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"I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm..."

by Tara

…which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye."

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Unlike Tyler, who awakens every morning to the sight of the sleek road-machine that fuels his jet-pack ambition to leave for adventures…. I am more motivated by the promise of new smells, vibrant colors, indescribable flavors, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In short, I am looking to connect with the world on a deeper level with all of my senses. In a time when cynicism rampantly infects our society, and the media teaches children and adults alike to fear foreign cultures, I am looking for ever more examples of the beauty of humanity. As Alice Walker so beautifully put it, I have "absolute trust in the goodness of the earth." (yes, yes, I know… there will also be tragic examples of poverty, bloody wars in history, sexism, racism etc but I think that in general, people are friendly, kind, and generous.)

The more I read up on this stuff, the more I realize that we can go everywhere. It is possible.

Currently I am reading a book Tyler got for us, called Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook: Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide. I love it. It is short, sweet, and to the point, not to mention easy-to-understand for total beginners. Slowly I am learning about things like crank sets and deraillers, even though I am amazingly grateful that Tyler is taking care of all that stuff… It is really not my area. Yet. I'd much rather think about things like Thai markets, Tibetan prayer-wheels, silly games to play on the road, how I can maximize my comfort-level in every possible way (down to crotch-padded biking shorts), and how fun it is to say the word "derailleur" in my head with a French accent.

Thusfar, I've been in charge of the route. The more I think about it, the more places I want to go besides just Southeast Asia. It seems a shame to miss out on everywhere else in the world. I'm really tempted to make a huge planned route… not that we couldn't change it or be spontaneous, but I like the idea of going somewhere with a purpose and a sense of completion and accomplishment and the end. Normally, I am all about putzing around… it would be fun to just putz around Southeast Asia, but more and more, I want clear boundaries. I want a beginning and and end. Flexible, of course, and slow and spontaneous… but I want a sticker on my bike that says "Paris to Phuket" or something of that nature. I want to feel accomplished when we're done. I want to see the world. Maybe I'm just inspired by "Long Way Round." Can't we just go everywhere? The more I read up on this stuff, the more I realize that we can go everywhere. It is possible. People have done it. Normal, un-prepared, out-of-shape people have even done it. If they can do it, then we definitely can.