When I first realised I needed a change I knew it had to be big. At first the idea was to just change jobs, shake the mind by starting something new. But this was a good job and it hadn’t worked, so what was to say it’d work next time.
I realised I had to leave London. I thought about moving back to my parents. But that felt too much like a reset instead of an actual change. I needed something different, something like an adventure. Something that would well and truly throw me out of this strange rut I had found myself in.
A writer who doesn’t write. The worst of both worlds.
If not London and if not the refuge of my parent’s house then where?
A motorcycle camping trip to Scotland.
Something I’d always wanted to do but always found excuses not to.
Ok but now I actually had to do it.
A slow way round
The goal was to take as many B roads and as few motorways as possible.
Three days seemed a fair shout, about four hours of riding a day. A slow meander through the British countryside. Chiltern Hills, Cotswolds, Peak District, Forest of Bowland, Lake District, then up the A7 to Edinburgh.
That was the ‘plan’ and before I knew it, the day arrived.
I began later than I wanted and started quite slow. Laden with gear, it took a moment to adjust to the weight. But it was a big bike and one designed for such a venture. Pretty soon I had gotten the hang of it.
My GPS was my phone, meaning I didn’t use it until I really had to, meaning I did get a little turned around a few times early one (and during one U-turn made the mistake of braking, thus almost toppling the bike only an hour or two into the ride… it wasn’t the best of starts).
But soon I got the hang of it and rode through the Chiltern Hills and into the Cotswolds. Through tiny stone towns I meandered until I stopped for lunch just before reaching Birmingham. A peanut butter sandwich and a granola bar.
Then it was onto the motorway to bypass the big city before jumping off again right on the southern end of the Peak District and riding through the little roads. It was here I needed my GPS and it was here my phone died. Right after riding past Thor’s Cave.
I pulled over and got the portable charger out. A few minutes of studying the map allowed me to jump back on and head to my campsite. This was the longest ride I’d done and I – and my arse – was shattered.
I got unpacked, made myself a simple meal over my single person camping stove, and crawled into the tent. It was only just getting dark and I had some reading time before drifting off to sleep.
Day one, complete.