Thoughts? Fear?..Steps into the Unknown / by Jimmy Hyland


(The Mongolian flag, Source CRW flags)


Cycling across Mongolia, on my own, on a bike felt for a long time as if it was just a plan, something that would be incredible... but it really didn't feel as if it was something that was going to happen to me. It's the kind of thing I have dreamt of since I was a kid, but  it's rapidly become no longer just a plan for the future but something thats really happening! And its an adventure that begins in less than two weeks.

Over the past month word has really got out about this trip and its immensely humbling to hear peoples reactions. So many people have been so incredibly helpful; offering advice, tips, past experiences and even lending me equipment to help me out en route. It feels as though  many people are pretty psyched on the idea, which is really nice to see. Some people have admitted not understanding the motive, or commented that they wouldn't want to do it themselves, others have said that maybe I'm a little bit crazy but non of these make anyone any less supportive, Its great to see the different ways in which people react.

One question that that I'm asked often is 'aren't you scared?', and if I'm honest I really struggle to answer that question because I don't really know? I'm certainly apprehensive, but aren't you always before you step into an unfamiliar situation?

I think the over riding emotion in my head is excitement, I can't wait to feel the freedom that will come with having everything I need packed into a small trailer and sustaining myself in what promises to be an incredible landscape for a fairly substantial period of time. I'm looking forward to being remote, away from the draws and ties of everyday life and slowing everything right down, going to a place where days of the week or dates are meaningless and all that matters is traveling forward. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and spending time learning about a very different culture. I love the fact that being on the bike will mean that I'm travelling slowly and will have time to properly immerse myself in the local way of life. I think the apprehension and unknowing adds a huge amount of excitement to the whole equation as well as a little pre trip apprehension.

Those things in mind there are also things I'm worried about, the most significant of which is being on my own for long periods of time. I love being around other people and strive to try and spend as much time with others as possible, therefore the thought of potentially going days without coming across another person do play on my mind a little, I'm not looking for solitude at all but its part and parcel of this trip and I'm interested to see how I react to this as a person.

Being on my own also means that If something does go wrong its down to me to sort it out, and that is a thought that has crossed my mind a few times. I strongly believe though that there is no point letting the what if's ruin the present moment. If something goes wrong I will have to find a way to sort it out, I have to trust myself that I can sort whatever it is out. It's this kind of unknown that adds to the whole adventure.

Virtually everything is in place now, the bike is ready, the kit is set, the camera system is all in order and the paperwork is ready to go, its safe to say I'm just super exited!