「萬里長馳」的誕生(原刊載於二輪寫手)

原本計劃的路線圖,影像擷取自Google Map

如同「絲路、茶路、摩托路」所云,原本為這次摩旅架的網站,即將走入歷史,於是把一些我寫的文章轉到這裡來。在已經完成摩旅之後,看看當時準備階段時所寫的文章,還頗有意趣。

題目:「『萬里長馳』的誕生」,原載日期:2011年4月7日

要做夢,就要做大夢。

我堅信,要成就大事業,要先會做大夢,想像著實現不可能的可能。想得深、想得久、想得誠,大腦的潛能就會開展,把以往所有的成功的、失敗的經驗連結起來,建立起一座邁向看似遙不可及的目標的橋樑。這個過程要花多少時間呢?我不知道。憑藉著的是個信念,先有夢,就可以築夢。

美絲說:「去騎摩托車吧!」

第一個要回答的問題似乎是,騎去哪呢?

我們可以很豪邁地跨上摩托車,隨意行之,想去哪就去哪,等到了十字路口,再效法古人遺風,投石問路,錢用完了,就像秦瓊賣馬賣掉坐騎,打道回府。這樣似乎很逍遙,可是對於我們現代人來說,太不實際,也太不負責任了。另外,恐怕只要兩天沒有目標的遊蕩,就會讓我失去鬥志,對人生感到消極。我必需要設計一條,讓我可以無怨無悔放下整顆心下去的路線。我們打算的可是「長」途旅程,沒有激起熱情的因子,是撐不下去的。

所以,是做大夢的時後了。

開始,美絲丟給我她在網上看到的幾個連結:

  1. 三個住中國的美籍教師,從哈爾濱騎摩托車到烏魯木齊
  2. NPR駐中國的工作者 Rob Gifford 沿著中國的 312 道,從上海到新疆與哈薩克斯坦國界處的旅遊采風
  3. 美絲的朋友 Colin 騎乘雲南和四川的遊記

另外,我還知道,

  1. 四個西雅圖自行車騎友,在奧運之後,從北京騎到上海的紀錄片「慢走」
  2. 作家 Peter Hessler 根據他在中國幾次自駕車長途旅遊的經歷,寫成的 Country Driving 一書

我感性上比較偏向美籍教師和 Colin 的旅遊走向,因為他們到的地方,比較偏遠,非常有冒險精神,很合我的口味。理性上,則贊同其他計畫的記述,他們相當細膩地描述當地人的生活,反映了很多當代的中國問題。

我對美絲說,「讓我們環繞中國一圈吧,造訪大陸的四個極點。」我還記得當初上國中背誦的極點地名,那些怪怪的名稱,卻有著無可倫比的吸引力。

中國的極西點在新疆的帕米爾高原,從小就想去,愛上攀岩攀山之後,更常幻想到該處嘗試首攀。極東極北都在東北,和韓國、和俄國交壤的地方,山勢不是很高,但是天寒地凍,傳說中的人參精怪和快捷無匹的貂,更是為該地添加不少傳奇色彩。中國的極南在海上的南沙群島,大陸的極南恐怕不是在廣西就是在雲南,都是少數民族色彩濃厚的地方。

也許,我們可以為西部故事的慈善計畫籌款,幫那些貧困學生籌學費

我躺在床上,被這些五光十色的綺麗計畫擾得睡不著,乾脆翻身起來,把這些想法連著我亢奮的情緒都發給美絲:「我們可以從大陸的最南端出發…然後造訪 56 個少數民族…為西部故事的小朋友籌學費…這樣,有個能讓人津津樂道的大冒險,還可以幫助需要幫助的孩童!」

美絲回信來得好快:「哇,你的思路歷程和我不謀而合。」

很顯然地,環繞中國一圈不是我們最後決定的路線。在構思上來說,可能是個不錯的第一步,等到冷靜下來,發現如果真要做到我們想完成的規模,數月、數年可能都不夠。行遠必自邇,這是我們第一個長程摩托車計畫,要一步步來。再說,我對於騎摩托車還是有些保留的態度,我想著重在地理、人情、歷史、文化,交通工具的選擇倒不是那麼重要。如果時間不是個需要考慮的因素的話,也許我就憑靠著我這兩條腿,慢慢走,可以和路上的老人、小孩、工人、女實業家一個一個聊,深入了解他們的故事。環繞中國一圈也許在里程數上看起來嚇人,但是,我相信我們可以想出一個更感動我們,更切入人心,更激起共鳴的路線。(幾個禮拜後,美絲寄給我一個連結 MKride ,這是兩個美國青年騎著寶馬環遊中國一圈的故事,我們很高興我們沒有成為另一個複製品)

