OK; 4.5 weeks to go!
Kinda difficult to contain my excitement now!
That came around fast. I can remember back to the day I looked at a world map to have a gander at where I could do my next cycle trip having developed the 'cycle tour bug' having cycled 3000 miles across America in late 2016. No sooner had my eyes made contact with the map, Africa sprung out. Literally punched me in the face and said ''Hey Tomás, bet you won't cycle here''. Challenge accepted!
As I get closer to my start date, I'm going to answer some questions I get asked a lot about my trip.
The first question being the one I've definitely been asked most:
*** 'WHY ARE YOU CYCLING AFRICA?' ***
Tbh, things should probably have been very different to my current situation. After coming home after my USA cycle, I applied for a PME Teachers Master's in the University of Cork. My application was successful, my school & lodgings were arranged, & I was all ready to start the course.
Well, that's the lie I kept telling myself. Truth was, I knew I wasn't going back to college. On the day I was supposed to meet my new school, I rang & said I wasn't coming. I then notified the college that I wished to relinquish my place on the course. I felt like shit for a little while, believing that I disappointed & let down those who wanted me to return to my studies. But sometimes you have to put yourself first, and I can say right now I made the correct decision.
The thing is, college isn't for everybody. This obsession we have in Ireland with college confuses me. I mean, I did a 3 year Arts course in NUIG in Galway (with the intention of going on to do my Teachers Masters). I didn't particularly enjoy college, but I was stubborn enough to finish & receive that all important piece of paper. My golden ticket to life & better things, as I was constantly being told.
However a cycle would change the way I looked at life.
As a reward for finishing college, I decided to take a gap year & cycle 3000 miles solo & unsupported across America for the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation. The cycle took me 7 weeks & I raised €7,950 for the Foundation. For those 7 weeks, I had a ball of a time. I learnt more about life in those 7 weeks than I did throughout my prior 22 years existence.
My father always jokes that the only University you need to attend is the University of Life. And the older & wiser I get, the more sense the man makes. I don't think he ever thought I would take him so literally that I would convince myself to plan to cycle the length of Africa all myself, but life has a funny way of working!
But if you, like me, are having trouble deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life, then attending the University of Life isn't the worse thing to do, I can vouch for that & I'm sure many more would too. I'm on my second gap year & because I won't be home until next March or April I'll certainly be taking a 3rd gap year. Maybe after 6 months of cycling through Africa I might know what direction I want to take with my life. If not, then no biggie, I'm sure the day where I'll shout 'Eureka, that's exactly what I want to do!' will come at some stage.
Until then, I'm going to embrace everything Africa throws at me! The different cultures, languages, history, scenery, hardship, moments of 'why the hell am I doing this' & moments of 'this is why I'm doing it', weather, landscapes, love, caring locals, wild animals & so much more.
In my eyes, an experience like cycling Africa top to bottom is priceless. No piece of paper from University or any fancy job title could match it.
Anyways, who wouldn't want to spend 6 months cycling around Africa on a bicycle!?!
*** I'm raising funds for the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation. Donal who fund raised tirelessly while battling Cancer has now had the Donal Walsh #Livelife Foundation set up by his family primarily in order to promote his anti-suicide #Livelife message.
The foundation will also assist in his other causes of providing age appropriate teenage facilities in hospital and hospice care centres. ***
Any donations to this cause are greatly appreciated!
Donation link -> Donate here!