Can you have too much of a good thing? Of course you can and I think we may have found our limit. All of a sudden we are both a bit tired and weary. A bit worn down and ready for a proper break from touring. I struggled with this idea for a while. After all, I have been singing the praises of this nomadic lifestyle to anybody that was prepared to listen or take the time to read this blog for a long time now. I know some people don’t quite get the cycling or the camping but just about everybody can relate to not working for six months and doing as you please. We have also been having a generally fabulous time exploring this sometimes ugly, sometimes pretty and sometimes simply awesome country of ours so to find myself wanting a break was a bit confusing.
It’s natural to want a break when it’s cold and raining or you can’t find anywhere to camp or the chain has come off right at the bottom of a massive hill. Those brief occasions when you just want to throw in the towel, jump on a train and go back to normality were always to be expected. We knew from previous touring experience that they would come and we were ready for them. This is different. This is a creeping, growing sensation that has been building up in both of us over the last week or so. It may have been exacerbated by the exceptionally hot weather we have had but I suspect it would have descended on us at some point whatever the weather. I’m trying to work out why doing something that we really enjoy for weeks on end should stop being fun and I think it just might be a case of too much of a good thing.
All things in moderation, my Mum used to say and I suppose that applies to not working and enjoying yourself too.
One of the joys of cycle touring is the constant stimulation of new places and people. There are some elements of routine such as making camp or loading up the bikes in the morning but apart from that just about everything we do is new each day. We rarely know where we will be sleeping each night or what we will come across during the day. Even the terrain is a constant surprise whether it’s the gradients we may or may not have to tackle or the state of the roads or cycle paths that make for easy or difficult progress. Little, if anything, is predictable and therein lies the conundrum. Variety and unpredictability is the essence of what makes touring so satisfying but it is also at the root of what has brought us to this point of fatigue. It’s not knowing what is coming next all the time that can actually be quite wearing. We generally build the patterns of our lives around a balance of known routines interspersed with short periods of variation and new experiences. The whole weekday/weekend concept revolves around this idea and is thoroughly ingrained in our psyche. Monday to Friday the majority of people know what they will be doing then come the weekend they introduce elements of change and excitement in stark contrast to the working week. We have effectively been living one long weekend for over three months and now we need a few days, or better still, a week of stability. Bodies and minds are crying STOP!
As it happens it looks as if we will be able to take the break we need thanks to great friends and family who will give us the chance to put down some temporary roots and enable us to escape the endless change that the last three months have consisted of. Hopefully it will give us back the appetite we started out with. The appetite for the daily menu of the new and the different that Devon, Cornwall, Wales and finally the last piece of the jig saw around Mereyside and Lancashire will provide us with.
It’s a fascinating situation to be in. To be given the biggest, nicest box of chocolates in the world and to find a way to eat them without making yourself sick.