The Artful Salad Dodger

Cycling solo around the world in aid of UNICEF and Sports Relief
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Reflections on Leaving

I was excited to see my family and friends. But naturally, I was upset that I was leaving. But the time was right. I had stopped reflecting on my travels; even stopped engaging to some extent. My brain was rebelling and refusing to take on anything new until the experiences had been given the time to reshape my psychological landscape. At first, I resisted the down-time that was required, branding myself lazy. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself; sometimes it is just time.

With a roar of an engine, and the accompanying gurgle in the pit of my stomach, I watched Sydney disappeared into the blackness beneath me. A massive, almost nomadic part of my life was drawing to a close. The cycle was over, for now at least. I thought hard about some pithy life-lesson I could wheel out once I got home; a statement that confidently proclaimed “It was all worth it”. It had been a blast; that much was certain. But that somehow didn’t feel profound enough. The problem was that anything else I wanted to say felt insincere. Maybe I was a better person, but I wasn’t sure. As is all too often the case in real life, the moral of the story was unclear to me. Perhaps I would be able to glean something concrete from this somewhere down the track, or maybe the confusion and uncertainty was the moral of the story. Maybe the lesson is that sometimes a person can be made a mystery, even to themself.

One thing I can say categorically is this: my life has never, ever been so consistently exciting, terrifying and changeable, and it is the best thing in the world to know what that feels like. Onwards I go.

Filed under Travel Cycling Homeward Lessons

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Day 627 - 629 (22/07/13): Final Days in Sydney

And “enjoying my final days” began by running a really long way in Australia’s Royal National park with my good friend Stu. And yes, I know what you’re thinking; of course we did a large portion of it butt-naked! That was followed by going on a successful koala hunt to Sydney harbour with Rachel. Incredibly, I hadn’t seen one all trip, and that was frankly unacceptable.

The day before I was due to leave, I made nice with a bike shop owner around the corner, and was given a free box to pack my bike. I needed one from an electric bike, mind, since my bike is an absolute tank.

The emotional pack began….

Filed under Sydney Australia NSW Travel Cycling Leaving Streakingintheopen

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Day 622 - 625 (17/07/13 – 20/07/13): Melbourne

That afternoon, I had a daytime ganders at Melbourne’s plethora of stadiums before meeting up with Gaelle to go up the giant tower for an amazing nigh-time view over Melbourne. That led to a beautiful following day stroll with Gaelle, my new French tourism buddy, and ended with Coffee at a Café where the staff sounded so French that Gaelle thought the waitresses were actually faking their accents.

And the excitement didn’t stop there. On 20th July, Gil took me to my very first Aussie Rules Game. It was between Carlton and Richmond, and was off its tits. The pitch for Aussie Rules is ginormous. Its physicality is intense. And it goes on for ages. We had a blast.

It was all over before it began. It was Saturday, and my flight was upon me, and sooner than I could really wave goodbye to Gil, Gaelle and Melbourne, I was back among friends at Casa Central Hostel in Sydney. 

Filed under Australia Victoria Melbourne Aussie Rules Fake Frenchness

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Frosty Mango’s journey comes to a toasty end

It was a warm, sunny morning and I had searched (much like a crazed groupie) for the exact co-ordinates of Ramsey Street, the famous road at the centre of Australian soap “Neighbours”. Finally, Frosty Mango, my pet Mango and massive neighbours fan, and I, were within a few miles of Pin Oak Court, the setting of Frosty’s favourite show.

Taking a tram to Vermont South, Frosty and I stepped out into a gaggle of school kids probably chatting about the latest plot-line in Neighbours, and walked towards our destination. Soon, we had arrived, and Ramsey Street unfolded before us. It was glorious. I could just imagine Toadfish strolling these very streets. Frosty was so excited that he wet himself at the end of the street, right in the bushes next to Harold’s abode. OK fine, I wet myself in the bushes next to Harold’s pad. Shhhhhhh.

Frosty had finally achieved his lifelong dream of visiting Ramsey Street. I was so happy for him as the wandering security guard told us wonderful tales of this sacred place. As we rode the tram home, a warm glow came over Frosty’s face, much like the world being warmed by the sun at daybreak. This wouldn’t be the last of Frosty’s adventures; I was sure of that. 

Filed under Australia Melbourne Victoria Neighbours Toadfish Frosty Mango