A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do
– Bob Dylan
Mornings come peacefully on the road. I wake slowly with the daylight, turning in my sleeping bag, adjusting the bundle of clothes that act as my pillow and dozing once or twice until my head is clear and ready to begin the day.
I lie still and listen to the sounds outside my tent. Sometimes birdsong, sometimes whooshing vehicles, sometimes water, sometimes silence. I unzip the tent door and feel the fresh air on my face. I check the weather and particularly the wind: strong winds can seriously spoil my day.
I climb out of the tent, barefoot, and stretch and scratch and yawn. I wander a few paces from the tent to pee, and decide if I want coffee or not. I have no idea what time it is, but I slept so early that I feel fresh even though the sun has not yet risen. I pour water from one of my bottles into my pan and light my stove.
While the water heats I pack away the tent and sleeping bag, then clip my panniers back onto the bike. My packing is brisk and efficient, everything lives in its place. My movements are slick and precise. I am ready to move again.
The water boils and I sit cross-legged on the ground to make coffee. I stir in a mound of sugar, and spread jam on a few pieces of bread with my spoon. While I eat I study the maps and write my diary.
I pack up my stove, lick the spoon clean and shake the dregs out of the mug. I brush my teeth, pull on socks, shoes and shirt, then push the bike out onto the road from my concealed campsite. A square of crumpled grass is all I have left behind. I pull on riding mitts, reset the daily mileage total on my bike computer and pedal on my way.
I have been awake for about twenty minutes. The campsite is far behind me by the time the sun breaks above the horizon.
A new day has begun.
This is an extract from my book Moods of Future Joys.