直到一月下旬,我還是在腦力激盪的階段。在同一時段,我和 Dave 正巡迴東岸,為宣傳我草創的 LittlePo Adventures 執行為期兩週的多媒體說明會。車窗外,是美東近幾年來最大的大風雪,車窗內,我卻為我的腦力激盪筋疲力竭。

「商貿古道怎麼樣?」Dave 建議著。Dave 是重現名路線的專家:他和他的夥伴在 2003 年重蹈因冰封才形成的道路,走進喜馬拉亞山區的 Zanskar2004 年則重走 The Long Walk 一書所描述的逃亡過程,從俄羅斯直到印度

「古道有故事,也有話題性」 Dave 再次強調。一開始我還有點質疑,等到開始做研究之後,才不能不承認古道的確是吸引人。我不也是在 1995 年重走絲路?認識了茶馬古道之後,就對茶馬古道一路上的景觀和故事深深著迷,不可自拔嗎?再說,「古」這個字,還真有神奇的魅力。

大方向一定,點點滴滴就漸漸地被拼湊起來。「連接」這兩個字成為奠基的柱石。地圖上看來,這條路線連接兩條商貿古道,我們的靈魂想和野地的靈氣互相連接,我們的心則想要和該地區居民的純樸連接。原本, Dave 指出個疑點:「茶馬古道和絲綢之路似乎沒有接得那麼緊密?在青海處似乎有個缺口。」再深入研究後,發現青海在絲綢之路中佔有相當重要的地位,問題豁然而解。

對於這個路線,我和美絲都相當滿意。中國西部美不勝收,由於地勢險,還保有相當多人間淨土。大多數的人對於東部的大城市都不陌生,關心國際環保議題的人士,也注意到中國的城鄉差距,工廠林立。可是很少人真正知道西部在風景人文的富有,以及生活環境和公共設施的貧脊。

這條路線也包含了我以前走過,帶過戶外團的地方,讓我有機會拜訪些老朋友。如果路況不是問題的話,我想走訪汶川和玉樹,看這兩個地方地震後重建的情形。

愈想就愈對這個路線感到深深的使命感和歸屬感。愈研究就愈發現更多深藏在稗官野史、口耳相傳的動人故事。決定路線不久,我在 LittlePo Adventures 發表了一篇「中國兩商貿古道的昨日與今日」,我想知道這兩條商貿古道的明日會如何發展,是否我也可以在其中扮演個好角色?

萬里長馳,於焉誕生。

茶馬古道示意圖,照片以及圖片合成:David E Anderson

英文版

I like to think big.

I believe that in order to accomplish something extraordinary, I have to imagine the unimaginable. As long as I immerse myself long enough in “impossible” ideas, my brain will eventually join the dots from the repository of my past attempts, both successes and failures, to turn the impossible into possible. As for how long is long enough? I don’t have a definite answer. It’s that kind of thing one can only resort to faith – a very spiritual process.

Christine suggested, “let’s ride in China.” The first question to answer seemed to be the route selection. We could easily just ride wherever, with no particular destination. We’d flip a coin at every junction, and abandon our bikes when we ran out of money. It sounds romantic and perhaps borderline irresponsible; however, it’s really not practical because I would get bored at some point wandering without a guiding principal. I need a route I can connect with and I am passionate about. It is going to be a long ride, I need all the elements to help maintain a positive attitude.

It’s time to think big.

Christine threw me some findings from her initial Internet research:

  1. Three American teachers rode from Harbin to Urumqi;
  2. The journey of Rob Gifford, a NPR correspondent, on Route 312 from Shanghai to the border of China and Kazakhstan in Xinjiang;
  3. Her friend Colin Flahive’s ride across Yunnan and Sichuan.

I also know of

  1. The “Man Zou” project documenting four Seattle bicyclists riding from Beijing to Shanghai post Olympics; and
  2. Peter Hessler’s northern China road trip detailed in his book, Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory.

My heart echoed more profoundly both on the ride of Harbin to Urumqi and the ride of Colin’s for their remoteness and the sense of adventure; my mind pondered on the remaining three for their demonstrated intent of observing local lives and reflecting on many focused issues in China.

I first threw the idea to Christine of a circumnavigation of China, visiting four utmost cardinal points of the mainland. I still remember those foreign sounding landmarks I acquired from the geography textbooks of my elementary school.

The west-most point of China is located in Pamir mountain range in Xinjiang which I longed for visiting in childhood and have been day-dreaming of first ascents after I became a climber. Both the east-most and north-most points are located in northeastern provinces neighboring Korea and Russia. The mountain ranges there are not high, but the wilderness area is known for its harsh cold temperatures and precious ginsengs and minks. The south-most point of China is located on a set of islets in South China Sea. I guessed the south-most point of the mainland should be either in Yunnan or Guangxi where sharp limestone rules and indigenous people occupy the land.

Perhaps we could raise funds for village kids such as the philanthropy project, West China Story, I have committed myself and my guiding business to.

