Why? - A new way... - CycleBlaze


... a new way of seeing things.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." 

I bumped into that quote from Henry Miller one day when flitting through the internet. It made sense, so I wrote it down. I've always travelled, my first independent journeys started at about the age of 16 and I've never really stopped. Over time, it's become a part of my DNA, but the travel has  seldom been easy and it's always been difficult to articulate why I'm still doing it more than 50 years later. Miller got it in one clear sentence. Travel isn't about reaching a destination; and when done well, it can be the means to a new way of seeing things. I suspect those new insights could be had with travels closer to home, but somehow travelling in a far off alien environment increases the odds that you will gain new insights. And doing it by bicycle? Ah, well then it's a sure thing... isn't it? 

So, pre-Covid I did a 60 day tour of Japan with my wife and there was some cycling involved (Shinanami Kaido). We hadn't cycle toured together for over 40 years. There is a back story there, but this is not the time or place to go over it. I usually cycle alone, cycling together with Ruth - now that was always going to be interesting...  Neither of us speak a lick of Japanese and few Japanese speak English. Simple day to day communication was not easy. Even the simplest of tasks - like finding food, water, shelter for the night - was a challenge. Google Translate did help, and so did having a fluent Japanese speaking daughter on speed dial. The culture is ancient, multi-layered, complex and difficult to decode - Wikipedia and the daughter on speed dial helped with this, too I think. How much easier travel has become in the 21st century...  But we still had some character building moments. For example, trying to book into a by-the-hour love hotel for the night. We all found it very amusing: ourselves, my speed dialed daughter, and the two cleaning ladies. That certainly was "a new way of seeing things."

But this journal is not about that ride... Sorry, but that ride will never make it to print. If you ever come to my place for a visit, perhaps we might talk about it over a single malt. It might take a couple to loosen my tongue. 

The Shimanami Kaido, not this time...
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This journal is about a short two week ride I did this October, 2020 on the dirt, here in Western Australia... 

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Rachel and Patrick HugensHi that quote was in my journal in 1992 when I took off solo to NZ on my first tour in November.
Starting research now on perhaps cycling in Japan. Did you like cycling in Japan in October? Thinking of what to plan as a 30 year anniversary of cycling.
Thanks Racpat
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1 year ago
Victa CalvoTo Rachel and Patrick HugensHello Rachel and Patrick,
Almost missed your comment as it went straight to my spam folder for some reason. I also saw your query about Japan in the forum. I have a daughter who lives there and my wife visits quite regularly (or did pre-covid). Our cycle trip was very enjoyable and we would have been back for more, but well you know... Covid. Japan is one of the most fascinating countries I've travelled in. And it was surprisingly easy to cycle tour. The locals were very open and friendly.

But as I'm sure you know, they are only just now very slowly and hesitantly reopening to tourists. Summer is very hot and muggy, except in the far north. October/November are good months for touring. I'd avoid summer or winter. And I'm not a big fan of big cities, either. The back roads are remarkably untravelled and quiet; I wasn't expecting that...

I hope that helped answer your questions.
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1 year ago