Some questions have easy answers, others hard, and then there are those few that just seem impossible. For me the impossible question to fully answer is,
“Why are you cycling around the world?”
Three years ago this question felt much easier. Back then I was living in London, working as a physiotherapist. I had moved to the capital thinking it’s where dreams become fulfilled. But once living there, whilst sitting on the tube to work, I realised this wasn’t quite the reality. Many of the inhabitants of the city work as if on a treadmill, whereby however hard you try, you achieve little. For me London had started to feel like a city full of lost dreams. In my free time I went to bars, the cinema, the theatre, restaurants and museums. These are all pleasurable but when looking back each day seems indistinguishable from the next. I felt like just another urban zombie watching my life flashing by through sleep deprived eyes.
To try and relinquish the numbness I took up cycling to work. It gave me back a sense of freedom and control. I didn’t have to gaze at thousands of different adverts whilst being crammed into an overfilled carriage full of strangers each seeming to have the common purpose of getting to work without having to make eye contact or say a single word to another. The more I cycled the more my mind seemed freer to wonder, wondering to faraway realms. But just this wondering wasn’t enough.
I therefore decided to quit work and follow my mind and it led me to cycling around the world. It has now been almost three years and 26 countries on since I set off and instead of the answer to “Why are you cycling around the world?” becoming easier to answer it is now near enough impossible. This is because each new day can shine a light on a new reason, whether it is from seeing a beautiful mountain, river, night sky, sunrise, or wildlife. But however beautiful these often are the part which makes the “why” so impossible to fully answer is the amazing people I keep encountering. The ones that demonstrate how kind and beautiful our world is.
This is often contrary to what some of the media may portray about the people in foreign countries, including that of Colombia. Since arriving in Colombia from Panama I have been offered so much generosity. I have been invited to stay in the home of strangers, offered money for the cancer charity I am supporting and given food and drinks. Once when I ate in a restaurant as I went to the cashier to pay I was informed a stranger had already paid for me. These are the people that have helped to make this the dream I want to continue living and keep adding to the reasons of “Why I want to cycle around the world?”. Although at the moment it may be a little harder because recently in the area of Monserrate my beloved bicycle was stolen. However, one person stealing my bicycle will never stop me seeing the beauty and kindness in the people of Colombia and the world.
Ruby is this week’s guest writer, for more of her story you can check out her website. To find out more about biking in Colombia, you can look through our information pages. If you have any information about her bike please get in touch. If you want to share your story write to us at Angloinfo Bogota.