This a different kind of post from me. It’s a slightly edited email note I recently wrote to a group of friends in San Francisco asking about our walk. After re-reading it, I decided it could also work here. It’s very much what’s on my mind these days.
Thanks for giving the blog a look. I know it’s tough to fit everything in a day, and we are writing in random bouts as we can, far from helping people create a routine with regular posting.
Surprisingly, Lluís is taking his job of keeping his parents informed via digital technology pretty seriously. Me… I’m having a hard time dragging myself to the small screen and stringing words together. I want to live the trip and not always think about writing the trip.
Yes, the walk’s challenges and successes come in waves, like everything in life. Some weeks have been particularly hard, and Burma was not an easy place for walkers who need to frequently camp. Smiling in Southeast Asia worked wonders many days, but we are learning that if you smile too much in Central Asia, people are more suspicious of you. And, we’ve been told multiple times this week to never let go of our passports, even to police who may want to take our documents and hold them until we pay a bribe.
Admittedly, I’m concerned about hiking through the 3,000-meter high passes in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. It will still be very cold at night and we have both lost much of our body fat, so staying warm is a big concern for me. But lots of cyclists have passed through there and their stories about how beautiful this part of the world is keeps us motivated. I bought extra wool socks, wool leg warmers and a warm cap…so that should help.
The plus side is that my shoulder is much better. I bought a new pack and shipped the old one home. It’s made a big difference. The downside is I also bought paperback books I enthusiastically expected to read and finish during this mid-size break of a few weeks. I have only read 100 pages and will not finish them before we start walking. Now I have to decide if I pack them up and haul the extra weight (along with the ton of granola bars I bought in Bangkok on a day I wandered into a supermarket super hungry) or leave them behind. This is the kind of stuff I turn over in my brain these days.
My dad likes to tell me things, some of which you heard before. His latest quote is “I think there are criminals in jail who have an easier life than the one you are choosing for yourself.” He’s probably right.
I’m comforted, though, by the notion that this seems to be a calling of sorts for me/us at this stage in life and that the universe will dole out what we’re meant to handle and protect us from what we can’t handle. We keep getting signs of being on the right path, like Lluís keeps finding money on the ground on a pretty regular basis. I see those as breadcrumbs we should follow. We are getting rich on this trip, and I don’t mean financially.
On that note, I will follow Lluís’ cue and turn off the light and say good night from somewhere in the middle of Asia.
Miss you all,