Newsletter from Tangier, Morocco (UK)
Sitting in my hotel room in Tangier at the northern tip of Morocco, just a few hours before I’ll catch a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to Algeciras, Spain, I feel extremely excited that I’m going back to mainland Europe, 3 years and 5 months (or some 52.000 km) since I left it in Istanbul during the World Cup Soccer in June 2006.
It’s impossible for me not to get emotional about the whole thing, about the fact that I’m going to pull this mad round-the-world-by-bicycle expedition off, that I’m going to finish it, finish what has been my dream and my life for the last 1.327 days. Every piece of DNA in my body knows that this is the very end of what at first (and at several times after, believe me!) seemed like an almost impossible dream of infinite asphalt, when Martin and I took off in Copenhagen, April 2006.
Thinking about this on my way to Tangier yesterday I had a strong, emotional wave rushing through me, a wave that’s been building up inside of me possibly since I left my country, my family, my friends, and everything else. Tears (and I don’t expect them to be the last of its kind) fell on the asphalt, on the bike, my trusty, sole companion. It feels so heavy, this situation, and yet I feel immensely elevated, proud, and delighted about it all.
A mere 11 weeks and 5.600 km after I left the Ghanaian capital Accra on the Bay of Guinea, 6 degrees north of the Equator, I’m leaving Africa, my last continent, altogether. Knowing that the next few months up through Western Europe will be the last in WT history intensifies the moment, makes me want to relish every stroke of the pedals (no matter how cold those European winter nights will be lying in my tent), and makes it all too clear to me that never again will I be as free, unconcerned, and egoistically uncommitted – or as lonely and distant (psychologically more than physically) from my beloved ones.
I’m ready to go home. I’m ready to be home. What it will be like in Denmark after nearly 4 years on the go, what I’ll do, I’ve got not idea (well, a few maybe). That’s another challenge for another time. But I do know that I miss my family and my friends more than anything I’ve ever missed, and that’s all the reason I need to be going home (plus, yes, I’m running out of continents too!).
Much as I’ve enjoyed this huge challenge – and I feel incredible grateful for all the moments (of joy, of challenge, of excitement, of beauty), for the places, the faces, for the perceptible and the more subtle ways that this expedition (and my contact with all facets of this wonderful world) has forever changed me (or not) – that is the WT, a seven-nation army couldn’t stop me now (maybe a freak encounter with an extraordinarily fine Andalusian beauty could make me consider pulling the breaks, thogh). I’m going home.
Even my bike has been eager to get back to Europe lately. Yesterday, e.g. saw us flying north along the Atlantic coast with an average of 24 km/h over 157 km, and my bike’s behaving like a mule that rapidly and semi-automatically is headed for the barn after a long days’ work in the fields. Don’t blame the bike: No matter how you look at it, 58.389 km is a long day’s work.
Now if you’d excuse me for a second. I’ve got a ferry to catch and a (last) bit of cycling to do. I will get back to you at some point, but do expect long delays and silences.
Thanks for the attention, thanks for letting me have someone to share this adventure with, thanks for your perpetual support and encouragement.