Following A Journey By Bike
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The other night I sat with a friend and asked her about her stories of traveling abroad. She has been everywhere from Italy to Egypt to Panama to Argentina, staying in each place for a couple of years, if not more. I thought, “Wow, what an incredible adventure.”
“Yeah, I never thought it was, but I guess you’re right. It was pretty awesome,” she replied.
Lately, I have been having this thought — but that could have been the existential quarter-life crisis — about humbly knowing one’s own accomplishments. I remember a friend saying she wished she was traveling around to different places and different spaces. I reminded her that it wasn’t a glamorous lifestyle, of which some people prefer, and that it was tough, both physically and emotionally. She said, “You’re right. Right now, I would not want to do that.”
I think, to each their own.
Some people often don’t see how beautifully abnormal each life is. While traveling, I have met some incredible people who have never left an hour or two from their home town or city for whatever reason. Yet, for some reason, they experience the same mental “growth” (if not more) as some avid travelers I have met.
When it comes to personal growth, I think that the only thing one needs to do is push his or her limits. You can do this at home or abroad, it just depends on what you find challenging.
So it goes that I found a blog called Journeys by Bike) about two self-claimed “normal” people — Matt and Sylwia — who decided to pack up and bicycle South America. I don’t know about others out there, but I find this rather remarkable. It reminds me of how inventive and creative humans can be with adventure. The most recent post was about their earthquake-experience in Chile from the comforts of their tent:
. . . despite being 45 km south of the city the quake awoke us, scared and unsure what had happened we quickly realised we’d experienced our first earthquake, we can now conclude our tent is quake proof.
What an experience!
This past summer, I experienced an earthquake from the comforts of my Torontonian home and it scared the @#$% out of me. I remember promptly (and slightly dramatically) emailing Matt to see if he (or anyone!) felt the effects in New York City.
They did not, being a solid 343.62 miles away.
Something that fascinates me with blogs and the internet and the Facebook and Smartphones is the ability to instantaneously share a moment. Life is filled with these tiny experiences that we brush off as normal circumstance. That is, until we can share that experience with someone and others.
As solo traveling (or as a pas-de-deux) is becoming more popular (purely observational), I find that showing moments as they happen does an interesting thing when you get home. Everyone already saw the photographs; now you can tell them about your experience with the people and culture.
Perhaps that is the definition of an incredible experience: to share the adventure and receive others’ perspective on it.
Matthew and Sylwia (never tired of cycling) — amazing.
By Brit Weaver
About the Author
Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.