As my flight home from Cape Town descended into Newark four months and 12,000 kilometers after departing for Cairo, my first thought was…I want to turn this plane around and go back! I was so excited to see my family and flushable toilets (priorities) after such a long absence, but my thoughts and emotions lingered on the friends, places and experiences I left in Africa. The Tour d’Afrique staff and former riders warned us that transitioning to “normal” life would be challenging, but I think we all underestimated just how much a simple bike ride transformed our lives in both the short term and hopefully long term.
I never thought I would describe riding my bike and camping across Africa as luxurious, but the experience provided elusive extravagances. I woke up every day with a schedule, a purpose and a team. I went to bed every night reflecting on the day’s challenges and conversations. Every day was difficult, but the difficulty yielded a sense of acute accomplishment at each day’s finish line. Now that I am home, administrative tasks and chores sometimes overwhelm my existence. I miss the luxury of challenge, purpose, accomplishment and camaraderie experienced by the minute on the Tour d’Afrique.
The other riders are in different places now (some are still in South Africa at home or watching the World Cup), but we all feel the absence of the daily TDA routine in our lives. We have of course all connected on facebook, skype, picasa and gmail, which have helped maintain our friendships. I have already visited Cat and Dave in New York and Dana in Washington DC, and have plans to reconnect with Georgie in the UK, Ruben in Switzerland and Steph on the west coast. With each passing day I think a little bit less about Africa and a little bit more about my life in New York and pending adventure moving to California. But when I wake up before sunrise, eat carrots, run up a hill, meet a new friend, fall asleep before midnight or pack a suitcase, I feel like I am right back in Cairo. New challenges arise and life goes on, but now that I am home, I am just so grateful for the time spent and lessons learned riding away.
This is going to be my last blog entry on riding from Cairo to Cape Town. Thank you for following, commenting, supporting and cheering, and I hope to see you on the next adventure! There is always a next adventure…