Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 11: Durban and flight home

So, for me, Enduro Africa is over. I'm now in the Durban airport about to leave for Joburg. I had a fantastic time and learned to become a much more proficient offroad rider. I'm sore, but otherwise unscathed. With help from my generous sponsors, I expect to turn over $10k in donations when everything's said and done. Thanks to the many recent new donations, which will go to the four amazing charities providing HIV prevention, education, and support in Southern Africa.

Along the way, I got to meet incredible people - fellow riders and South Africans alike. Foremost among the former were members of Team Orange, whose sense of humor, advice, and assistance helped me to enjoy the ride even more. And many thanks to my team leaders, who patiently educated us about the country, its people, and wildlife. They never failed to step into the breach and fix a tire, adjust a bike component, or pull us out of a ravine.

I'll miss the short stories by South African writers they read to us on our longer breaks. My only hope for them is that they practice their proficiency with their GPS devices, although the downtime needed to locate ourselves did offer us more chances to take pictures!

Later today, I'll head home to my family, rewarding job, and affluent life, at least by national and global standards. It is not lost on me that I pulled a winning ticket in the lottery that gave me American citizenship and the incredible opportunities that middle-class life there affords. Time will tell how I convert this experience into something tangible. 

But I'm determined that this will be the end of a chapter and the start of something new. Not more adventure tourism, mind you, but something that has an even greater impact on the lives of the global poor than the HIV prevention science that I've devoted my life to thus far.

And soon, dear readers, I'll shut down this blog. But not before I backfill these rider accounts with pictures and links, and add a bit more content aimed at future riders (e.g., 5 top things to pack - and leave behind) and follow-up with the winners of my recent poll (How many falls will Andrew take?). I'll leave the blog up for a year, in case future riders are curious about what they may face.

I'm tremendously grateful to all who made this possible, including those friends, family, and new friends who donated, or sent encouraging notes, comments, and questions as the trip progressed.

For those on the next leg back to PE, I have only this to say: We thrashed your bikes. Nothing personal. We really thrashed them. Enjoy your ride, be safe, and be sure to take in as much of the country as you can. You'll miss the best parts if you focus only on the ride.

Photo credits: Andrew Forsyth, Mike Taylor, Andrew Forsyth


Lance W said...

Way to go Andrew! Congratulations on completing the ride and the donations you raised. I'll look forward to more pictures when you return!

Anonymous said...

Thank,Andrew, for bringing us along with you through these stories. We're proud of you and Elizabeth. Now get back home to the doggies, who must be going bananas missing you.
- Maggie and Donut