With my schedule a little bit dented, I had to average 85km a day for 22 days to reach the Myanmar border on time. Ordinarily this would be simple enough, but a friend had warned me that averaging anywhere near that in the east of India would be a herculean task, and the elevation charts I had looked at echoed this so I needed to push hard early on and buy myself some breathing room further down the road. I couldn’t be arsed with pushing hard though and that plan fell apart.
Those of you who have been following along regularly will no doubt have a slight insight into my miserable mindset. Not content with being one of the fortunate few in this world's population with the means to travel the world, I insist upon whining and moaning at every opportunity about how tough this potentially mind-expanding experience is.
I've mentioned before how difficult it is to get away from certain places, it's usually brought on by two things in tandem: Enjoying where I am and dreading where I have to go to. This has lead me to a few occasions where I lose motivation and don't move for some time. The first was in Bucharest, but I resisted it well. Istanbul was harder, I made some good friends and had the unknown prospect of central Asia ahead of me. Again in Samarkand when Alex and I parted from the rest of the crowd to head north of the Pamir highway. Other times it's out of my hands, like in waiting for a visa in Azerbaijan but not really wanting to leave the comfort of Eric and Debbie's. And then recently, in Kyrgyzstan, when I simply couldn't face the prospect of moving far from the hostel for a week and had a pre-booked flight to wait for anyway.
Normally getting back on the bike feels amazing and all the feelings of woe in my mind dissipate in the first few kilometres. When I did eventually leave Kyrgyzstan and landed in India I had hoped it would flick a reset switch in my head, and remind me why I enjoy doing this, like when I landed in Kazakhstan. Unfortunately this was not the case, and my low motivation stayed with me from Delhi to Varanasi. In fact, in Varanasi, the issues were compounded. Nancy flew back to the UK, taking with her my (small) connection to home. The hostel in Varanasi was the hardest to escape from yet. Once again I was surrounded by a good group of people, liquor and card games and was CONFRONTED by the tough prospect of more Indian cycling.
Just like in Samarkand, the moto of “just one more night” came to the fore again. But, I was slightly thankful for sitting tight as I was able to be online when I received email confirmation of my permit to enter Myanmar by land from India. Hooray! Just the catalyst I needed to get my arse up and back on the road. Perhaps. Actually, no. Although it lifted my mood considerably, it did nothing to PHYSICALLY move me.
And so I was stuck again. My bike leant against the wall in the hostel courtyard gathering surface rust from the humidity in the air. And I leant against a wall upstairs with a bunch of reprobates gathering fatty deposits on my liver from guzzling whiskey. But I did learn another card game.