Maintaining an inquisitive mindset can be difficult on a longer journey. At the start I had many romanticised ideas of navigating with only a compass, waking at sunrise and watching the sunset from our wild camping spots but in reality our phones have proven to be excellent navigational tools and the luxury of campsites have tempted us on more than one occasion. Similarly, many of the locations I had ‘starred’ on Google Maps before we began this journey have also gone undiscovered purely as a result of their geographical placement. I still have the urge to visit these fascinating locations but have deemed it equally important to maintain an eastward trajectory and not add too many extra kilometres to our ever-growing total. Idealistic plans will always be changed and shaped on the road. This is not a problem for me.
Although I would say that my mind has remained inquisitive and I do appreciate how incredibly fortunate I am to be exploring these places on a bicycle, I cannot deny that as the kilometres tick by I have been dreaming of Estonia more and more. Days have slowly morphed from a meandering jaunt to a more purposeful ride in the direction of the finish line. Success is measured more by distance covered than ‘places seen’ at the moment.
The truth is that Estonia is getting closer and the thought of actually finishing this ride is becoming tangible, tugging hard at the impatient part of my psyche; the part that doesn’t particularly enjoy sharing the road with trucks, panting up hills or grumbling my way over long uneven gravel paths.
I believe that these feelings are only natural after over two months on the road and the rewards of warm comfortable mattresses and familiarity of city life are certainly a huge lure having cycled such a long way. I am also aware that this journey is not a race and that such trappings will always be there and I owe it to myself to not be drawn too quickly towards them.
I do not want to look back on this segment of the journey and regret rushing towards the end too fervently but I can’t deny that Tallinn is exerting a greater pull on me each time I see an Estonian licence plate or glance at the map to see our predetermined finish line creeping closer and closer.
As such, we have decided that when we cross that final border into Estonia, we will not make a quick dash for the northern Baltic coast. Instead we will head eastwards, into the areas that few tourists get to see, slowing our journey down one last time to appreciate the quaint countryside charm of southern Estonia, the fascinating communities living on the shores of Lake Peipsi and the often overlooked towns in the northeast, near the Russian border. There are stories hidden all around Estonia and one of my passions in the last few years has been to go out and find them, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Every day I dream of Estonia and the finish line, but we are not finished with this journey just yet.