Cold flame

I’ve been sick here. I’ve been sick since China.

That was dysentery. I laid in a hospital and got better. In Vietnam an infection burst my eardrum. I stayed in bed for eight days and got better. I don’t know what happened in Laos. I just didn’t get better.

Nothing stayed inside. I’d eat dinner and shit my guts out the next morning. I suspected bad food. Alcohol, sweets, fried meat, MSG, dairy – I cut them all out eventually. Then I couldn’t even keep down plain rice and water. I dropped too much weight. Bloated, aching and dizzy.  Always dizzy.

But I biked.

Medical care in Laos barely exists. I was on my own.  It took me two months to diagnose myself. Not bad for an Arts major.

I had a stomach parasite. The pills to kill it cost 60 cents. I was cured a day later.

Good riddance in a way. But that bug taught me something – something I was afraid to admit.

Bike half dead and you’ll find there’s nowhere left to go. This trip doesn’t need my all anymore. I’ve outgrown the challenge.

Kilometers were never the point. I cycled for two years because I wanted to find my limit. I broke myself again and again, I cried and bled and screamed at the sky and I’m still not there. That’s fine. All I know is that I can’t get any closer on a bike.

I’m coming home, but not yet. A few short months separate me from New Zealand. I’m going with nothing to prove. I know exactly who I am now. I’ll pedal only because I love it and because I have a chance to do something special. That was the spirit in which this trip began, and that’s how it should end.

This mountain needed a peak. Only a fool would climb forever.


10 responses to “Cold flame

  1. Hi there – you made me cry. I am so sorry you were sick for so long but happy now that you are better. You have been and done so many amazing things – be proud of yourself. I am leaving you with a saying my Gramma used to say to us all the time – corny but I loved it.
    May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face and the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Safe journey, take care my friend.


  2. I’m sure you’ll love New Zealand. 2 years is an amazing feet. I don’t think you could ever look back on this trip and not call it an outstanding success.

    Glad your feeling better.

  3. Wow Mike! I had a bad feeling that something was not right.
    My prayers and intentions for your safety have been answered.

    The soothing calmness of the northern Saskatchewan trees, lakes and rocks will welcome you home. We are looking forward to meeting you with the stories of travel told by the flickering flames of a camp fire.

  4. Atta boy Mikey. Not even a parasite could keep you down. Glad that you’ve reached some type of closure with your adventure. The only question I suppose now will be: what next? Plenty of time to figure that out though. Enjoy New Zealand, and again, if you do somehow get diverted to Sri Lanka, give me a buzz. Peace out.


  5. We r so sad to hear that you were sick… Wish u get better soon and back on bike 🙂
    We miss you so much
    Reza & Angel

  6. Hi Mike,
    I just read my sister’s comments(Elske van der Werf, biking with Bauke) and she put your link up. Enjoy your travels. Whenever you make it to Chicago you’re always welcome. Elske knows that any friend of hers is welcome here!
    Happy travels!

  7. I’d been waiting and waiting to hear you make some kind of noise. Glad you’re back at it. Enjoy the rest of your travels then come home and share your stories.

  8. Your site is very inspirational; for a person who had shared and experienced as only a tiny part …hehehe missed your company while you were in ran

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