Fighting My Fears: Cycling Around Sri Lanka
Over the past few weeks I have been trying to plan my next adventure and the idea of biking in Sri Lanka crossed my mind. I had wanted to initially go there in June but the weather conditions were simply horrible and I had to put a blanket on those plans. But the weather is perfect in November and it is a month before the onset of tourist season. Empty beaches will be emptier and hill roads will often be isolated. The plan is to start from Colombo and take a full circle of the perimeter. The northern part of the island is shy of good tarmac roads and so I will be cutting across from Mannar and heading to Trincomalee. The total distance is about 1400km and I would take about 2 weeks to go around the island. Before I fly to Sri Lanka, I will make a quick stop at Bombay and watch the Jay-Z and Coldplay concert! I have to lug my bike in a carton everywhere and its looking like one big nightmare right now.
While I will be going to Sri Lanka completely self-supported and attempt a solo tour, I think I want to do more than just bike around in a foreign country. I recently battled an episode of depression and want to make something positive from the whole experience. What I learned in these months was that not everyone empathises with you and fewer are open to talking about it. Why this is so, I know not. So while I cycle around, I would like to talk about mental illnesses and how to tackle them. Sometimes people suffer for way too long without knowing what is happening to them. We are told to get our act together and get a move on, but I wish it was as easy as it sounds. I want to visit as many schools as I can and address the issue with children. I will try to bring up the issue over chai with the locals at every dhaba I eat at. There is a lot of planning to do and I feel I have got off to a good start. I have been riding everyday and trying to maintain a steady level of fitness.
I will try to visit some schools in Delhi before I leave so I can get some exposure with speaking publicly about the issue. When I come back, I will continue to visit classrooms and speak to kids. I have been deeply affected by the whole experience and don’t want anyone to have the same experience as me.
Very often we are driven by our passions – and having found mine – I want to make the most of it. While riding these days I spend a lot of time thinking of how important our passions are to our lives. This is my attempt to follow my passion and talk about my deepest fears with strangers; to suck out all the negativity and churn it into a big fat cloud of happiness and positivity. So if you’re a school/college teacher in Delhi or anywhere in Sri Lanka and think I make sense, please write back to me and we can take it from there. I am posting my proposed route around the island, so in case you want to offer me a place to stay that’ll be amazing! I look forward to hearing from all of you reading this and try and incorporate all your opinions.