Back from the big big world. First day back home in Dublin with Pádraig and the family. First night’s sleep in a familiar room. Still pretty exhausted from the flight and the cycle. Still not yet fully ‘here’. Trying to share the experience of the past two weeks and a bit with people who ask how it was in the way the ask “how are you?” but who, I suspect, won’t quite understand what this journey was like – even if I tried to explain it to them, something they don’t really expect, and don’t want me to do.
Really, who wants to sit down and listen to stories and thoughts about 11 days of cycling up the hills and down the hills, along the coast, through dusty fields, in sunshine and through foggy, humid patches?
Being away for just over two weeks doing this cycle with my two friends and our ‘tour manager’ was a drastic brake from being here with Pádraig, the family, and all the people calling to the house regularly. It was far too involved to be a classic ‘holiday’, but it provided me with a reminder of what I’ve been ‘missing’: people, scenery, surroundings, all not really familiar, all offering different perspectives, all interesting, all challenging.
Tonight I feel that Pádraig needs to come along next time. To travel. To be on the road. To see, hear, smell, touch – different stuff. Not the stuff in his room or the house or down the road. Not the familiar. But the strange and beautiful, the ugly and nerve-racking, the new and the challenging. The world is bigger than what we experience day by day in our familiar surroundings. It’s, as Emilia said in one of ‘our’ songs from 1998, a Big Big World.