THE REAL DAY ONE
I finally made it out of the house and out into the big world — which if you have read any of my previous posts is no small triumph — and straight into the sweltering heat.
▣ Highly recommend ▣ Boring but safe ▣ Shit. Boring, strenuous & dangerous ▣ Incomplete
What I thought’d happen
I’d experience elation – with dramatic soundtrack
What actually happened
I wished I had of started tomorrow
The worst thing about living in a city is that you do not own your front yard. Or any sort of yard for that matter. All yards that you could possibly own are shared with a million others (1.7m in my case) which means you can’t leave anything outside of your house and expect it to be there when you return. Packing an unlocked motorcycle becomes a game of Scooby Doo. You load your luggage in instalments, hurrying in and out of your apartment, up and down the stairs, slamming doors and jamming elevators because as soon as you pack one thing some cheeky ape walks past and swipes it while you’re away getting the next. I did this dance in 40 degree heat. In motorcycle gear. It was a testing start to the day.
I pushed my bike through the thick traffic of the inner city,
I took one last sentimental look at Budapest, the choppy brown waters of the Danube, the baby blue sky, the island in the distance, the intricate parliament building, the grand palace, the colourful tourists. It’s funny how desperate I was to leave that place but nostalgic when I did.
Feel my pain. Here, I’ve got a wall of text with no photos to help you.
Hours passed and I began to tire. I was bored. It was hot. The air seemed denser than usual. My neck strained under the pressure and my handlebars vibrated ferociously. I was full of regrets. At the time it had seemed easier to take the long way, no autobahn meant no highway pass which meant no hassle. But I’d been riding for hours across flat, monotonous terrain. I could have been doing this on the autobahn — and much faster.
Why am I so lazy? It always gets me in trouble. Hey it’s my first day. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s part of the journey. The constant turn of berating and reassuring thoughts in my head whirred in rhythm with my wheels.
It was hot, the air was hot and Little B and I were suffering. Little did I know that Little B was actually suffering (broken ventilator/fan = no cooling, I found this out two weeks later). But it was our first day and we were worn out. Is this what this trip is going to be like? Is this what I’m going to go through for the next six months? I reflect later that this was one of the hottest days of my entire journey.
A place I’d always dreamed of going
Of course, it’s all worth it.
I plugged in maps.me for a campsite and decided on one near a lake. If in doubt, always camp near water. I fumbled with my tent, setting it up for the first time since my break. The campsite was a clearing in a forest covered with soft green grass. Several other campers were already set up and there were two wooden cabins with toilets and a kitchen. A steam train let out a low moaning whistle close by. It was alpine luxury.
Walking mindlessly to and fro, unsure of the order of things that needed to be set up, I wished I could remember how the hell I did it last time. It used to be so easy. Habit makes life bearable. Worried I would miss the sunset, I gave up, threw my gear in my half set up tent and ran down to the lake. And I sat there, in this tear jerkingly beautiful place, where the lake is so clean you can drink it, the fish so bold they tickle your feet and the mountains so perfect the sun sets right between their furry peaks. I hugged my knees, the ducks quacked and the water lapped and I thought how glad I was to be on the road again.
What I learned today:
- I’m out of practice
- I have no idea what I’m in for