Turquoise waters, soft and blue, stretched out to a distant horizon. An unperturbed ocean lapped steadily along sandy shores. The faintest of breezes murmured over the morning calm. Distant palms on a slight hill gently swayed in an offshore breeze. Pastel clouds of soft grays and powder blues painted the sky. A temporary pause in the rain brought stunning views as I pedaled my way up the hidden gem that is Taiwan’s east coast. I caught a glimpse of it just out of the corner of my eye. The slivers of sand on a solitary beach glimpsed between the trees of to my right. Fleeting bits of solitude such as these are to be savored and not passed by.
Not all who wander are lost. — J.R.R. Tolkien
Wandering is where the magic happens. Deliberate or purposeful wandering creates most of the excitement, adventure, makes for the best experiences.
Delicate pinks and soft pastel blues paint the skies with horizons fading. Occasional bats and swallows swooping and darting for a meal flash in my periphery. The glass surface of a still pond casts soft reflections of the surrounding trees and intermittent houses.
Life is old in rural China. Ancient villages dot the landscape. Families countless generations deep have grown and harvested tea in these hills and still do today. Traditional life still lives in this land.
Our Kiwi Odyssey in New Zealand is fast approaching, only three weeks away. We are busily reading ourselves and gear for what promises to be an excellent adventure.
Building on adventures to Japan last summer and fall, we’re making a few upgrades to our bikes in preparation for our Kiwi adventure. In conjunction with necessary bike inspections, routine maintenance, and tune-ups, each of us has made a couple of upgrades to our bikes.
Standing on the precipice of time at the end of one year and the beginning of another, I can see the final glimmerings 2017’s twilight falling into the darkness behind me while 2018 lays just ahead in the pre-dawn light. In a moment’s pause, I look over my shoulder to cast a few final furtive backward glances into the looking glass before moving on. Who are you? What have you done with the time given you? Where will you go and what will you do with the time remaining?
The steady patter of raindrops form into small rivulets and run down the window of our Shanghai apartment. Vacantly staring into the featureless mist and clouds wandering through the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, my mind drifts to places far away. It’s an excellent moment to reflect on journey’s past. Just a few days on the backside of this year’s winter solstice, our adventures in Hokkaido, Kyoto, and Hong Kong seem so far away. A new year is only a couple of days away while 2017 draws to a close, and what an incredible year it was. Twelve months filled with continual cycling and travel adventures seemed to pass so quickly. Such is the nature of time when you’re having fun. Before we plunge headlong into another year, here are a few images to recount some of our travels and places we experienced during this great year.
It’s those special mornings on the road when you’re up before dawn in the early morning hours out chasing the light. Camera in hand, walking in the sand along a quiet beach are those extraordinary moments to be savored and remembered.
Late winter in Hainan, China’s most southern province, brings with it a dense morning fog that hangs in the air over land and sea well into midday. A thin, golden light dances on soft ripples gently lapping at the shore. There are no crashing waves here. Salty wisps of a fresh sea breeze touch the senses. Cool moisture in the dawning air makes the pilings weep and wet to the touch.