Capturing intricacies and nuances that characterise my journey through places and the people that inhabit them is a difficult undertaking. I usually find the best way to do this is through highlighting certain moments; the snow drift drawing across the face of Denali (The Great One), who poked her head above the clouds as I rounded a corner on the highway; staring out of my tent across glaciers, lakes, rivers, creeks and jagged mountain peaks dusted with snow; Lee the bush pilot and his forty years of stories from remote Alaska; Jay and Debbie and their glorious old school bus I stayed in for a night; Kaeli standing on the roadside with cookies from Janis & Jerry brought all the way from Anchorage- me soaked after just having exited a rainstorm as I rode down out of the mountains; Ramona, (now my bike's namesake) the roadworks lady, a native Athabaskan who drove me through a section of road as Mount Sandford, the King of the Wrangell Range, stood proudly in front of us on a (rare) perfectly clear Alaskan day.
These are a just an assorted selection of moments that I can draw upon right now. My journey so far has been filled by countless more. Moments defined by endless generosity, care and humility. Alaskans, in my experience, would give you the shirt off their back if you'd let them.
These experiences have only reinforced something I realised a long time ago. That to travel, for me, is about people. Those moments where lives vastly different from your own cross paths. Maybe for five seconds or maybe five days. These points of intersection have come at the most opportune times. Mostly, they occur when you least expect it and frequently they occur when genuinely needed. It's almost as if you feel the universe is doing you a favour. That's probably not true, but it's a nice feeling regardless.
Unfortunately all my best thoughts seem to come while pedalling. Makes sense I guess, when you spend 8 hours on the thing with only your thoughts, your breath, the landscape and the occasional vehicle passing by. The key, in the months to come, will be trying to hold onto those threads and weave them into something that can, at the very least, capture some of the beauty and intrigue that this crazy world has to offer. I'll let you know how it goes...