The landscape outside the window of my Paris-bound TGV train is still covered in the darkness of early morning while Central France invisibly whizzes past. Sitting in this much-faster-than-my-Koga train on Boxing Day 2009 gives me a moment to reflect on the fact that the WT-end is drawing near, that I’m very close to the end of the tunnel of my dream. That the idea-turned-reality project that has been my rhyme and reason, my raison d’être for the last 4 years, and that has totally encapsulated me – flesh and blood – in every move or thought I made, will all too soon be over.
I begin to realize how much it’s meant (and still mean) to me to be able to share experiences, good and bad times, to unload all sorts of trivialities that would’ve otherwise clogged my mind. Having thousands of people from around the world standing on my mental sideline of the WT pitch – cheering faithfully when I needed it most – has made this journey so much more endurable, engaging, and yes, even fun. It’s helped me realize the proportions of the expedition, helped me realize how endlessly fortunate I’ve been (still am) being able to live my dream for so long.
Though I know that at the end of the day the WT Juggernaut would’ve been without a driver without me, that I’m the one I need to thank, I really can’t imagine what WT would’ve been like without you, my dearest reader, for you’ve supplied me with a psychological safety net that prevented me to go mad when I was surrounded by nothing but asphalt and loneliness, that caught me when the valves of joy and happiness were pumping and life felt too good, that received all my gibberish unconditionally when I was lost in a muse and didn’t have anyone around to be a burden on.
The roads that lead you, my unsung heroes, to WT might be as diverse as the ones I’ve been riding around the world for more than 60.000 km now, and you probably have no connection to other readers, but to me you are all part of the social fabric that’s kept me warm on what would’ve otherwise been an extremely long – and, at times, cold, I guess – solo ride. The scope of my gratitude for your moral, psychological, financial and otherwise support knows neither limits nor articulateness. Thanks for being with me all the way…
Being this close to Denmark, I can now start visualizing what it’ll (maybe) be like getting back home after some 1.400 days on the road non-stop, without my friends and family around – something I didn’t dare until now afraid of getting homesick, afraid of losing momentum & wanderlust, afraid of losing touch with my dream, afraid of missing too much.
What I do visualize is something far more colorful and exciting than the days of gray and cold that undoubtedly (and statistically) await me in Denmark; namely being back together with my mum, my dad, my sister, my friends – the people I love more than anything and who ultimately is the reason for my return.
The thought of being back in tiny Denmark, among the precious few on this planet with whom I have a common tongue, a shared culture and history, is both exceedingly exciting and disturbingly frightening. Will I be the fish in the water, or the bull in a china shop? Only time will tell, and please wish me good luck, all right?
No matter how it all goes, it’s a reassuring thought that thanks to all the beautiful people I’ve met over the last years, I feel quite at home anywhere in the world. I’ve traveled among Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist people, through some of the poorest and wealthiest countries on Earth, I’ve stayed with boys/girls, men/women, young/old, small/tall, white/black/brown/yellow people from all walks of life, and though, naturally, all these encounters and experiences have been (blissfully) diverse and different, to me they’re all collectively connected by the main thread called humanity.
Thanks to that humanity I feel more connected to the world and its people than ever, it makes the world feel like my playground, and it’s an invaluable feeling that makes me feel rich and alive. Humanity is everywhere. It’s the glue that keeps the social machinery called mankind together. Take it from me, and don’t let anyone or anything convince you
otherwise. I consider it a promise.
Outside the daylight is starting to get a grip, and soon it’s Paris Montparnasse, where I’ll jump on a bus headed for Brussels where I’m going to meet up with lovely Belgian friends. Also arriving in Brussels today is Pablo who’s coming to spend New Year’s Eve with me. I’m absolutely stoked about this, and I’m very fond of the idea that the circle, that was sadly broken with Pablo’s WT exit back in July 2006, will (kind of) be complete again even though there won’t be any cycling this time around. Rumor has it that the reunited duo is going to shake the foundations of the Belgian capital on NYE.
Beginning of January it’s back to Limoges, France where I’ve left my bike and gear, and then ride the final stint north through Belgium, Holland, and Germany. Tentatively, I expect to cross the Danish border around end of January 2010. So unreal.
Thus perceived and with love,