The Next Episode

By Stephen | August 7, 2014

15,775 km total.

Even though we have spent almost one month in and around Ubud, barely cycling 70 km over four weeks, I have been putting off allowing myself to mentally declare our bike trip over.

Now that I am on a plane, flying to Hong Kong without my bicycle, and without Jane, I guess it’s time to accept the inevitable: the bike trip is well and truly over.

Slow Boat

Yesterday, in a great act of finality, I left my bicycle with a shipping company who will oversee sending my bike by boat first to Surabaya on Java, then to Singapore, and finally on its long journey to the Port Of Los Angeles, where I will, hopefully, be reunited with it three months from now.

This is a costly venture. The outlay of $300 to the shipping company is just the beginning. Upon its arrival in Los Angeles I will need to contract a third party to retrieve my bike, deal with Customs, and pay any import duty the US government deems I need to pay on my American-purchased, well worn bicycle. This could easily add another $200 to the cost.

Still, I just couldn’t face leaving my bike behind in Bali. It has become part of me, and I wouldn’t want to get around the streets of LA any other way.

Yes, LA. No, no plans to move back, but I am taking part in a yoga training beginning in November which will see me returning to Los Angeles regularly throughout 2015. It will sort of act as my base, without actually having a home there in which to rest my head. Let me know of you have a spare room in LA I can visit for a week sometime.

Fast Track

I am getting ahead of myself. Right now I am bound for Hong Kong, where I will visit with friends and apply for my Chinese visa.

Here are a few pictures from the future.

If all goes well, after that, I will be in Shanghai for two weeks, with workshops at Raja Yoga in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Oh I’ll also be teaching on the rooftop garden of Shanghai Centre. I’ll be teaching to up to 200 students for the opening of the new lululemon showroom. If you’re in Shanghai, come say hi.

Yup, I’m in Shanghai now.

From there I head to Europe, where I have yoga workshops I will be teaching until I fly back to LA in November. There is also a trip to London planned, including a train down to Brighton, should it have not washed away into the sea in a flash of lightning by then. Glad I kept my rain jacket!

Eight years ago Jane and I were wrapping up a decade of living in England. Since then I have only managed one trip back. I am really looking forward to seeing friends, their kids/dogs/houses, seeing what yoga in London is all about, and seeing how the beer scene has changed.

Unfortunately it seems I will be flying so much in the next few months that I will be undoing all of the environmental good I did by cycling for 16 months. I am taking the train in Europe when it is possible, but that is not often enough.

The Missing Link

There is one big piece missing from all of these plans. Jane.

Jane’s note: Big missing piece? Are you calling me fat?

For the first time in more than 16 months we are now more than three feet away from each other, in different countries, half-way around the world. That is extremely strange. We won’t be in the same country until we meet up in LA in November. Yes, after so much time together, day in and day out, for more than a year on the road, the first few weeks will no doubt be emotionally trying, but also will almost certainly be good for us.

Just as we have been adjusting in Ubud to interacting with people who aren’t the two of us, we now have more adjusting to do. We have created our own shorthand language, our own long-running jokes, and have become dependent on each other in a way only this sort of intense, close-knit travel can do. How we will adjust to our new reality is a great unknown.

I hope my hosts along the yoga road are understanding if I forget they don’t get my half-spoken thoughts, or strange references. I am sure I will forget that my sidekick, compatriot, and love isn’t there to turn to and share an aside with, a wry smile, a knowing look.

I know it will be hard for both of us, but I also know that it is challenges like this that help us grow, learn more about ourselves, and make us stronger when we come back together.

Soundtrack: Chris T-T, Love Is Not Rescue | The Magnetic Fields, Realism | The Magnetic Fields, I | Sivert Høyem, Ladies And Gentlemen Of The Opposition | Throwing Muses, University | My Dengue Fever playlist (Spotify link)  

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4 comments

  1. Comment by Cassie

    Cassie Reply August 12, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I smell a pending visit to the land of Chris T-T! :) I too can’t really believe it’s over. We just got back from a trip to Montana (I miss the mountains already), so I’ve been away from MFAcres for a few weeks. Glad to know you’re both feeling and doing well, and I am looking forward to the Stephen and Jane reunion. :)

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 15, 2014 at 2:24 am

      It has been so great to have you along for the ride Cassie. We expect to make our way to visit you in December, so get the craft ale ready, and we’ll bore you with tales from the road.

  2. Comment by Geoff

    Geoff Reply August 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Jane/Stephen
    In reading both your “end of trip” pieces I found myself enveloped in a kind of ethereal peace. Don’t know why. Perhaps because of Jane’s fabulous description of life back on Vancouver island (note to self – got to get there) and the surreal contrast with life on the trip, or perhaps Stephen’s parting with his bike, which feels almost as poignant as parting with Jane! Anyway, thank you both for these lyrical endings, and for allowing us to “ride” along with you over thousands of miles of discovery. It has been wonderful.

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 8, 2014 at 5:14 am

      Geoff, thank you for being such a faithful reader, and commenter. It’s so greatly appreciated, you can’t even imagine. Wasn’t Jane description of the island great? Because it took me there so effectively I desperately wanted to be there with her. You MUST visit. I will be in the UK twice in the coming months, but sticking to London/Brighton. There will be some free yoga to attend though…

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