One of the real luxuries, and indeed part of the appeal of my job as a professional cyclist has always been the fact that I get to travel a lot. I love getting around the place, I really do, and I think to be honest that is one of the appeals being a writer has for me. There is a parallel there, in that I can do either job anywhere, as long as I have the very basics - a road (you find these in most places) or a laptop - I can do my thing and it doesn’t actually matter where I am, in fact the further away from home the better my work output seems to be.
But of late, being as I am on something of a forced hiatus, thanks to the painstaking recovery of my elbow, I’ve made an odd discovery; when handed the option of going anywhere in the world, I don’t really know where to go.
You see, I’ve been to a lot of places, but it seems I’ve always had a reason for going, that might just have been the slightest, teeniest hint of a reason to go (that I happily will take and go forth without even a second’s hesitation). I like to feel the pull; I sometimes (very occasionally) do need the push too.
If I think back to all the places I have found myself, very similar external influences have led me down these particular paths; primarily it’s been racing, where the races are I will go, that is my metier after all. But after that, the things that have taken me by the hand and led me to other lands have been quite simple, either girls that I’ve been enchanted enough to cross seas to visit, or the convenient location of friends somewhere other than home.
With me it really is a case of the blind leading the blonde, I do after all have a tattoo on my fore-arm that makes a smirking remark about how easily led I am, and I have no problem with this at all, having had a remarkably good time in all sorts of places so far. But what I want to know now is, with time on my side, and the world at my feet; what is it that will shape my horizon? Where will I find the influences to set sail to lands anew?
Perhaps it will come from a book? I have just finished reading Pedro Juan Gutierrez’s The Insatiable Spiderman, and apart from all the underage sex, there seems to be quite an appeal in all the dirt and seediness of Havana.
Perhaps it’ll be a song that triggers my next destination; there is something in the weary sound of Cedars of Lebanon by U2 that really pulls me toward some splendid isolation somewhere east of here; waiting on a waiter, he’s taking a while to come/ watching the sun go down, on Lebanon.
Or maybe it could be a chance encounter; luck and time are after all the two prime movers of the universe. I suppose my real skill is not knowing where or how I will get myself to places, but instead being open to the suggestion of these tides, and having so far navigated semi successfully my way around the place. I guess the Zen thing to do would not be to try and work out the where and why, but do like the man from that great Guiness ad and simply wait. ‘He Waits…’