I’m going to be honest. It’s not all rosies. I began cycling Brazil feeling very low. And that hasn’t changed. As I pedalled away from Rio de Janeiro’s sunshine, the sky grew dark, the rain storms came and Brazils’ winter weather matched my own inner world. In a country where I didn’t understand even five words of the language, I was left with my own thoughts.
I cycled along Brazil’s coastline of beaches and tropical palm trees to reach the Amazon jungle some 4000 km north and I wondered. Was Brazil too dangerous for me to cycle alone? Had a solo woman actually ever cycle toured the regions I was heading to? Was it true what they said? Would I be robbed? Even worse; would I be raped? I was in turmoil as to whether it was too dangerous or not too dangerous. My confusion came from a thousand memories over the last three years, of people in different countries telling me it was too dangerous to do what I was doing. But here I am, sixteen countries on and still cycling. This confusion caused me anxiety.
But more than this I was struggling to make sense of my own world. Brazil was in a state of desperation and so was I. As I pedalled past mango trees and slums I didn’t seem able to do anything to stop myself sinking further down into darkness. I had been so happy when I thought I would have a family again. I ignored friends warnings. I am strong. I can deal with anything. It’s worth the risk I told myself. I rejoiced when I read the words, ‘lets meet up’, as I cycled Turkey hitting headlines. But then in February this year I heard the words, “It’s over, it’s finished, it’s done” and in those moments I wished FaceTime didn’t exist so I would only hear the words and not see them being spoken too. Discarded once more like I am nothing but trash. I didn’t wish to regress but perhaps I wasn’t strong enough or wise enough because the wall around my heart returned and once more I felt nothing for no-one. Detached on my own island of sadness as I had been before meeting Lucy the street dog in Turkey. Somehow I felt like I’d let Lucy down. That I’d rejected everything she had taught me. But in reality I’d let myself down. To allow life to affect me like this as it did all those years ago. I wished I had listened to my friends. I wished I had realised I’m not super strong at dealing with life’s obstacles as I am on a bicycle around the world. Thoughts that consumed me all those years ago returned. What was it about me that was so difficult and so horrible my parents didn’t want me? I may be cycling Brazil with a new postcode each night but I’m waiting. Waiting for time to clear away the dark clouds.
In the meantime I am lucky to be immersed in a cause bigger than my own self and needs.
My project documenting the life of Brazil’s street dogs and those who rescue them keeps me motivated and moving forward. To speak for the animals that have no voice of their own.
[ilink url=”http://worldbikegirl.com/dogs-brazil/” style=”note “]Dogs in Brazil Blog Post [/ilink]
I’ve cycle toured over 25,000 km of the world and I like to keep things real in my blog. It’s not always going to be blue skies and sunshine yet there’s a part of me that feels the need to apologise for a blog post which is not written with happiness.
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.