Monday, September 19, 2011

Solo is a lonely place

So here’s a question.  Should I blog when I’m frustrated by the bureaucratic labyrinth that I am navigating to get into Angola, or about the doubts and fears I feel most acutely when I lie awake waiting for sleep to come?  Or when this wretched, niggly knee injury keeps me off the bike for a week and counting?  Ok, so I just did.

I’m being reminded of the loneliness of a solo expedition.  There’s no support team, no partner, just me.  If I fail, it’s my failure alone.  No collective sharing of the disappointment, no-one to help justify a decision to push on against sensible advice, or to pull out, postpone, cancel or change plans.  Just me.  I have supporters, to be sure, people who believe in me and in what I’m doing.  But the journey is mine alone.  And I chose this path.

So to solve the various practical problems I’ve found a visa agent who specialises in Angola visas, and a physiotherapist to work my knee back to full working order. 

I’m aiming for 10 October as a start date.  Beyond this and the expedition is off.  The rains will start and the roads will become increasingly difficult to navigate.  The heat will become a serious factor.  I think I’m already pushing the timing envelope.

On a more positive note, I’ve found a great Portuguese teacher.  We meet in a bar in Melville and I learn how to order beer in Portuguese (and a few other useful words and phrases).  If only learning language at school had been this much fun!


Shanecycles said...

Nice blog post Paul here's some words of advise,

1. Knees are pain, get it sorted before you leave or you'll be in the shit, try adjusting sadle/handlebar height and position (seat fore/aft too).

2. Write yourself a letter before you go like this one ;) helps remind yourself why you do it if it gets tough.

Read my FAQ I cover cycling alone

Just do it (visa permitting)

Good luck have fun


Paul said...

Hi Shane,

Thanks for your supportive comments. Good advice on your website, many thanks! I'm working on reminding myself of the advantages of solo travel. Done plenty over the years and in some rough/remote places. But not on a bike! Good luch with your own adventure.

Best wishes