Postponement

I’ve been thinking about this for the past 6 weeks in Istanbul. After so much thinking I’ve come to the very difficult decision to postpone the trip. I’ve been “travelling” for 3 months now. Except I’ve spent half of the trip so far in Istanbul trying to arrange my onward journey. There are many reasons to postpone, but the main one is that I don’t want to continue the trip how it is. It turns out I was/am woefully under prepared. I had no travelling experience and no cycle touring experience. I read a few books, bought some stuff, and jumped on a bike trusting that “it’ll all work out”. Turns out it’s not that easy.
I figure it makes sense to abandon this attempt and call it a training run. It was starting to take far too much time and therefore money to salvage it. As winter approaches, time is money, as the more time I take, the more money I have to spend on warm clothes to get through eastern Turkey as it gets increasingly cold.

Here in Istanbul I was going through the preparations for continuing the journey, and actively hoping I’d be held up. I hoped Iran would refuse me a visa, that would give me an excuse to quit. I hoped India would refuse. Why was I hoping to not be approved for visas? Surely a traveller should hope and wish and prey that visas are granted. That is the only way they can continue. I was hoping to be refused. To eventually have so many roadblocks that I literally couldn’t continue. That way I could return home with a story of how it wasn’t me that failed, but the situation that made it impossible.

I wanted to quit, but only if I had a good excuse to save face to people back at home.

I was no longer doing the trip because I wanted to, but because I wanted to live up to other peoples expectations. I’m a stubborn person, and I like to prove a point. But to be unhappy for the next year or longer because I want to prove a point or because I was ashamed of returning home, that’s no way to live. Then came the revellation that, so what if people think I failed? James, my brother, honestly didn’t think I’d get past Dover. I proved him wrong many times over!

How many people can claim to have cycled from London to Istanbul? How many have done it on a Brompton folding bike? How many of either group left with no experience whatsoever of cycle touring?

I think I’ve achieved something, even if it wasn’t my original plan. Many grand schemes have failed for many reasons. Mine was for two reasons: lack of experience; and the plan being too ridiculously grand. Five years cycling around the world with no real experience of travelling outside Europe and US and no experience of cycle touring! I was kidding myself!

But this trip has given me some experience. I have made mistakes. I have learnt a lot. The seven weeks from London to Istanbul have given me valuable knowledge of how to travel. In future I will put more planning into possible routes. I will put more thought into the equipment I choose. I will be stronger in the knowledge of what it takes to cycle long distance. I won’t make the same mistakes again.

However, I want to stress this is a postponement. Sometime in the future I will continue and go for a second attempt, I just don’t know when. But when I do, the date will be published here, and until then I will update the blog with planning for the second attempt, which will of course still be on a Brompton folding bike. Smallwheelsbigworld is not dead!

Jon

Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid. John Keats.

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8 thoughts on “Postponement

  1. That is sad! I enjoyed read your blog. But I understand you, to face problems you didn’t expected is not easy especially when there are too many.I hope your next trip will be without a lot of problems.
    Don’t forget that ,as you wrote it, what you have already done is very good and not a lot of people (included me) couldn’t do it!!!

  2. Jon, you have no face that needs saving. What you have done already has taken more guts, stamina, determination, and dementia than I have ever seen in any of my other friends!
    The past three months have been an amazing adventure for you, I’m sure. To do that route you have just done again wouldn’t quite feel the same. Have a postponement, sort things out, but start again for where you left off.
    With an adventure as grand as this, pauses and breaks are inevitable.
    What you have done already surpasses the dreams of most folk.
    Take some time out, regroup, and continue this epic voyage at your own leisure. You’re doing this for yourself, so do it to enjoy it.
    An extremely proud friend,
    Rowan

  3. Hey Jon.
    I’m sad to hear that it hasn’t worked out as you would have wished, but it’s still been a great thing to do! It’ll be good to see you again, too! Great final blog entry, by the way; I really enjoyed reading it.
    Neil

  4. hi jon,
    i’ve been following with great interest, and understand totally.
    i have a friend who motorbiked around the world[1], had an enormous adventure, got across Russia, Oz, SA, NA, and got as far as the last leg in Africa before a third or fourth major accident made her break off the trip.
    these things happen.
    the important thing is to keep going through life, not just a particular journey. never aspire to mediocity, and keep up the good work.
    best,
    alec
    [1] http://www.cynthia.boxerman.co.uk/maps2006.htm

  5. When we met I thought you were the most courageous man I ever met. Now I KNOW you are. Only a truly courageous man would say ‘Hey, enough this time. Regroup and return.” My best wishes to the doughty Margaret. fran

  6. Dear Jon, it must have been a difficult decision for you and you have shown courage and honesty. Best wishes and see you again next time!Giuliano

  7. Hey Dude,
    We’ve never met – but I truly enjoyed reading your rather humbling post script to your enormously brave attempt. I believe it takes as much guts to write that as it did to tackle a global circumnavigation.
    People like you rock, and should be…
    Admired, well paid, encouraged, promoted and…cloned!
    For the record, I’m a longhaul airline crew for BA and am set to continue my weekly globe hopping from now on with a folding bike – my first!! NOT a Brompton but a 2nd hand Dahon – but its a start. 1st trip with my new toy: Hong Kong tommorow. Cant wait. Im planning to just explore backstreets and visit Macau. If you wish to follow my (mis?)adventures, check my gallery (the link shown).
    Just to let you know too that as far as I am aware, I am the only crew out of 12,000 Heathrow based that arrives at the airport with luggage on a bike (a trike). Shame really, as it really is the coolest way to arrive. Need I mention that I am saving money, kicking stress in the teeth, maintaining a very punctual record etc etc..
    All the best for next attempt Jon – I’ll be an avid follower.
    Best regards
    Paul
    Ealing
    Youtube channel: ‘madtraveller100’
    (prhudspith@hotmail.com

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