Bikes are packed, we’ve got tickets and passports, and the Silk Road is just a dream and a day away. After nearly two years of planning, training, and fundraising, Mel and I are about to launch for China. Right now I am both ridiculously excited and powerfully terrified, the ideal state of mind and heart and soul for launching on such a journey. I tend to gauge the worth and promise of an adventure by the sheer frenzy factor of the butterflies in my stomach. The fluttering I’m feeling now bodes well for this one.
All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder. – Pico Iyer
For the next four months, my life will be anchored to two wheels and four friends. I’ll be exploring a part of the world familiar to me only through the colorful accounts of explorers like Marco Polo, Sven Hedin, and Alexandra David-Neels. I’ll be burning muscles to the bone as I pedal up, down, and across one of the most geologically tumultuous regions of Asia. I’ll be eating – well, who knows what, but it’s likely to contain copious chunks of fatty meat in true epicurean Central Asian style. The truth is, I have no real clue what lies down the road, and that’s fine by me. Time and fancy will dictate our itinerary for the next few months; our only real agenda is to probe the mysteries of this curious part of the world, and to document what we discover in Marco Polo’s wake.
The Silk Road is the oldest, the longest, the most romantic and the most persistent of all the chequered streams of trade. – Freya Stark
Before I sign off to sleep in my room one last time, I want to thank everyone who has supported the Cycling Silk expedition over the past few months. With your incredible support we’ve raised over $7,000 USD for Kham Aid’s educational initiatives in rural China. I’ll update this online journal as often as internet access permits, so stay tuned, take care, and happy trails.
To know the universe itself as a road—as many roads—as roads for traveling souls. – Walt Whitman