This might not be easy to follow; there are too many thoughts running through my head all at once to allow me to write coherent thoughts. But that’s only most of the time. Sometimes, I write well.
There are stories by wise and generous men that we remember for having “advanced the truth” in sharing the joyous experiences of the tours they took. Those are good stories, but if you plan to go on a bicycle tour, those stories were not written for you; they were most probably written for a marching band touring a different town fifty miles away.
What those nice stories don’t mention is the anxiety to be had for days before the journey. Or the fears that are well-founded on the unfortunate fact that you are disorganized, lazy, complacent, stupid, forgetful or just driven by subconscious self-malice and that because of these nice attributes, something crucial is not going to be packed.
There is also the very nagging worry that you might be mad for trying a trip that starts with crossing a lake that hosts the largest population of Nile crocodiles. Very lovable creatures, by the way, that are ever grateful for -and eager to share- a meal of a human that is presented to them in an act of transcendental benevolence by the gods that causes the boat you are in to capsize within their easy reach.
To try and help my sorry case I consulted packing lists from different websites and people who have undertaken similar trips and came out with a credible theory that there is a conspiracy to deliberately mislead me on things to carry. For example, one website said that if you were not going to carry a hammock on your tour, you should not even start the tour. It suggests better things you might want to do instead- trim your lawn, practice with your local Salvation Army Band, and such, but don’t tour without a hammock. And there are numerous comments supporting the author on the horrors of touring without a hammock! “This tour is doomed”, I think. But then I follow a link that reads like a revelation from the god of Aimless Wandering himself and written by the saint of Indefatigable Feet. This is forbidding the carrying of any metal that is not part of the bike. “Superlight is the true path to never tiring…” and such true-sounding declarations that make what I’m about to pack look like a big sin about to happen.
Nevertheless, I eventually found an agreeable list somewhere, compared with the one I had conjured up myself and deciding that it was a good one started gathering what I was missing up to this point.
So today, on the second day of the new year, I’ve (almost) finished packing. The bike is nearly 40kgs.
But still, a voice in the background keeps repeating itself. Madness or just the gods working for a future dinner of a sun-bathing reptile.