Fukuoka city was closer than expected, and I arrived there around 11:30 in the morning. I considered cycling further, but I really had no route prepared yet. I cycled around a bit and found a youth hostel, parked my bicycle there and went out into the city. Just finished lunch, about to go out and walk around.
I found out the real reason why I got lost two days ago: my compass is not working! It's always pointing south-west... I gave it a few slaps and twisted it around a bit and it seems to work again, but I still don't feel very confident in following it.. I've got a spare one but the compassbell is just so useful.. Let's see if it still works tomorrow.
Today started out very dark and slightly rainy. I did my best to pace myself today, not going too fast, not pushing too hard on the uphills, as that's making me feel bad in the afternoon. Pacing myself felt great, and I had sort of a revelation just as the sky cleared up and the sun peeked through. The choice between going back to Holland or staying in Japan is still on my mind. I've been having a hard time recently trying to connect the 'big life-changing decision' to little me on a bicycle in Kyushu right now. The two concepts just didn't seem to connect. Today though, I suddenly saw a clear path through all my obstacles and I had a vision of exactly how I can make things work out. I'm not saying that I made my choice, but I saw exactly how I could make things work out if I did choose one particular option. It sounds a bit vague, but I don't want to make any final choice until the end of this trip. There's still hundreds of kilometers ahead of me that could still make me change my mind. But I feel more confident now that I've seen a potential path for myself that I would be more than happy to cycle on. It's like a game of chess: I'm in the middle of the game now, and I've finally seen a glimpse of the endgame. I'm winning, of course :D
On a physical note, my superpowers are gone. Maybe it's cause I'm cycling less km-per-day lately, or because the roads are more flat, but I'm running out of breath again. Perhaps I'm overestimating myself just because I was able to climb a few hills in the past.. Today I've been following route 3 for about 50-60 kilometers, and my mind tended to fast-forward to Fukuoka. I kept thinking that I was already there, ready to stop cycling at any moment, then tiring myself out because there was always 'one last hill'. This lasted for a good 20 kilometers before I finally got used to the flow of the road, and from there on I cycled on like I always do. It's almost like starting from scratch again: I have to get used to trusting my bicycle, my muscles, my compass, all over again.