After Maastricht we spent a couple of mega days legging it to Calais where as luck would have it one of our friends Pete was driving back to London with a truck. It was a toss up between cycling up to the Hook of Holland to get the boat, or legging it 330km in 2.5 days to get a lift back from Calais. We decided on the latter and took a big gulp of rule #5 to get us there on time.
Since returning to London we’ve had a little over two weeks to sort out ‘life admin’, washing, bike maintenance and reflect on how our month in Europe has prepared us (or not) for the next 18 months on the road.
What I’ve learnt (Loz)
- This is not a holiday. Ok, I sound like a killjoy and I’m trying really hard not to sound negative, but my mindset cannot be in holiday mode all the time. This is a new way of life for the next 18 months. Cooking, washing, cleaning and cycling in awful weather all have to continue out on the road.
- Sometimes it will be really hard. Either instagram is all lies or I am seriously missing something. Travelling blogs, posts of beautiful sunsets and cycling along deserted roads are wonderful but there is also a fair amount of rubbish to put up with too. Days where you have to cycle 10 hours into headwinds and driving rain do happen occasionally.
- Herbie is faster than you on a bike, get over it. Unfortunately this somehow didn’t quite twig for me before we left. The only other exercise we previously did together was running where we are much more evenly matched, our marathon times being only 8 minutes apart. On a bike, it’s a completely different story. Firstly I am a complete weed, secondly Herbie is pretty quick on a bike. I’m talking a 5:01 IronMan bike quick. Big days aren’t as big, headwinds aren’t as strong and hills aren’t as intimidating for him. At the end of each day I’m probably going to have been dropped 25+ times.
- This IS actually FUN! Even after all the rubbish stuff I love sleeping in a tent, I love being outside and I love seeing where my little legs can take me
- 1/2 a Snickers bar solves almost all problems.
- Even if Herbie is really annoying you, and you are play fighting don’t punch him in the face for real. Although an amusing story now, I did actually feel really bad at the time.
- Strangers can be wonderful people you just haven’t met yet. Kindness comes from the most unlikely places, embrace it, smile and say thank you.
- Everybody loves the Irish. I am not Irish.
What I’ve learnt (Herbie)
- The trip is not about getting from A to B in the quickest possible time but more about enjoying the moment, the place and the people as much as possible.
- Actively look out to engage people, find out about places to go and things to do…
- Complain less about money, food, tent life .. just complain less in general.
- Get up earlier.
- Be patient and conscious of one another’s ability.
- Make Laura smile more 🙂
- Plan a little in advance while not being to contrived.
- I am a cycling god.
- I am in fact a very handsome man, some say an adonis.
- I’m possibly the best boyfriend in the world.
Ok, I think Herbs got carried away at the end there but at least there is a little bit to look back on and remind ourselves of, when undoubtedly in 7 days time I’ll feel like I’m back to square one.
Right it’s over and out for now, we have a pizza to eat, last minute packing to do and a plane to catch.