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Virtual World Tour: part 4

The advertising world is awash with advice on how you can do everything ‘from the comfort of your own home’, from running to nowhere to cycling to nowhere, eating in as if you were eating out, going to the cinema via a subscription channel. You get the drift. We are slowly being persuaded that we can live a full and rewarding life without ever stepping over the threshold. The marketing giants have subtlety infiltrated our imprisoned view of the world to persuade us to buy the expensive systems to make living life ‘from the comfort of our own homes’ the holy grail. If you have become an unwilling victim, how can you save your ‘soul’?

You may be disappointed to learn I have no distilled answer to the conundrum but, like you, I endeavour to fight the good fight to stave off the enemy. My own little psychological trick has been to begin a virtual tour of the world, but never more than 50 km from my home so, in a sense, I’ve never really left the ‘comfort of my own home’. After more than 8000 km, I now find myself virtually in Mumbai, on the west coast of India, heading towards Sri Lanka. Why India and Sri Lanka, you might ask?

Well, I once had a plan to spend a few weeks riding the Goa peninsula, before crossing to Sri Lanka, but it never happened. The great ‘virtue’ of doing a ‘virtual’ tour is that I haven’t had to address issues like visas, crossing territories in conflict, doubtful street food, rainy seasons, and the whole plethora of reasons that help to make adventure cycling what it is: adventurous. Which all appears counter-intuitive. After all, the very stuff of the adventurer’s way of life is ‘taking the rough with the rougher’, which then creates the stories that become the ‘click bait’ of the world of social media. The world is not interested in seeing me holding a glass of wine with a crimson sunset in the background. No, they would much rather hear of me sitting miserably in my tent during a rainstorm, and cutting my finger on the sharp edge of a sardine can. For some dark reason, readers take great consolation in the misery suffered by others, better known as the syndrome of “There but for the grace of God…”.

The solace that I feel on a wet November day in England is that I arrive in Mumbai during the dry season, the temperature is 30ºC, the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, and I am assured of at least 11 hours of daylight. So I can now bask in the virtual comfort of my own home.