I asked Wikipedia for a definition of adventure and this is the opening sentence.
“An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.”
The uncertain outcome is the bit that really caught my attention and it’s the same thing that is on my mind as I start to write this blog post. I am just a little bit nervous about where it might take me.
In the early hours of last Friday morning Gill rode slap bang into a brick wall. Luckily she wasn’t on her bike at the time. The wall, of course, was metaphorical but the impact wasn’t and since we are inseparable on this journey of ours I hit the same wall moments later. Ever since we have been trying to make sense of what happened, what is happening and where we go from here.
We had a bit of a wobble a few weeks ago as recorded here and although I seem to have bounced back from it, it has now become obvious that Gill has battled on for another four hundred miles without ever having fully recovered. She is mentally and physically exhausted and I can’t help but feel responsible for not recognising what was staring me in the face and failing to do anything about it. However, this isn’t about blame, Gill doesn’t hold me responsible at all. This is about understanding what happened, dealing with the consequences and finding a way of keeping our dream alive in a way that works for both of us.
Since making it known that we couldn’t carry on any longer without either a break or a complete change of plan we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support, encouragement and awe at what we have achieved. Reading some of them has had us both holding back the tears at times and they have made us feel very lucky indeed to have such great friends and family all around us. Thank you.
So why did we get into this situation? After all we haven’t been doing anything that we haven’t done before, just more of it for longer. We have talked with lots of people over the last few days and they have helped us to understand what may have gone wrong. We almost certainly haven’t recognised that on such a long trip regular breaks of more than just a day are probably essential. For us that is of course. We understand that everybody is different. It has also been pointed out that since I am probably a bit stronger physically than Gill she will have been pushing herself much closer to her limits than I have almost all the time. Unless you are very lucky indeed two people sharing a physical challenge will always have to compensate for different abilities and we probably haven’t managed that very well.
There are other more obvious factors such as the exceptionally hot weather and those never ending hills of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall but whatever the causes, subtle or obvious, the fact is that for now at least we have blown it and we need to regroup and recharge.
Most people that undertake long journeys such as this face a crisis of one form or another at some point and we knew that we would be no exception. We considered the possibility of illness, accidents or perhaps a family crisis that would bring our journey to a halt and might involve a major change of plan but I have to confess that I never saw this coming. An uncertain outcome indeed.
So let’s get happy and positive. We have learned masses from this experience both about ourselves and our relationship. We are absolutely determined that we will find a way to complete the adventure, uncertain outcomes and all. Gill might not ride the rest of the way this year, maybe we both might not. The favourite idea at the moment is to get hold of a vehicle and for Gill to shadow me while I ride the rest of the coast. It’s very much ‘our’ trip and we are determined to find a way of continuing the adventure together now or at some future date. We have had an incredibly rewarding four months so far, largely as a result of all the amazing people we have met and the outstanding hospitality they have shown us. We’ve seen spectacular scenery and marvelled at wildlife and nature as one season has progressed to the next. Sunsets have moved us, mountains have humbled us and rain and cold at times have frightened us but it has all been good.
It has been an experience of a life time and it isn’t over yet. For now we are relaxing at my sister’s in Taunton and pondering the next stage of what has become not just a life changing experience but a life enhancing one too.
I’m looking forward to the next thousand miles, whenever and however we do it.