Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heading Home

I have an hour to kill in the airport, so I'll close out this blog with some parting thoughts on my trip.

After getting back from Tijuana on Friday, I laid low in San Diego, took in the Comic-Con, and got used to not riding 100+km a day. The distractions of the Con were an excellent buffer for the transition, but it still felt odd not going through the process off planning and preparing for my daily rides. I constantly felt like I was forgetting something, or late for an important appointment.

On the whole, this bike tour went smoothly. I don't recall any significant headwind. I was never forced to skip a day or stop riding because of weather. I didn't even get one flat tire! Each of these were significant issues in my cross-Canada tour, so I was very fortunate this time around, and appreciative of that fact.

Having said that, each day on the road brought unique challenges, some more subtle than others. The process of physically adjusting to the increased daily workload was expected, but not pleasant. Struggling with low visibility in the fog during most mornings while negotiating tight mountain passes was certainly stressful. The sharp contrast in temperature between the coast and just a few kilometers inland could be a shock to my system that I sometimes had to manage several times a day. Campsites weren't always located at convenient distances, or always friendly to cyclists. And finally, steep descents down coastal cliffsides with little or no shoulder - and sometimes no guard rail - was an exercise in pure faith.  However, all of these challenges were a welcome and rewarding part of the journey.

Of all that this trip had to offer, I think the best part was the reassurance of having such a clear purpose at the start of each day, and being able to reset at the end of each day. The immediacy of managing the challenges of a brand new ride each day while keeping track of my longer term schedule constraints struck a perfect balance of focus between keeping me in the moment while not losing sight of my overall goal.

Now that I'm done, it feels like I'm missing that longer term goal, and that I'm just managing a day to day routine. The world has a knack for keeping us busy with mundane activity, and frankly, most of that activity is necessary and has to get done, but it's not all tied to a bigger picture.

What I'm going to try and keep with me from this trip is the importance of having that longer term goal that's tied to action I need to take every day. I might not be able to see the final destination ahead of me, or know exactly what it's going to take to get there, but I want to know that I'm heading towards it, and I want to be able to see a piece of that journey in every day I manage to drag myself out of bed.

So, my plane's boarding in a few minutes, and in a few hours I'll finally be back home. It's been an incredible trip, and I hope you had some fun following along.

Until the next one,

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