THE ROAD TO ENLIGHTENMENT
- bike trip
About a month ago, due to some unexpected changes in my calendar, I had to cancel a bike trip that I had really been looking forward to taking. I still went to the mountains and rode my bike a lot, but it wasn’t the same. The desire to be out there, camping in the wild, riding unknown roads, that hunger was still lodged in my mind.
Weeks passed, and I still wasn’t going anywhere. I nervously started to plan all kinds of unachievable trips; like a one-month escape to Annapurna, or maybe to Japan, neither of which I could afford in my wildest dreams. In order to compensate for the cancelled trip that would have only lasted a few days, I instead planned incredible epic trips that would really stand out from what I’ve done so far. But of course, nothing ever happened. It’s easy to dream big when your head is full of ideas; the hard thing is to realize how inaccessible these dreams sometimes are. I became one of those people who always talk about doing things but never actually get out there, and I hated it. I complicated my desire for adventure by over-planning and over-dreaming.
Fortunately, all it took to bring me back to solid ground was a suggestion to go on a simple overnight bike trip with a couple of friends. What followed was not even slightly epic. It wasn’t hard, we didn’t need a backup plan, hell, even the weather was nice… but it was just what I needed! It was a reminder to keep things simple and realistic, to relax and enjoy in the company of likeminded friends.
Our plan, if it could even be called that, was to ride our bikes to a sweet looking riverbank located roughly 50km from Ljubljana. Domen, who initiated this whole trip, had been there before and knew that the locals would be fine with us spending a night. In order to make the ride at least a little harder, we tried to follow as many unknown roads as possible. Some of them were perfectly manageable, some of them had been destroyed in the sleet catastrophe that happened in 2014, and some of them took us to dead ends. All the same, as rows of over-heated cars slowly progressed their way to the seaside, we had these beautiful remote roads all for ourselves.
In all my excitement to finally be out on the road again, I packed and eventually over-packed my bike with all kinds of useless gadgets. While I would have been perfectly fine with just a sleeping bag and a tarp, the micro sized axe that had been sitting in the back of my drawer desperately called for adventure. Did I eventually end up using it? Hell no! But the ridiculousness of me even carrying shit like this on an overnight trip provided us all with a lot of laughs. The AWOL executed its task perfectly and the 2.1” wide tires were a welcome change on some of the terrain.
We rode a lot of beautiful gravel roads and explored the surrounding landscape throughout the day. The pace was easy going and allowed us to catch up with each other on what’s been happening in our lives. Most of our focus was on Domen; he had just returned from the USA where he was helping out at the Filmed By Bike festival in Portland. He told us his stories, we told him what he missed while he was abroad, and the hours just rushed by without notice. Our destination turned out to be an amazing swimming place, with the surrounding trees equipped with all sorts of jump-in-the-water contraptions. We relaxed, swam, picnicked and talked about further plans for the year. From the initial company of four, only three of us stayed the night and camped. We enjoyed the hospitality of the locals and laughed at their crazy stories. It was, all in all, a very nice way to spend the weekend.
I had a lot of time to think during our little trip, and there was this one thought that kept coming back to surface. I am always reading about these amazing adventures and grand achievements, and they get me inspired and motivated to do rad stuff, but they also set a high level of expectation. This is good in most cases, because it inspires me to stretch myself. But what about when that level is set too high? I thought about what defines a good adventure and what makes one stand out from the rest. There is no doubt that my dream for going to the Himalayas came from watching films and reading about what other adventurers had done there. But those people were financially way better off than I am, and like it or not it’s all about the money when it comes to some of these grand projects. However, the defining quality of an adventure needn’t only be measured by how risky or epic it is, it can also be defined by the good times and memories produced along the way. So, if an overnight camping trip with your friends is all you can do at the moment, you better make use of it!
What I’m trying to say with this story is that you shouldn’t do what I did in the beginning; stress about things in life that you don’t even know may happen. Instead, use whatever opportunity you find for spending time in nature, exploring your surroundings and staying active. Something new is waiting for you around every corner, just seek and enjoy!