I can’t go on, I’ll go on

I finally booked my flights to Anchorage the other night, so now, after two years of planning and dreaming (and rethinking and deferring), I am officially on my way to Alaska. It hardly seems real, but I assure myself it is. Strange, when something has inhabited the inside of your head for so long, to pull it out and try it on for size, and realise that it still fits – and that in fact you’ve filled out and grown into it.

I wasn’t ready for this ride two years ago, and now I am. Not that I feel it. I’m getting used to the way this works – the perpetual sense of impending embarrassment and looming failure; of having bitten off more than I can chew. And somehow, alongside it, the calm objective knowledge that I probably will do it, because I’ve always felt like this, and yet I’ve achieved more than I ever believed I would. If I managed to pull off riding across Asia, there’s every chance I’ll be just as successful in riding from Anchorage to Seattle in winter, not so much because I am capable of it now, as because I will become capable in the process of doing it. There were several points during my Asia ride where I found myself thinking “it’s too much, I can’t go any further”, and sincerely believed that I’d have to give up – and then somehow it would always be OK in the end, in ways I hadn’t been able to foresee. Someone would give me food or a place to stay, or I’d find a bit of spare energy, or I’d ride through the despair and find optimism on the other side. Sometimes it was just a matter of it being easier to keep going than to stop.

During my three months on the road this winter, I expect I’ll spend a lot of time thinking “it’s too much, I can’t go any further”. But this time I know I’ll succeed, although I don’t yet know how. You don’t, until it happens. It’s this great unknown that we find so frightening.

Leave a Comment

11 Comments

  1. Posted November 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Make sure you pack a good coat, Emily!

  2. Posted November 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to reading all about your adventures!

  3. Zero
    Posted November 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Although my tours have been considerably less epic than yours I recognise that feeling of despair – and the accompanying satisfaction at getting through it. Hell – there are still days like that when despatching through the winter…

  4. Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I love your final “During my three months on the road this winter, I expect I’ll spend a lot of time thinking “it’s too much, I can’t go any further”. But this time I know I’ll succeed, although I don’t yet know how. You don’t, until it happens. It’s this great unknown that we find so frightening.”
    This paragraph inspires me lot

    • Hajo
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      I just quit my job to start my own business. Same experience. At first frightening, but you have to do it to find out if it is the right way. Feels good to take the own life in ones hands with all consequenses.

  5. Hajo
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    You will really do it! Just checked your blog 2 or 3 times after you returned form japan. It is like a jump in time reading that you will start to alaska now. All the besteht, take care and always listen to what your heart and intuition is telling you. You are always welcome in hamburg

  6. Kirk
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    When you get here Darwin’s, I’m buying.

  7. Andrew
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Thumbs up and and enjoy it all

  8. Angela
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Forget the success/failure thing, and think experience! Whatever happens, you won’t be a failure. (Who’s testing, anyway?) It’ll doubtless be an amazing experience, whether you take the route you are planning, or whether you vary it in any way, according to conditions/circumstances. Good luck with it in any case, Emily!

  9. Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    YES!! Can’t wait to see you down that snowy road, Emily! Atlin cabin coziness awaits you, if you can make the detour…

    • Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I’ll be riding there as fast as I can – you guys have become one of the major tourist attractions of my holiday. (‘Holiday’.)