I was lying on the bed when I was picturing this glorious project and couldn’t fall asleep. Finally I followed my desire to jot an email to Christine, “we can start at the southmost of the continental China…and somehow visit all 56 ethnic groups…and raise funds for West China Story for education…So we have some adventure people can talk about and a cause to support.”

“OH my gosh. Your thoughts are like mine.” Christine responded.

Obviously we have put aside this idea. It was a fantastic first attempt but this project could easily take months to research and years to implement. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We need something more manageable for our pilot project. Besides I still had a conservative attitude towards riding motorcycles. For me, I am more attached to the land, the people, the history, and the culture, rather than the way of travel. If time is not a factor to consider, I might prefer walking, so I can take my time interviewing every elder, every kid, migrant workers, and young women entrepreneurs. This project is big in terms of its scale in mileage but we could come out with something greater, something more connected and rooted. (Weeks later, Christine discovered the MKride in which two American brothers circumnavigated China. We were glad that we were not another “me too!”)

It was about the end of January, I was still in the brainstorming phase. In the meantime Dave and I were doing a slideshow tour in the East Coast to promote LittlePo Adventures. Outside of the car window, it was one of the worst snow storms, inside on the passenger seat, found a consumed me continuously hit by brainstorms. “How about trade routes?” suggested by Dave, who is an expert of re-tracing significant expeditions. He and his team members retraced the Frozen Passage to Zanskar in 2003 and the Long Walk from Russia to India in 2004.

“Trade routes always interest people.” Dave again stressed. I was skeptical at first but I was more than convinced when a simple google search popped out overwhelming results. Besides, how could I forget that I retraced the Silk Road myself and was immediately drawn by the Tea Horse Trail when I learned it? To put a cherry on top, the word “ancient” has a mysterious spell.

Everything started to fall in place. I wanted “connections” to be the tone of the ride – physically the route connects two ancient trade routes, we connect our souls to the wilderness atmosphere, and we connect our hearts with the underprivileged indigenous people. Originally Dave pointed out that the gap between the two trade routes might be too big to claim a realistic connection; however, later research demonstrated that a side branch of the Silk Road crossed the major part of Qinghai, which solved the problem.

Both Christine and I were very excited about this new plan, because Western China is just beautiful and untapped. While many people know of big cities in the Eastern China, and people who care about global issues are well aware of China’s farms and factories, few people realize how rich Western China is both in scenery and culture, or how poor Western China is in term of living conditions and infrastructure.

This route also passes some areas I traveled or guided before so I could visit some old friends. Two towns I want to visit along the way if the road conditions allow are Wenchuan and Yushu which suffered from devastating earthquakes in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

The more I think of this route, the more passionate I become. After we finalized our route choice, I published an article on LittlePo Adventures talking about the past and the presence of the two Chinese ancient trade routes, and I have realized this project will pull me back to uncover more hidden treasures in the days to come.

This project, we name it the Great Ride.

絲綢之路示意圖。照片以及圖片合成:David E Anderson

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

台灣女孩. Chick From Taiwan

我是本站的作者,易思婷,土生土長的台灣女孩。在台灣,朋友大多叫我小Po,在美國,小名婷婷倒是被叫得比較響。從競爭激烈的台灣教育體系,到美國博士班的歷練,二十多年的學校生涯,一點都沒有馴服、反倒是磨亮了我的冒險本質。我有夢想,築夢踏實:這一輩子,我要活得有聲有色。而這個網站,記錄我的求知和探險,是個累積快樂的地方。「台灣女孩」的臉書粉絲頁

《我的露營車探險》

2016年11月出版的《我的露營車探險》講述了我和先生Dave Anderson,四年多來住在親手打造的露營車Magic,遊遍美西絕美荒野的故事和領悟。只要學會分辨「想要」與「需要」,「天地為家」便是生活,不是夢想。在博客來購買本書。本書影片

《傳統攀登》

2014年7月出版。我的第二本攀岩工具書,也是中文世界第一本針對該主題的專書。從淺入深系統化地講解傳攀:置放岩楔、架設固定點、多繩距攀登、自我救援等。每個主題下,說明該主題的理論基礎,再示範目前主流的一種到多種作法。在博客來購書。

《一攀就上手》

2013年10月出版的《一攀就上手!基礎攀岩一次就學會》是我撰寫的第一本攀岩工具書,從基本知識到技巧、裝備添購與下撤。希望藉由此書帶領初學者系統化的進入攀岩的殿堂。在博客來購書。

《睡在懸崖上的人》

這本《睡在懸崖上的人》是我在 2012 年 7 月出版的書籍。副標很長「從博士生到在大垃圾箱撿拾過期食物,我不是墜落,我是攀上了夢想的高峰」,不過它倒是挺誠實地告訴讀者,這本書究竟要說些什麼。本書影片。在博客來購買本書。簡體中文版

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.