What stays with me after my two- wheeled adventure is a sense of peace. The memory of waking up to sunshine and no wind on an unknown beach with the sound of sea-lions barking and watching migrating whales as I pack my life into four panniers has permanently become one of my happy places. I like the fact that the adventure was solely mine in many ways: not only did I have limited internet and reception in general I also had no desire to share much of my journey with the outside world. Being alone in my head and with myself with one sole focus was therapeutic, and riding through the stunning landscape of the pacific west coast only added to the feeling of surrealism and transcendence.
The last few days of my trip had been hard. I had busted my knee near Bodega Bay and had limped, hitch-hiked and dragged my wretched and aching body and bike to the house of a friend. I felt like I had failed. But that feeling when I finally struggled up to the Marin County look-out point and zoomed down over the Golden Gate Bridge was perhaps one of the most euphoric of my life. It didn’t matter that I was broken and battered- I was there! I had done it! I was alive!
Three months down the line I don’t remember many of the horrible times I had ( an believe me, there were a few). What I remember more is what all of those times taught me. I was able to reaffirm that being self-sufficient is often just a matter of needing to be self-sufficient; the world is not a horrible place full of murderers and rapists and weirdos, it is actually quite a pleasant place full of people trying to make sense of the world in their own way; asking for help does not make you weak or dependent- it allows you to unlock the potential of another person, and allows them to show you their kindness and generosity; and finally I learned that for all those cheesy quotes about traveling opening your eyes and soul, there is much truth behind it.
So with that in mind I have made the following resolution: I wish to challenge myself, at least once a year, to create my own adventure. To challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone, do something I always envied other people for doing, do that precise thing that always makes me go “wow, I wish I could do that”. Be it climbing a mountain, doing a vipassana retreat, running a marathon….. ….Life, I figure, is too short not to.