Happiness is my writer’s block. These days I just feel right – in my skin, on my bike – and there isn’t much else to say.
Thailand was paradise. I don’t remember the heat, only canopies of gold and green flickering above as I pedaled the road south. It wound through salty fishing towns and seaside resorts, past rice fields, temples and beaming kids.
I’d set out before dawn with nowhere to be, nothing to see. I might ride for 12 hours or spend the day watching the monkeys watching me. It didn’t matter – I only wanted to be part of it.
When all was done I’d find a bed and some street food, then maybe a little spot to watch the sun go down.
Paradise. Just not mine.
Thailand is too easy. Its beauty and leisure are like quicksand and I hated to watch people sink. It seemed every guesthouse had a resident ex-pat who had come on vacation and stayed a lifetime.
They hiccuped into their drinks about the things they could have been – rugby star, teacher, family man. All I saw were sad eyes and bathrobes. Then they’d totter away to refill their stories and I’d be left wondering why Thailand is such a popular place to bury a dream.
Maybe it worried me a little. No doubt it lit a fire under my bike. I cycled most of Malaysia in less than a week and now I’m only a few hundred kilometers from Singapore. That’s the southern tip of the Asian mainland, the end of the line.
I guess it’s fitting I leave the continent the same way I came – by boat. When I crossed the Bosphorus in Turkey my head was swimming with doubt. I was sure of just one thing, and that was that I didn’t know anything. I was terrified.
It’s been more than a year and I still don’t have a lot of answers. No problem. These days I don’t ask so many questions.
All I want to know is what comes next.