I confess … I don’t know how but I am incredibly lucky!
Not just in the fact that I have seen an amazing array of people and places. Eaten a wider range of food than at any time in my life (from quasi-ceremonial sheep’s heart in Mongolia to the plethora of non identical samosas in India). Slept in locations varying from desert to mountain to river bank and hostel to tent to yurt to skyclad (well, not entirely naked if that’s what you are thinking!).
I am also lucky enough to have had more consecutive days of sunshine and blue skies than at any other time in my past 4-point-something decades.
This does not always transmit to warmth but the constant ingestion of Vitamin D is amazing and I have noticed the difference in my body and mind. I like to think that I am a glass-half-full sort of person who can spin a positive out of each and every situation but having blue skies overhead makes this so much easier.
The most difficult part of the journey so far has been the crossing of the Tari in Western Nepal during the monsoon season.
Admitedly it was after a protracted parasite infection, an over estimation of my capabilities following on from that and a stubbornness of ridiculous proportions. However, that time of rain and mist and more rain combined with grey skies to match my mood and a level of humidity which turn my last vestiges of humour into the metaphorical damp rag, was the worst extended period of time of the whole trip.
The weather and I mirrored each other in the most objectionable, continuously downward ricocheting spiral of misery possible, whilst still remaining upright on the bike and moving slowly forward. The grey skies and rain felt like it would never end and the brokenness of my body was all too soon replicated by the broken nature of my mind and my resilience.
Compare this to the halcyon days of crossing parts of the Tibetan Plateau or Mongolia or Central Asia with their stretches of desert Steppe, green pastures and everything in-between stretching out under that endless blue dome. Difficulty and ‘adversity’ feels surmountable and positivity reigns supreme in the Lands of the Blue Skies. Colours seem brighter, smiles from others wider and welcomes more expansive when bodies are topped up with the necessary range of UV light and the ability to convert it.
And so I pass on this image of a landscape and yellow scarf, which was given (‘gifted’) to me as I was crossing the north west of the Xinjiang, China. The days were cold with my smile getting ever wider as I met more and more Tibetan men and women who welcomed me into their homes for minutes, hours and days and who’s ruddy red cheeks and mine spoke of wind, delicious hot momos (Tibetan style dumplings) with spicy, chilli sauce and sunshine and blue skies.