When I was little, I hung off trees, walked on my hands and nothing excited me more than the prospect of packing bags and going somewhere. Near or far, just somewhere.
When I was a teenager I made a conscious decision not live at home (read home country) and to move out. Just for the sake of it and also to “stick it to the Man”. The grand plan at the time was America but I eventually came to my senses and even my baby English started to shape up in the British way.
When I then moved out to and started my new life in the UK I was considered somewhat strange and mildly adventurous within my own peers. Little did they know.
When I announced that I was going travelling and that my journey was starting in Turkey, my mother went one shade greyer and my dad uttered his favourite swearword under his non existing beard.
My brother is a much more conventional soul, yet he shrug and let it slide. His childhood tricks consisted of such pranks as hiding his report book under the carpet only to be found when the family moved houses years later. But what do I know? He may have secrets to tell me…… I have not seen the fella in years. Not properly. He has grown taller, more muscular and has a big nose, the family trademark. He is a spitting image of our dad and already his forehead is more visible, hair thinning. The grumpiness is inherited – in both of us. He is no longer my little brother and if he wanted to return all the punches I served him when I was the taller one, I would probably hurt a lot.
So I, the beloved sister that he calls me, have come up with a plan. A grand plan. It may have something little to do with my soon approaching mid life crisis and the need to do something EPIC. Something grand and memorable. Out there.
In the last 10 years I returned home twice and no member of my non adventurous family ever came to see me in the various exotic destinations. Maybe I should check out what the milkman looks like. The grand trip #3 is coming up soon. My return will coincide with my mother’s 70th and my own 35th birthdays, all but one day apart. It’s a powerful constellation and fits perfectly with all my crazy ideas.
Brother + sister + two bikes + some essentials and 350km on top of this birthday cake to reach the town where we were both born and where the celebration will take place. I would do anything for a cake.
The planning of the route has commenced whilst some resisting force has been forming in the rows of the village elders. But this is more like pouring oil on fire and we may add a couple of kilometers just for a good measure.
I have started training. For Czech. This equals at least one beer a day and for the cycling part, the endless roads crisscrossing the countryside in my town of Siem Reap provide for a perfect opportunity to try and test one’s ability to stay in the saddle for a few hours and race the wind. The scenery here is breathtaking (sometimes literally with the blistering heat) and so quintessentially Asian, it feels like my second home which it is. But the more I think of my first home the more I yearn for meadows, fields or corn, rolling hills, wild flowers, pine forests and misty mornings. The photographer in me cries with a pure excitement only thinking about the new opportunities ahead. So fresh and so new. God knows if we will ever get anywhere……click click click…
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night excited and unable to fall back to sleep.
I will remind myself of this when I am saddlesore, rediscovering hills, in the middle of nowhere with nothing else but fatty sausages to eat – but more on this, and other aspects of tackling the Czecho culture later. Watch this space, 26 sleeps to go ….
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.