Choosing the Open Road
When most people start an adventure, they usually depart feeling a sense of preparedness and excitement. This was not even remotely our experience.
Our shared dream of traveling the world to learn about other cultures and have new experiences abroad extends back to the very first time we met. The plan has continually evolved, the start date has been pushed back more than once, but our commitment to this plan was absolute.
We were in a bit of a panic when we realized that after our wedding at the end of August, we only had 3 weeks to get rid of everything we own, make sure all our equipment for the trip was tested and ready to go, quit our jobs, say our goodbyes, and prepare for life on the road for the next couple of years. It was absolutely overwhelming, but we both figured we thrive on procrastination so it would all work out in the end. And it did… but success came at a stiff penalty. There were sleepless nights, screaming, crying, chinnings, some laughter (mostly deranged, wrought of exhaustion and despair) and the fervent gnashing of teeth. We accidently threw away $150 in cash. I lost a brand new pair of headphones I purchased for the trip the day after I bought them. We broke one of our taillights with absolutely no time left to send it back to the shop and purchase a new one. We faced down glaring postal workers as we lugged 9 boxes into the post office the day before our 8AM flight with 5 minutes to spare before they closed—packages full of God-knows-what addressed to our mums and dads for retrieval at some unspecified date in the future. The day before we left, I was at the office working until midnight while Haley scanned any and all important paperwork we wanted to access digitally from the road. Then we came back home, packed and cleaned our apartment until 4AM, slept for 2 hours and headed for the airport.
Somewhat unceremoniously, our lives on Kauai had come to an end. Twenty-two hours later, we stepped off our third flight and emerged on Indonesian soil, sleep-deprived, slightly grouchy, but relieved that we had somehow pulled off the impossible and actually made it to Bali with our equipment in tow.
We took things slow in the beginning… Our time in Indonesia was more of a honeymoon than the true start of our bicycle touring adventure. We have plenty of cultural experiences to share, but not many pertaining to our goal of learning about self-sufficiency. The steepest learning curve we’ve encountered thus far has been adapting to life on the road. Simple, daily tasks take time to master (the art of packing a touring bicycle quickly and efficiently may well take a lifetime), while the pain of breaking in your saddle (or is it the other way around? Because I think my ass will yield before the leather and steel does…), gnaws at your consciousness and makes you start to question why you set off on this journey in the first place.
But then you start to realize that you’ve finally broken out of the cycle of normalcy that felt like a prison for so long. You have no deadlines, no place to be at any specific time. You are free to do what you please and therefore should be pleased to be on your bike, since the very idea brought such immense pleasure for so long. The active pursuit of a dream can only yield happiness; give it time. And wear padded bike shorts.