I once saw a Buddhist movie where, instead of the typical Western ending where the guy gets the girl and they live happily ever after, the guy’s triumph was in finally overcoming his desire for the girl and letting go. It left a deep impression on me.
I’d imagined that my bike journey might end similarly, that I might stop when I felt I was done, rather than keep pushing myself on, fixated on some arbitrary end goal. It would be a kind of ‘letting go’, showing that I had learnt my lesson after my past years of burnout.
But no, that didn’t happen. Mainly because I just wanted to keep riding.
On my last day, I set off at dawn, winding through the forested hills. Shortly after sunrise I reached the end of the sealed road, as far north as it goes on the east coast of Australia (I’d started this journey as far south as the bitumen goes in Tasmania). No fanfare or crowds of media; just me alone in the middle of nowhere, on an empty road where the bitumen turns to gravel. Red dirt and eucalyptus scrub.
I made myself stop and dwell on the significance of this moment. I felt tired and glad to have finally reached here, though it had never really been about the destination. There was sadness too, as this marked the end of a journey and way of life that had changed me in many ways, and I was apprehensive about what comes next.
I sat and ate my breakfast there on the side of the road, then set off back the way I’d come.