I am fortunate enough to be able to take a short hiatus from work and go on a trip to the land of the rising sun. Of the places i went to so far, one of the more memorable ones is where i spent almost 3 weeks cycling around the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, Shikoku. This is also known as the Shikoku Pilgrimage
I am still bumming around in Japan, so The Wheelies is “one man down”. Nonetheless, my three other partners-in-crime are very much committed to what The Wheelies stand for: organise weekly group wheeling events so that “you'll never wheel alone” and most important is to have fun!
What did I do? Well, for the most part, my routine for that three weeks is to wake up early, plan the route for the day, pedal very hard for the next 8-10 hours and pray that the bicycle does not break down. Along the way, I am always rewarded with breathtaking scenery, amazing food and most of all the local people's generous hospitality. Just like the weekly wheelie event, I met so many kind and generous people while cycling around Shikoku that I will never forget them. The help and kindness i received from those people is not what they expect to be repaid. Instead, rendering help to strangers seems to be the norm in that part of the country. Heck, i would say in the ENTIRE country. I had since learnt to pay it forward, no matter how small or insignificant the action is.
So why did i decide to go on this cycling trip? Honestly I am not really sure myself. Most people I spoke to thinks that i am crazy and to a certain extent I kind of agree. After all, who in the right mind will spend money to fly to another country just to cycle for 8-10 hours a day, for 3 weeks? Some say the Shikoku Pilgrimage is a challenge and a journey of self-discovery. Maybe that’s exactly what I need right now and that’s why I’m going. Besides, I love to travel and Japan has always been the country that I want to visit. It could also be the challenge and the commitment that made me want to try this. Regardless, I am glad that i did it.
Did I come out of this a stronger person? I am not sure. Did i enjoy the trip? Hell yes! And if you have read this far, then you probably belonged to the group of people this post is dedicated to. Have fun no matter where you are because Life is too short – LIVE well. LAUGH often. LOVE much.
In case you are inspired and want to go on the pilgrimage, have a look at the short video clip I compiled.