Look at the picture… standing there, imposing, intimidating, unflinching, never the same for longer than a second, watching over me, ever ticking. One day soon it will show 0:00:00. I will be heading into the unknown, wondering what lies ahead… have I done enough to make it to Australia?
Am I ready? Have I got enough money? Am I fit enough?
Reluctantly, the short answer is ‘probably not.’
BUT… there is a long answer. The more research and preparation I’ve done, the more I’ve come to a stark realisation; I will never be completely ready. A little more research won’t suddenly make me feel more confident. No matter how much money I have, I would always feel like just a tad more would be helpful!
That’s fine though. Really. I don’t need to have all the answers. Part of the excitement is that my success is not guaranteed… failure is a possibility… I am going into the unknown. The detachment which arises from making decisions behind a computer screen thousands of miles away, has both pros and cons, and I believe, for most decisions (with the possible exception of certain safety concerns) using my initiative on the road will be superior, particularly as it is my first bike tour; I feel I will be in a better-informed position to evaluate choices once I have actually begun, and have a firmer first-hand grasp of what bike-touring involves. Most of my planning at this stage (but not all) is more to set my mind at ease, and give me more confidence to set off, than actually being useful once I have begun.
Yes, it is scary, but were I to wait to be fully prepared, I would probably be waiting forever. It would always remain a mere dream. Years from now I would sit in an office at work, stroking greying hairs, my wife and kids at home, mortgages and car payments looming large, perpetually destined to wonder ‘what if?’ What if I’d had the courage to set off on that bike? Well, luckily, I set a date, I told everyone I was going to do it, I invested money on a bike, insurance, ferry tickets, and now I’m going to take that first step. I’m going to set off. I don’t want to wonder ‘what if’. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.