I began to tell a few people about our motorcycle trip about two years ago. For a couple years before that, I kept my two-wheeled dream almost entirely to myself, secretly stowing away plans, but unwilling to commit even to the act of description. I think I was afraid of both an incredulous response and an interrogation for which I was unprepared. Surprisingly, and perhaps due to good fortune, people rarely respond in the way I feared. My friends are enthusiastic and a little envious, my family is hesitant, but supportive, and my coworkers are excited for me, if not a little sad. The more people you tell something to, the more real it becomes, until it feels inevitable and you are caught up in a force quite beyond your will. There is power in that transference of will.
Now, less than two months from our intended departure, I am beginning to feel the pressure of what we intend to undertake. I feel as if a wave is gathering above me, lifting and propelling me forward, and now I must stand and ride where the wave will take me, or crash beneath it. There is no escape from it now. I am already in the wave. From time to time, I awake early in the morning panicked about the future, feeling suddenly the impossible immensity of everything at once. I feel engulfed in a cloud formed of every border crossing, breakdown, language barrier, illness, confusion, bandit, pothole, and rickety bridge. In this fog, I wonder what I am doing, what compelled me to think that we could take on something so immense. My heart rate increases as I stare at the twilit wall, suddenly wide awake.
I try to remind myself that while the fearful cloud is not real, it is natural to feel panicked before a great unknown. The overwhelming feeling will pass. The future can never be faced in its entirety. It is simply too immense—even when life seems mundane and predictable. One must, in order to continue living, have faith that tomorrow will be provided for, by whatever means. This is a sort of self-deception, but it is useful self-deception. It is a deception in which we all participate daily because the unknowable is paralyzing.