Monday, 5 July 2010

Edinburgh, Scotland - Tiger, Tiger

This is my last blog before setting out on the trip and I'm writing it sitting it in my wee garden. The sun is shining, the birds are hopping about and insects are buzzing around. I'm wondering when I'll next sit here, what experiences I'll have had and, most importantly, what the garden will look like when I get back! My overwhelming feeling is one of excitement but of course there is a nervous knot in my stomach too. I'm not worried about cycling the distances, travelling and camping alone, or getting over the Andes and across America. These things are second nature to me. Like most people I suppose, I worry about failing and looking stupid!

Whenever I have any doubt, I remind myself of a favourite saying which is an old Tibetan proverb - "it is better to have lived one day as a tiger, than one thousand years as a sheep." I also think about all the support I've received from family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, especially from my best friend, Graham, who's helped me a huge amount. And I know so many people are sending me off with their best wishes which include this brilliant poem from a colleague in Motherwell:
Pauline's leaving JCP, to travel over land and sea,
Embarking on a worldwide trip; buses, trains and cargo ship,
She's off to far flung places; just a backpack, no suitcases,
An exciting lifetime hike, with her trusty little bike,
On your travels spare a thought, on dry land or at some port,
For all of us you've left behind, still subject to the daily grind,
Keep in touch and let us know, where you've been and yet to go,
Though we're just as jealous as hell, we all wish you a fond farewell.
So all my worldy possessions are now safely deposited at Dad's Self Storage facility, the bicycle is loaded up and I'm ready for an adventure that I hope will be my "one day as a tiger." Mind you, given that my only travelling companion is a 3-inch-high, bright orange, stuffed Disney toy, perhaps that should be "one day as a tigger."

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