I realized today that I have been touring Europe for two months now. Simultaneously I marvel at how quickly this has passed and how far away the beginning feels. Even as a week passes, I usually think “where did the days go” and “that place was really only two days ago?”. Instead, places occupy a nebulous sensation of people, weather, short stories and coffee and beer consumption. It reminds me of a Chilean friend’s explanation for measuring time: “I met you about four piscolas (pisco+cola) ago.” In the individual sense, it seems like a much more relevant measure.
Lifting my head from the wanderer’s mindset, where time is only vaguely relevant, is fairly disorienting. It’s also a bit frightening at this point now that I’ve reached what’s probably the halfway point of my trip (I don’t think the funds will last beyond Vienna). Living day by day, I hardly have to worry about stepping on that return flight, but once this creeps into my mind, it sends me into a panic. Should I start thinking about the after-trip already? Should I try to extend it? Or change it? I’m quick to let it go as I breathe in the spring air and watch the sun set behind Cologne’s massive cathedral. But now I suspect that’s going to pick at the back of my mind, growing larger as the end looms near.
To safeguard against this I’ve already devised some plans to relieve the stress. Pretty much all of them involve more traveling at some stage. I feel like it’s too early to quit this lifestyle. The people I’ve met along the way have reinforced this notion, and it seems like I could theoretically keep going in perpetuity. But that’s far beyond my scope at this point.
Here are some numbers for you:
Time in Europe: 8 weeks
Kilometers biked: 680
Kilometers needed to bike all the way to Vienna: ~2000. Better get going.
Countries visited: 4 (5 if you count Scotland, which is complicated)
Percentage over budget: 90%
Directly related – coffee consumed: unhealthy amounts
Percentage worth it: 99% (The price of the chocolate museum seemed a bit steep for only 1 free sample)
Articles of clothing where cycling has worn crotch holes: 2
Articles thrown out/still in use: 0/2
I think that covers the most important details thus far.