It is incredible how much we sleep this trip: most nights we are in our sleeping bags by 20:00 and then sleep until somewhere between 05:00 and 06:00 in the morning, no alarm clock required. What a luxury! Of course we are a bit more active than usual so it is normal that our bodies require more sleep, but it is also the confirmation of my suspicion that the usual 7-8 hours I give myself at home might not be enough. I make a promise to myself to really make a point of getting enough sleep, especially as I will be starting marathon training next year (eek!) which means my body will need every bit of recovery that it can get, maybe even more than it does now.
We are strong, though. Not that what we do is extremely challenging (there is always someone going further, faster, harder, more suffering), but almost a month into the trip it has just become this thing that we do. We wake up, pack up, dry the tent (if sunny, but almost every morning it is soaked with condensation) and eat our breakfast before hopping on the bike. Then we cycle for an hour and half, eat second breakfast, and continue until it is time for lunch (we cook or we eat out) and then dinner. Somewhere around 17:00-17:30 we stop, find a campsite, eat dinner and sleep, repeating the same cycle the next day. Sometimes we climb up a mountain pass and curse and sometimes we soar downhill shouting with glee but at the end of the day it hardly matters.
Of course there are variations in this: sightseeing, rest days, errands, laundry, baths, bike maintenance. Sometimes we just sit somewhere, basking in the sun or hiding from the rain. Life is simple. We do what we want. We don’t always want the same thing and then we compromise and/or sometimes get annoyed, but we have done this so often that even that has its own predictability to it.
You might call it ‘adventure’ because we are never quite sure where we will be sleeping that night, but as a creature of habit I love the simplicity and predictability of this life, even though we never know what is around the next corner (although with the excellent maps available, that’s not as true as it used to be). Whatever it is, we can probably deal with it, and if we can’t, we will find a way to deal with that. A very comforting thought.