'Although my days have a routine, the experiences along the way are far from predictable, far from ordinary. It’s exciting and nerve-racking, at times disappointing and shocking, at times delightful and bewildering. Moving through life this way is feast for the open mind and a satisfying squeeze for the soul of spontaneity. I love waking up and not knowing what I’ll encounter and I especially love cycling straight into the warm path of a setting sun without knowing where I’ll sleep tonight; a garden or a ditch, a locals house or a cheap motel.
Somewhere high in the foothills of the Himalayas, the cold gravel summit of a mountain pass provides a perfect place to set up camp for the night. It’s bitterly cold and below the ridge is a thick forrest of evergreen trees, the last nuggets of sunlight clinging in their boughs. The sky is a sheet of pink, orange and blue melting into each other like a water colour in a childs sketchbook.
A single concrete shelter with a goat tied up outside is the only shelter around, several old farmers are mixing rice in a deep copper cooking pot over a wood fire. Deep shadows fall over their body, the wall behind is a black wash with ash from the hundreds of cooking fires. They don’t speak a word of English but I help to stir the rice as we continue to communicate through sign language. The moon rises, the stars reveal themselves. The night is icy black. I stumble outside for some fresh air my legs are tight and sore from the days ride. I climb to the top of nearby ridge and listening to 'Big Hard Sun' by Eddie Vedder, the epic theme tune to the soulful film ‘Into the Wild’, a song wrapped in audacious veils of adventure sononymous with that rich heart of Christopher Mccandles. I started to scream silently at the stars. I felt a gigantic rhythm beeting within me, so high and out there and wild and happy amongst such epic nature. I have travelled far yet my skin and my bones and my head and my heart are right here, right now, a far away crease in the surrounding Nepalese Himalayas, a clear cold night, the warmth from the fire slowly fading down from my fingers and then out of my palm.
On my return to the shelter I notice to the goat is no longer there. Inside now holds a different stench and I notice fatty clumps of meet simmering in the pot. For the rest of the night the men continue to regale me with gestural stories, music and lavish amounts of goat stew smothered in chili and pepper. The heart was particularly chewy. The first swells of morning light break the horizon and start to warm the forests below. The gentle changing light falls on my tent and melts the ice that veiled in during the night. I open the zip and inhale the first fresh breath of the day, the smell of pine and glacial water fills my lungs. I’m tired. I’m happy. The dirt and grime of last nights meat under my fingernails, hair straw dry, thick with ash and the scent of smoke from the fire. My face is patchy and dry until a boiled water wash from the copper cooking pot. As I start to collapse my tent and load my bike I notice the goatskin, hung out in ribbons from a tree for it to dry in the early alpine sun.'