It's still nearly a month to go until the start of the cycling trip and I am finding myself oddly prepared. Flights are booked; tools, gadgets and supplies are bought; bike bag is taken care of. It all works out somehow. I'm even lucky enough to fly with a BA flight that allows me to check in two bags, so there's no need to lug around all my panniers as carry-on. The only thing I'm still a bit unsure of is how I'll get to the airport, but even the worst case scenario of having to cycle there in the morning and then bagging the bike on the spot is something I'm quite prepared for.
I did my very first cycling trip in 2007, and the very biggest and solo cycling trip in 2010. It's hard to believe that there's only 3 years in-between those trips, and already 4 more years have passed since. It's as if I've experienced those years in Japan in bullet time and now time (and life) has returned to normal. Things have changed a lot since 2010, and so have I. And that's also part of what will make this trip excellent and unique in its own way. Last time I specifically went cycling because I didn't know what to do with my life and I wanted to keep the final decision open, but this time I know exactly what I want to do with my life, and what I want to return to. If, after four years, I still felt the same way as I did back then, then I wouldn't have made progress as a person. But things are starting to fall into place for me.
Things are going to get pretty tough. I'm heading to Hokkaido which is a lot colder than Kyushu. Last time I was cycling towards summer, now I'm heading away from it. Besides that, actually having a life to return to means I'll be more easily tempted to just head on home whenever I feel like it. That's one theory, at least. The other one is that because I know I'll have a home to return to, I'll be more comfortable about cycling to the finish. Who knows. Either way, I'm really looking forward to it. In terms of distance this trip could easily turn out to be longer than the last one. I've improved a lot since then. I actually know how to fix a flat tire this time! I can withstand the cold better after last winter's ice climbing adventure. For the last trip's preparation I often cycled 12km and back to the seaside on a flat road; these days I often cycle 25km and back in the hilly English countryside. With a new bike and less luggage than last time, this trip is definitely going to be awesome.
(Alright, that was me trying to motivate myself >_<; move along folks, nothing to see here)