Finding the fork.
14 May 1998 14:28:57 -0700
12:05 Fang Yuan Hotel; Beijing -- China :: 14 MAY 98
Hmmmm. Been a while since I've written. Lots of distractions.
The thought of extending this trip to include the Silk Road,
westward of Xian, has been in the back of my mind since Jay first suggested
cycling China. Initially, three months here seemed enough time to spend
a month with Jay, ride to Xian and continue onto the Silk Road for at
least a significant portion, though certainly not all the way to Kashgar.
Eventually, it became clear I wouldn't get very far beyond Xian in that
time. On top of that, the ride into Beijing forced me to acknowledge how
isolating and psychologically arduous a solo journey alonng such a remote
stretch of highway would be. It was tough at times even with Jay's company
in much more urban environments.
The Silk Road's lustre was off. Rather than give in to it, I
hung notices all over the internet: "Cycling China--Companion Sought."
A long shot. Even after a couple weeks of posting to every conceivable
newsgroup, on any travel page with a bulletin board, joining every list
server I could find, it proved to be a long shot which never paid off.
Instead, last week, I found a message on a touring web page
with the title, "China ride partner." Until yesterday I didn't allow myself
to believe it would actually happen, but the email exchanged in the last
few days bolstered my confidence enough to let you all know: I made a
wise decision in buying a one-year/open-return airfare.
Beginning in Xian, around the middle of July, I'll be cycling
the Silk Road, perhaps well into the autumn, with a 28 year-old Alaskan
woman I know only through a few exchanges of text. We have agreed to one
interim destination, Kashgar at the far western frontier of China and
the beginning of the Karakorum highway. After that, who knows? Pakistan?
If the political/visa climate improves, Tibet? Or branch into Kazakhstan
before reaching Kashgar? Nothing compels us to circle a point on a map,
or a day on the calendar. "The ride stops here," isn't in either of our
minds, only the adventure ahead.
Some opportunities find you, others must be sought; some promising
forks are obscured, and others well posted. All share the quality of an
adventure to be had. Take the plunge. Carpe diem. All share the possibility
of opportunity missed. Keep your eyes open, ears pricked up, intuition
on alert. Follow your heart. It knows where you want to go.
Since 1200 kilometres seperate Beijing and Xian, I'll still
get an excellent taste of cycling China alone. There's plenty to see along
the way so the journey should take all of June and a little bit of July.
Knowing a companion will meet me there dulls the edge of solitude sure
to accompany me.
This course of action, like all my plans, is subject to change
without notice. Different day; different carpe.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program of exploring Beijing.
~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.
What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.
What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?
See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as you love your self;
then you can care for all things.