Yes, I know, this adventure in Japan isn’t over yet. But I have been pondering my next trip. Here’s the thought flow to give you an idea about how randomly my brain operates.
Stage 1 – I decide I will walk the Camino de Santiago de Compastella in Spain. I add it to my travel itinerary and join an online forum.
Stage 2 – I am in Japan and I realise that I just cannot do places that are heavily touristed. They do not excite or interest me. I just don’t see the fun spending a month around people with big cameras, the same “unique” backpacks filled with the same “travellers must have” stuff following the same well trodden path, and knowing that every shop I enter I will be another of the thousands (in the case of the Way of St James, the hundreds of thousands) of tourists who are to be accepted for the money they bring but only tolerated for the impact they are having on the places they colonise (for travelers can colonise places too). I ditch the Camino de Santiago de Compastella.
Stage 3 – I decide that I might as well do the NNW800 in the UK. It seems like fun and will be easy because I can understand (most of) the English and Scottish people because we all speak some version of English (yes, there are many versions of this global language).
Stage 4 – Some Hungarian backpackers tell me about their country and suddenly England and Scotland seem boring. So I do some research and discover that Hungary has plenty of cheap camping grounds with free wifi and lots of castles (hmm castles). Paul also reminds me that Hungary has Hungarian garlic bread, which we discovered at Eat Street Markets when I was home.
Stage 5 – The Hungarian girls also mention that Croatia has an amazing coast line, lots of camping areas and friendly people. Oh, and by the way, Romania is cheap and friendly.
Stage 6 – Now I am looking for the cheapest way to fly me, my bike and my camping equipment from Australia to Hungary. Or maybe to Croatia or Slovakia or Slovenia. Oh dear. Eastern Europe it certainly will be though. Largely because I am drawn to slightly out of the way places that are not so far off the beaten track that I can’t get wifi or a bed when I want it. Eastern Europe has loads of rural landscapes, which I love more than almost any other landscape. There’s something about tractors and people carrying hoes mingled with the smell of food production, be it animal manure or fruits and vegetables giving off their scent. And of course, there are castles. I want to see castles.
So that’s how my brain works. Now it’s time to work out the cheapest country to fly into with my bike (on a safe airline of course) and then book the flights. I’ll head off in early June for a month, returning to Australia on time to walk / shuffle the Gold Coast Marathon on 5 July.