I didn’t expect homesickness to strike in the first week, but it did, and it hit me like a brick.
I didn’t take off on this journey because I wanted to leave my everyday life behind – on the contrary, I like my Berlin life a lot. I left to get to know a different style of living, to experience the life on the road with all its pro’s and con’s.
And if you leave something nice behind to go find something else thats nice, at some point you won’t get around missing the nice things you knew before.
Of course I knew that this bike trip wouldn’t be as comfortable as my homely Berlin life, of course I knew that I wouldn’t have my friends with me, I’d be more alone and I’d miss things that made up my world until leaving. In advance to the trip, I told myself again and again that for every breathtaking experience, there would be at least one or two shitty ones.
But knowing something doesn’t mean you’re prepared for it, and after a week of biking I was surprised to find myself as homesick and downtrodden as I was.
While we did have a surprising amount of beautiful moments, the bad stuff (shit weather, a knee injury within the first week forcing me to rest in Prague, and the knowledge that I won’t see my familiar setting for a long, long time) still got me way worse than I expected it to. When you’re wet to the bones, driving through rainy landscapes, the negative thoughts hammering through your brain with every kick into the pedals, it’s easy to miss home. Doubts are creeping up: Isn’t it batshit crazy to bike to Tokyo? Was this really a good idea? Yes it is, and yes it was, but as I’m sitting alone in my hostel room in Prague, chained to my bed by my injured knee, I feel small and alone. Lost in the world indeed, but not in a good way.
On the other hand, as fast as depression can creep up, a single beam of sunshine lurking through the clouds can turn it upside down, just as naps or snickers usually can.
A true chaos of the mind, which will surely settle down as we get further away from home and confirm our hopes for this adventure, hopefully unbothered by injuries etc. For now, the bad vibes reign, with a doctor telling me just today that I’m taking a risk if I continue biking, as no one can say when or to what extent the healing process will finish. To me, it’s obvious that this trip is not over in Prague, but I do think about the option of reality catching up and my knee failing for good somewhere in Iran. Best not to think about it.
As bad as things might be right now, the memories of driving down the wonderful bikeway along the river Elbe in the sunshine, amazingly friendly warmshowers hosts or the evening where we did nothing but laugh still shine bright, waking my wanderlust and warming the heart for the cold days still to come. The homesickness will fade as well, when we’ll get used to the constant travel and the ever-changing surroundings.
As long as the longing for home doesn’t become so great that it doesn’t leave space for the desire to go further, all is fine.