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Change tends to occur gradually and imperceptibly. Until one day a certain comment or moment suddenly reveals its full extent. One of those moments of realisation happened to me in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
It was my first morning in the country, camping by Lake Buško. It had been a chilly night, and I came across a meadow covered in dewdrops. The rising sun lit up hundreds of spiderwebs in the vegetation. A perfect opportunity for some great macro photos. Not long ago I would’ve been thrilled to see something like that. (Like a year ago in the Netherlands, when I took the below photo in a very similar situation.) Now, however, I didn’t even take out the camera. It just didn’t matter to me anymore.
And at that moment I knew my journey would end soon.
Even if the final realisation was sudden, the thought itself had built up over time. Gradually over the last months, my interest in cycling, seeing new places and taking photographs had diminished. I’d seen plenty already, so what’s the point of another new quaint village, mountain vista or green valley? Does it matter whether or not I take yet another photo or find another nice campsite? It has become more difficult to be enthusiastic about these things, which is a strong sign that I’ve already travelled long enough for now.
After all this time, adventure is turning into routine and excitement into banality. When meeting people, I don’t smile as much as I used to. Even the freedom I used to write about, my most important principle, is not with me anymore. Not when faced with the thought of continuing for another four years.
Therefore it’s time to take a break from all of this. I will probably be going home for some time, within the next weeks or months. Until then, I won’t be cycling much. And after that? Will I continue the trip, and when? I don’t have answers to those questions. Whenever the strong desire to be on the road returns, that’s when I’ll push my bike towards new adventures again.
One thing that makes this decision much easier is that I already have some inkling of what I want to do instead. If I was simply returning home with no plan, letting go of this trip - and everything it has meant to me - might be a great deal more difficult.
But actually, a new dream has been developing lately. There’s something I currently want to do even more than the bike trip. I’ll talk a little bit about this in the next update. Just so you know that it’s not the end of the blog yet.