Destinations Magazine

Everything is Impossible, Until It Happens

By Davedtc @davedtc

In late 2013, I decided to ride a bicycle through Africa in an attempt to turn my life around. My parents had passed away back home in Ireland but, to tell the truth, it was not their memory that had dislodged my equilibrium, it was me indulging in self-destruction. It all seemed so impossible on the airplane as I sat reading a beginner’s manual about how to repair punctures, but after a year spent riding through deserts, mountains, remote wilderness, and wildlife corridors, I returned home to appear in a series of newspaper, radio, and television interviews.

I had a need to recall this journey recently, and then to put it back in the archive of my past again with the rest of my travel memories. For the old axiom is right; no matter what has happened in your life, you need to keep moving forward and, regardless of how impossible something may seem, nothing ever is.

Bicycle and the desert

Cycling into the Namib Desert, Namibia

After the Africa Cycle Tour

Having spent an entire year living alone in a tent, and riding a bicycle through empty landscapes, I found it impossible to settle back into my old lifestyle. I had taken on the role of a travel agent in Canada, but it didn’t feel right to me, sitting behind a desk. Telling other people where to travel and what to do when they got there, seemed like a terribly odd thing to be doing given that all I wanted to do was to travel to these places myself.

I was also writing about the previous year’s adventures, but with so little stimulation in my new life, this was also proving impossible. The truth is, it felt as though time was somehow leaving me behind when I really should have been taking on more adventures, not thinking about the last one. I had given myself six months to let everything, “settle down again,” but as August collided with September, almost a year had passed and I was no closer to the moon than I was to settling down.

It was terrifying to step into the unknown and not have anything to fall back on, especially given how I had no real experience or blueprint for what I wanted to do. In my head I was fearing the worst, in my heart it seemed like the right choice, and in the end there was no option but to take a risk on doing something I loved, rather than staying to, almost certainly, wither away.

Solo traveler in Angkor Wat

Derek Cullen in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Everything Is Impossible

I gained so much perspective from the year I spent riding a bicycle through Africa, and it did genuinely change everything about my life at the time, but it also highlighted something about the present that wasn’t quite right, and something which needed to change – fast.

The fact was, that in the time following those solo travel adventures, I realised there was nothing to be gained from relying on past glories, and there was no reward for settling down either. The adventure through Africa was incredible, it would never be forgotten, but it was over, and it was far too recent to still be thinking about it when there were many more adventures waiting for me.

I didn’t want to sit behind a desk anymore, and I didn’t really care if I failed, because even that would bring an end to the time I had spent withering away and leave me free to pursue something truly worthwhile – to become a solo travel blogger. I thought it was beyond me to become a travel blogger, maybe even impossible, but as the train pulled into a remote station in Northern Thailand, I thought to myself:

Everything Is Impossible – Until It Happens.

Backpacker at the airport

Derek Culle, Solo Travel Blogger @NoHangingAround


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