There’s a seemingly inexhaustible supply of aspirational features in the media telling of remote adventures into the wilderness or continent crossing epics, of living life beyond the confines of an average adult’s lifestyle.
Whilst it might seem wonderful to indulge in a similar adventure for ourselves practically speaking this is going to be a very big ask for most working adults and, in reality, something only a very few are fully committed to do.
These stories may seem to imply that only such wild, grand adventures are of any importance or benefit. This maybe true if you’re wanting to sell articles, magazines or gain sponsorship but if you simply wish to enhance your life then nothing could be further from the truth.
The Oxford Dictionary defines adventure as:
- “An unusual and exciting or daring experience.”
That’s a broad definition but note the key ingredients are simply “unusual”, “exciting” or “daring” and its not hard to find those ingredients.
Balancing the typical adult demands of work and family can make disappearing off for weeks or days on end unacceptably or irresponsibly unusual.
There is no reason to feel too saddened or trapped by any of that as you can still derive great benefit from remarkably fine adventures very close to home, wherever that maybe.
Short bike packing trips can be the perfect mini adventure. Set off alone on a Friday night and ride into the darkness for as many hours as you wish and then camp out before riding home again taking as long as you wish. Riding well into the night is pretty unusual for most cyclists and just sleeping in a bivi or makeshift shelter, is pretty darn unusual for most people period. Riding any distance alone isn’t very common either.
Things happen when you do something like this. Being alone on a bike forces you to confront yourself and listen to your anxieties or inane mind chatter. That can be uncomfortable because you may discover you’re probably a little more neurotic than you ever wanted to believe! The “stuff” that you may normally, subconsciously, avoid facing by immersing yourself in a hectic life with endless distractions can now make it’s presence felt.
No matter, you now get to enjoy all the benefits of adventure therapy out alone on your bike. Riding a bike demands you focus your mind on the road, traffic, navigation, and staying safe but at the same time there is also a sense of space for you to think clearly. I feel it focuses me in two directions.
As the hours pass you can find clarity about other challenges in your life and learn to quiet the nonsensical ramblings of the mind. You feel more exposed riding alone at night but you also feel an increased sense of freedom. You experience a heightened sense of your vulnerability but your also get a greater sense of your strength. Sleeping in a bivi bag can feel claustrophobic or safe and snug. Every experience can feel good or bad, being alone on the road heightens your every sense of this, and continually challenges your resolve to choose to make the best of everything.
Or maybe not, you may hate it and swear never again but either way you’ll be far wiser and than if you’d never left…