Homeward Bound

Thinner and uglier, but a hell of a lot wiser

So this is it. Delhi was the last blast in a string of unfamiliar worlds. We’ve biked through these worlds and soaked up the landscapes and cultures, trying to let them change us. Yet all of them remain foreign, because each experience was fleeting. That’s the thing about a trip like this; the nature of a bike tour means that there’s no place to miss. All it is, really, is a lifestyle. We decided to live a certain way for six months. Almost every day we moved, and if a routine set in it didn’t last. Every day we woke up in a different place, and experienced a different world of people and climate and roads and hills and emotions and even the ‘change’ changed. Will we miss the lifestyle? Time will tell, but as our taxi lurched through the city on the way to the airport neither of us felt any qualms about saying goodbye. Strangely in a daze, we didn’t really feel anything at all. We’ve amassed a world of experience, and the proof might be in the photos, but the truth of it will only be felt by those who know us, because even we can’t identify if and how we’ve changed. In the end, that might be the only thing that matters. Continue reading

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China: the Bad, the Ugly, and the Really Really Good

Kunming to Dali, the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangri-La – 2 weeks, 900km

China overwhelms and assaults the senses. It’s also a land of contradictions that has you groping for air from the terrible truck exhaust one minute, and gasping in awe at a 10,000ft deep gorge the next. In the past 2 weeks we’ve been through bike-touring hell and back, but are now perched on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, giddy with excitement at what the next 2,000km and 4 weeks will bring. We sit in blissful high-altitude comfort in the mythical town of Shangri-La surrounded by initial glimpses of Tibetan culture, and the joy of being in the mountains makes it especially hard to reconcile this new wonderful China with the same China we escaped from only 5 days ago.

mists swirling around Himalayan Peaks

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Spoke ‘n Word

This blog is about bicycles. No, it’s about adventure. What is this trip really about anyway? As with anything in life, we’ve chosen to do this because we feel we need to. Simple. After three years of grad school – stress, intermittent social lives, the deadly combination of forced inactivity and the dull, boring glow of a computer screen – we felt compelled to take a journey. In fact we’ve been looking forward to this adventure ever since we started the landscape architecture program at UC Berkeley. Any design school graduate will sympathize with this. Continue reading