopping the journey at least for some time and returning home to recharge the batteries, spending some time with my family, perhaps going to the beach by my Venezuelan friends in Abruzzo (what I have always done in the summer – although here in the southern hemisphere it’s winter). Several people also suggested it to me and would seem to be a wise choice.

It’s an idea that I decided to put aside; it’s not the time to make important decisions and big changes because they would be decisions motivated by the sadness and the desire to run away. Brooding over past mistakes would fill the mind with regret and depression. It is said that a person is not defined by his mistakes but by how he recovers from his mistakes.

Of course, I need to take some time to reflect on everything that is happening and how to manage my thoughts; how I can be grateful for what happened and how it can help me to be a better person. A better son, a better brother, a better friend, a better companion, a better man. A better adventurer.

I rule out going home even temporarily for now, maybe a break instead if I find some interesting projects like a workaway here in Namibia or maybe a bit more north, where I could stay for a few weeks or month. It would be a good opportunity to recharge the batteries and work on different creative projects such as writing, creating photo/video content that when you are on the road is always difficult to manage.

If we can see something that it’s in our heart to achieve then we best get ahead of it, get it done, just do it. This expedition is still what I have in my heart and in the journey, you learn and you let go.

A friend pointed out to me that I had much more adventure and interaction with people from all walks of life than 99.99% of the world’s population and that it is normal that there is a price to pay.

Life is too short to live with regrets, fears and pains. I won’t be giving up, I go on trying not to become numb and selfish but opening my heart even more.

For some reason that Stereophonics’ song comes to mind, lyrics that I dedicate to all my dear ones, but I want to reassure all those who love me that you will surely see me again; sooner or later I really will come back. For now, for yet another little more, my life remains the road.

“Be focused, be persistent, never quit” is my friend’s motto. The long way round.

 

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