When I first conceived the idea of cycling to Australia I told everyone my plans (except my Grandparents – no need to scare them quite yet!) and put it on Facebook and this blog. This was an important step, instilling a sense of commitment to this undertaking, and suddenly providing friends and family who could (and have) hold me accountable and who would never let me live it down if I backed out as many of them expected. Amusingly I think some of my mates were looking forward to the opportunity to rib me for years to come about the ‘eventual inevitable failure’. Thankfully, and in large part down to the support I’ve received, they haven’t been gifted that opportunity so far. Hopefully they never will!
But, while it has been helpful, the act of telling everyone also occasionally feels like a self-imposed loss of flexibility. Decisions and possible alterations are viewed based on how others would interpret that. This dawned on me when, two weeks ago I told one of my friends that my money was tight for the trip, and I would consider cycling from April as planned but, around November 2015 may find somewhere to store the bike, before working another ski season, and then picking up where I left off. His response shocked me, questioning whether it would damage a true distance cycling tour. Not having ‘cycled across the world properly’ if such a thing exists (which I don’t believe it does) didn’t really bother me, and I could see the exciting benefits of a second ski season but initially, I didn’t like the idea of others thinking I had copped out, or taken the easy route, in some way damaging the ‘reputation’ of the cycle..
Yesterday I received this great message from another friend.
“Screw purity. Just do it your own way.”
It reminds me of something I remember reading from Al Humphreys’ blog (can’t find it now). He mentioned that before embarking on any expedition he questions whether he would still do it if nobody would ever know about it. An answer in the negative highlighting maybe there should be a reconsideration of one’s reasoning and priorities for a trip.
I have a lot of time for this idea; as much as I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you all, and glancing through any doors which open as a result of it, I like to think it would pass the above test. I am doing this trip primarily for personal reasons; I want to get out there and see what the world has to offer, chasing adventure down distant unknown roads, gloriously lost in the pursuit of life. I want to challenge myself and see what I’m capable of, in ways like never before.
In a wider context, I think it’s important everyone lives and follows their own dream in their own unique way, largely ignoring the plan others have for them, around them. I’m not advocating selfishness, but instead merely not letting others hold you back, no matter how good-natured their intentions! People choose to do many different things, in many different ways, but hey, isn’t that what it means to be unique? And isn’t that a great thing?
With all of that in mind, I don’t know if I will need to, (or even choose to) interrupt the tour with another ski season, or even if any other changes to the bike trip will be made, but such decisions will be made as if no-one would ever know about it, considering only those who it affects, which is often just me. I’ll happily take any stick, knowing I was living precisely as I wanted.
What are your wildest dreams? How would they change if no-one would ever know about them?
Feel free to share in the comments below – I’d love to hear!