As I’m writing this, I’m resting in Damascus at my friend Lubna’s apartment after finally finishing Leg 1 of my tour. And looking outside, all I can see is the whiteness of the snowstorm that’s currently engulfing Damascus. Not exactly what I was expecting when I got here, but at least I’m grateful to be indoors, in the warm, and not having to worry about scraping the snow and ice off my tent.
It seemed like a good idea to try and recall some of my thoughts of the trip – my frequent journal entries undoubtedly drag on for a a bit, become repetitive, and may even come across as slightly harsher than intended.
It’s true that I don’t entirely feel that sense of accomplishment that those around me might expect, but looking back on the last three months I definitely feel great about what I’ve done and seen, the people I’ve met, and the glimpses of the countries I’ve been through, whether after spending weeks pressing on through rural areas or days jumping between cities.
I’ve probably spent slightly more than I had budgeted (not an exact science though as not all my expenses have been trip related- it’s Christmas, after all…), but hopefully not so much that I cause problems further down the line. The equipment (bike and otherwise) has mostly proved reliable.
There have been few things I can fault. Even the Gatorskin tyres, with their innumerable punctures (well somewhere around the region of 10 at any rate) lasted well beyond what I expected. Putting the spare Pasela only days before arriving in Damascus was simply to ensure a simple puncture-free ride home.
There are maybe four things that I’m slightly disappointed with: My Ortlieb handlebar bag, Exped Synmat 7, Mp3 Player and most notably my Rigida Grizzly Wheels (though I’ll spare going into the issues here).
As for the body – I’ve lost some weight, and some confidence in my knees. The upcoming stretch across India should give them some flat ground to spin on, but I am of course thinking of the future, and the inevitable climbs of South East Asia and beyond.
For now though, it’s time to rest….