Friday, September 4, 2009

my love, this life. and thank you - the end of a two month bike tour through eastern europe.

"i quit! i quit this stupid cross continental bicycle tour!" i exclaim loudly while unclipping the straps, shoving away my beloved brodie, and wailing my helmet clear across the feild of our final accomodation spot (*next to the airport/ big planes every 15 minutes*) to the rejoicing cheers and jumping up and downs of The Agents, who, ever since they all made it to camp and realized they were missing 1 last soldier, and had started to map out rescue details, had been somewhat spooked by the thought of loosing one on the last day.

Lucky for us, though, good old sweep pulled through. Jake and Keely, who had volunteered themselves for the duty of "sweep" on the first ride day out of Amsterdam, had come full circle to do so on the last day as well, and, just as I was waking up from a little roadside nappy nap to take a break from the constant woosh.woosh.woosh. of those big trucks I was telling you about, I turned my head left and noticed two bright green t-shirts with tangerine orange writing blasted across the chest, complete with the full deal of bright red arkel panniers, and knew it was Agents - to the rescue. "JAKE! AHHH!! hahahaha..." my voice breaks into hysterical laughter, and jake and keely are only mildly surprised to find me, of all people, chillin on the highway taking a snooze alone.


And with that, well, and about another 3 hours of navigating around the city using my red pencil crayon directions in order to find our final sweet spot, the ride is finished.

one final go at setting up our tents. one last time to cook for one another... although, actually, i think we went out for dinner that night to a restaurant with our hosts, and yeah, i definately ate chicken kebabs, but whatevs. one last moment of time together. three days to scamp around istanbul and take some real time to reflect as a team and debrief our tour. make it better for next year's crew, retell stories from the trip, have a makeshift awards ceremony (best couple? cobra and mongoose!! best bum to ride behind? keely and charles!) build on personal goals and cement friendships, encourage one another's future aspirations before we all jetison out of here in 20 different directions: home to university, berlin, oxford, and toronto for masters programs, africa to volunteer with ewb, the middle east to travel, california to build space ships...

i can't wrap up for you in real time words about our last few days together. just some shwarma eating, and general merriment as we slowly moved on. the next few days in istanbul saw the remaining agents meet a few times to smoke sheeshah and hang out with each other in our "normal clothes"... interesting getting to know one another in this new context. hosted sabrina, george, david, and myself with a fabulous man named emre, and my bicycle remains stowed in his bedroom currently as i travel this most wonderful middle eastern world. not sure if this particular blog will hear stories about those travels as well... but thank you so much for reading my writing here over these last few months.

and thank you for making this happen.
the most encouraging thing to carry with me on this bicycle tour has been the encouragement and support of my friends, family, local papers, university professors and colleagues, bike shops and knowledgeable bike friends, sfu cats, elementary school principles from the past, and the many people who donated their hard earned cash towards helping me raise nearly $5000 for the global agents for change opportunity fund. thank-you. this is a charity that i believe has a lot of potential in terms of helping young people become young leaders, and i have found great bliss in being connected with a group of young people who are interested in humanitarian involvement, to varying degrees.

this experience has shaped my life, no doubt. and i wouldn't have made it without the support of my many communities.

and now, so long. fare well. and take care.

damascus sends it's love, dear reader. (and ps, if anyone wants to call my bank it would be nice if they got over their ill relations with syria so i could take out some money! its nice here!)

galatasaray milne


oh, and as a closing note, a poem written by my roomate barbara, and posted here without my asking her permission first. thanks barb! the world needs your poetry now.

While you were cycling your leggies...
Another Vancouver summer came and went
Your laughter wasn't in it,
But it was delighting others I'm sure
Many glorious suns melted into the water of the west
Under long, layered violet, orange and pink
And since the dawn of this particular season
Each day has been shorter than the next
And each day we are older than the last
And each day I'm glad to have another
So I'm just gonna live it...


Alex said...

I'm so impressed with you for completing this journey! Love the article...especially the one-person snooze and the red pencil crayons. Keep us posted on your Europe travels!

Anonymous said...

Your journey has been an inspiration in what attitude and commitment can accomplish. From a "hey mom, what do you think about this?" through a pretty gruelling school year, fund raising efforts extraordinaire, training, working and setting off to travel down unknown roads with a group of like minded strangers. You and those others of your generation have embraced challenges and opened compassionate hearts and lived large, like a roving band of global gypsies for change. You make all of us rest easier knowing we could hand you the "keys to the car" now and walk away leaving the world in capable and caring hands.
I've loved your evocative writing style that captures the spirit of your adventures, that has allowed me to participate vicariously in your epic journey, even and maybe especially as it is peppered with your creative spelling and grammar.
This is not the final entry, but the first chapter of an extraordinary life. I can't wait for chapter two!

Eileensita said...

For some reason this made me cry! Gala!!! look what you do to me. I love you girl.. & yep, tell Barb that your laughter made my ride.

Barbara said...

Who knew roadside naps could be satisfying? Gala Milne, that's who.

Girly, you are nothing short of amazing! Congrats on your ride!!! I'm so proud of you! Your passion is an inspiration to us all! Life is so great, no?

sooooo................i'm moving to MB to be a social worker. i'll send you another email.

Rebecca said...

Hey Gala! Just wanted to say reading your blog has been really great. I'm doing a long-distance ride this summer and was feeling quite unmotivated the last couple weeks. This was just what I needed - so inspiring!