Before setting off on this trip, my father said that he thought this would be my swansong, my last trip of this kind. He was right, in a way. I don’t expect to do any more long solo trips, although that doesn’t mean my travelling days are over.
A couple of years ago, I wondered if I would be able to settle down, and do the house/dog/white picket fence thing. Well, it wasn’t to be – I couldn’t settle down at first.
How things have changed – most of those elements are now in place, and I expect to stay in the same city for at least the next three years. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing any more trips like this ever again, it just means they will be shorter trips over the next few years, and probably closer to home. I still want to ride across the USA, but it can wait a while. It will still be there in 3 years, it’s not going anywhere (no matter what the radicals might say). It will be a slightly different place then of course, but that’s neither here nor there.
And you know what? I’m happy about being home. More than that, I’m ready to be home, and settle for a while. If I hadn’t done this last leg, I would have wondered about it, wondered if I was doing the right thing in staying at home. It was probably a good thing that I chose Patagonia for this trip – because to be completely honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. Could have been a different story if I’d been back in China. Would I have wanted to come home from that?
I have thoroughly enjoyed riding around the UK though. It can be an underrated place, but if you’ve got the money, it’s a great place to ride around. Probably just as well I added this onto the end of the Patagonian trip, because it gave me quite a boost. It’s also one of the few places you can spend hours riding every day, and still gain weight, from all the beer and stodgy food.
Jan also pointed out one good thing about having completed my RTW circuit – I can now go anywhere, I’m not constrained by having to complete the loop – instead I can choose destinations on the basis of interest, not geography. We’ll see.