We’ve all been there; in limbo.
Not fully engaged in what we’re doing due to the distraction of, what is essentially, indecision. I spent roughly a week procrastinating; should I stay or should I go? Then, once the decision to go was made, within two days, I was back on the road again. I’m fully aware of the limitations imposed by the act of procrastinating; distraction, discontent, worry, uncertainty, confusion – yet continued to languish in it, but why do we procrastinate?
Leaving Pastoral Vadi stirred up similar emotions to those I have felt each time I’ve said goodbye to familiar faces in now familiar places. You would think I’d be used to it by now. I was surprised given the brevity of our friendships; it’s amazing how quickly meaningful connections can be made. I think it’s partly due to meeting people you already have so much in common with. You have each made the decision to travel, leaving family and friends behind, to experience life in a foreign land. Every traveller I’ve met has a story to tell of their journey so far, and often more interestingly, a story to tell of why they are travelling at all.
If there was a common theme running through these stories it would be that of a willingness to trade-in the status quo, in favour of the excitement of the unknown. Beneath the obvious desire to see the world, which is easily visible on the surface, usually lays a more powerful desire for change; change of view, change to a way of life, change of perspective, change of career, change of future. This is good news for travellers; the only certainty of travelling is that change is inevitable. Making changes, though, is difficult, even when, by nature of your decision to travel, you are willingly signing up to do so.
The first day back on the road was tough; three weeks out of the saddle had allowed the veneer like finish of my rear end to soften into something more akin to the surface of a ripe peach. The muscles in my legs and bum had migrated north to my arms and shoulders in response to the change of physical demand seasoned by the farm. It was also spent climbing; as I headed east the coast line looped out further south, leaving mountains in my path. I eventually reached a height of 1300 meters, by which time I was exhausted and not feeling at all well (stomach was a bit dodgy before leaving the farm, tinned tuna for lunch I’d carried from Bulgaria didn’t seem to help). I was relieved to finally see an end to the climb and grateful for the short decent which followed. My decent was matched by the sun and the temperature, and as my thighs began to cramp, I spotted a place to camp. I wasted no time getting set up. It was too cold for a one litre shower, and with only honey and bread to eat, I was sleeping just after six.
It was a cold night, which brought both refreshment and an unfortunate discomfort the next morning. Waking with a cold face while snuggled up in my sleeping bag was refreshing, having to get out of the cosy sleeping bag was uncomfortable and very unfortunate.
Thankfully the cycling that day was easier, and after reaching a peak of 1550 meters, the decent toward Antalaya and the coast was a welcome change in pace and progress.
Somewhere just outside of Antalaya I reached 4000 miles from home. Not exactly sure where; the wheel sensor for my speedo went missing on the farm, along with my dust caps. Must have been the mice!
Antalaya was much bigger than I had expected. I arrived in good time to find the hostel before nightfall, and then promptly got lost. I wasted 45 minutes with a local man who used my predicament to quiz me about Shurly Anne with the promise of directions, only to try and steal her! Frustrated, annoyed, and in search of wifi, I passed a McDonalds and reluctantly caved in to the expected certainty of finding my way back on track. Only after ordering something to eat (Big Mac meal – so wrong, yet so good!) did I discover I was in the only McDonalds in the world without wifi. Aaaaargh! McDonalds in Turkey offer a delivery service (their best customers are too obese to leave the house) and it was one of their very helpful scooter-riders that I followed directly to the door of my hostel. Good man.
The next stop over was in a place called Side, which I reached in double quick time due to the flat road and the combined effects of muscle memory and the body’s remarkable abilities to repair itself. I was really quite sad to be coming to the end of my time back on Shurly Anne, and couldn’t help wondering if I should just continue to cycling on, through the winter months.
On previous occasions when I’ve questioned my decisions, I have often quickly been reassured one way or another, this time by the weather. The journey from Side to Kargicak was mainly spent with my head down, fighting my way through the wind and torrential rain. It actually reminded me of a day I spent in the highlands of Scotland in similar weather last year, on route to a very distant Lands End. I enjoy being ragged about by the elements; it makes me feel alive. What I really don’t like is camping in such conditions. Or fixing punctures, as it turns out!
One thing I’m absolutely certain of is that the decision to leave the farm was the right one. Procrastination is the state you enter when you know something needs to change, but you haven’t yet decided to do something about it. That’s not to say you don’t know what to do about it, you do, you’re procrastinating because something has to change. And change is difficult. Procrastination is about holding on to the status quo, even if it’s not working for you, to avoid the uncertainty of change. The next time you find yourself procrastinating, deciding to embrace change will free you to do what you already know you need to do.
In the coming weeks, instead of exploring the world around me, I will be mostly exploring the world within me; Indulging in the entirely new process of writing a book. This will probably be the most difficult journey so far (judging by the helpless struggle endured to date).
The blog posts that follow will touch on some of the ideas and themes I’m trying to make sense of along the way.
Add your name and email below or above to be informed of the next installment.