Scott Sums It Up
When I first heard about the TDA I thought it would be a great adventure and a fun time. I had no idea that this trip would affect me in such a profound way. I’m lucky, with my work as a Lonely Planet Guidebook Author I get the opportunity to travel more then most. I’ve been to some pretty cool places and done some pretty neat things but the TDA has topped a list of lofty heights. The ride, the sights and the people I met along the way all combined to foster an experience that I won’t soon forget.
In Egypt and in Sudan we had the opportunity to see so many amazing things. The wonders of antiquity in Egypt were nothing short of awe inspiring. To start the ride under the shadows of the Pyramids was a truly surreal experience. Like riding through the pages of a history book, everywhere you looked there was something to capture the photographers eye and drop the jaw. While Egypt was awash with history and the known – Sudan was a mystery of the great unknown. With the feel of the ragged edge of the map and the spirit of adventure we forged a path seldom traveled. While like many, I had trepidation in my thoughts as I entered Sudan, bad press is its middle name. My expectations were shattered in a friendly embrace of local hospitality. Never have I met in all my travels a more hospitable local population – within hours I was in love with the country and was already lamenting my relatively short stay in the nation.
As a bike ride the TDA was everything I look for. There were hard days – the roadless tracks of sand in Sudan. There were easy days – howling tail winds and perfect pavement in Egypt. There were days I felt great and days that I felt like I’d gone ten rounds with a prize fighter. As I often remarked along the way, if we wanted to do something easy we should have stayed home and sat on the couch. I wanted a challenge and I got it. I wanted to push myself, leave nothing in the tank and see if I still had a smile on my face and I found that answer too. Every morning, even if the day previous had been memorable for all the wrong reasons, I was overjoyed to throw my leg over my bike and do it all again.
When I look back on this experience I’ll have many memories to choose from; Fantastic sights, stunning solitude and the overwhelming sense of achievement for completing the stage. What will ultimately resonate, after the suntan fades and the photo album finds its way to the shelf are the friends I made. I never expected to find so many comrades in arms amongst such a rag-tag group of global vagabonds. Perhaps it’s the closeness that forms through the common struggle of living in the wilderness and riding a bike too far every day. I’ll never forget these people – they’ll forever be etched into my memory and be synonymous with this adventure. I think the words of a far better writer then I sum this up with the gravitas it requires:
“From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhood’s cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day”
-William Shakespeare – Henry V
Thanks for the memories, thanks for the adventure and until we meet again dream big and live your dreams.
– Scott Kennedy Lonely Planet Relay Rider