Throughout this trip I’ve dealt with the difficulties- and joys- of traveling alone. I’ll leave the joys to the majority of this blog, but for now…
This current bike breakdown has been a dramatic example of how traveling alone doesn’t necessarily leave you at risk, but limits your choices and narrows your view. Once there was no choice but to stop for the night, there wasn’t a second person to ride out for for food, or even walk to the nearest village and get some odds and ends- I couldn’t leave my gear, so I had to stay. In the morning it was the same when it came time to head back to Uige, and again when it was time to look for someone to take the bike back to Luanda. I couldn’t go out and find someone, I had to wait for my plight to bring bring people to me and then bargain from there. In some ways all that was besides the point. The real problem was I couldn’t take any kind of chance or even have a choice in what chance to take. I couldn’t seriously explore getting the bike running well enough to continue riding or even to ride back to Luanda. No matter what I could scrounge around town, I would still have over 400km of riding to make the nearest city and a bike issue could strand me in a much worse place than I already was.
I’m so used to being in the middle of this adventure and beholden to no one, that finding myself really wishing someone was with me has been a rather odd experience. Sure, it’d be nice to have someone around at times and I certainly miss friends and family, but in general I’ve been quite happy to be doing this trip on my own. Right now though, being alone is a real handicap and just adds to the frustration of the situation.
Stupid square root sign!