A waking dream…
We’re 3 days away from leaving. Almost all of our furniture is gone, except for our couch! Who knew it would be so hard to get rid of?
As the features of our present existence disappears, the new life on wheels we’ve chosen is slowly becoming more real. We’ve set a plan into motion. It has its own momentum now and it’s up to us to hop on and ride.
We’re still trying to make sense of all this. What does it mean to be a vagabond? nomads on bikes? What does it mean to be perpetually moving with no linear path?
Well, we’re not sure either. We’ll tell you in a few weeks once we settle into it : )
For now, everything is very trance like and disembodied. We have tasks to accomplish to make it happen (clean out the apartment, close out our Netflix, etc.,) but everything is a blur moving at lightning speed, too fast for us to register mentally. Laura and I were talking this evening about how to explain this feeling.
I think the closest analogy I could think of would be a graduation ceremony from highschool or college. There’s a great deal of movement, pomp and circumstance happening around you but you’re distracted, looking inward and wondering what it all means. You’re physically present and participating, but nothing is registering. You are in awe of the moment. Your brain has anesthetized itself so you don’t freak out right there on the spot!
Suddenly, it’s all over and you’re cut free. The master of your own fate. But what do you choose when you have infinite choice? How do you function when the four walls around you disappear, when all the routine in your life that insulates you from the vastness and complexity of the world vanishes and lays bare the fact that YOU are responsible for yourself now and always have been.
Maybe I’m over thinking (hey I was a Lit major).
Some people have asked me if I have had any doubts. I speak for myself here, but yes. The call to conform, to do something safe that doesn’t leave you so “out there” is very seductive and comforting. Life with all its maddening complexity is much easier to swallow when it is doled out in chewable bites. 9 to 5. Lunch at noon. 2 week vacations. Our time parceled out in activities we can comprehend.
What I tell myself to keep me on course, to help curb the fear is really simple really.
I am going to die. Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. My time is finite and it is being slowly whittled away every second. I know it might be a bit morbid for some, but I’ve always been struck with a peculiar sensitivity to the fact that we’re not long for this earth and that’s a fact.
I have a neighbor who is in his 80s but is still fit and moving around. He use to do bike tours with his wife when she was still alive. I ran into him the other day when I was getting the mail. I told him about our trip and he was so visibly moved by the news. There was a touch of sadness in his eyes. He told me he had dreamed of doing the same thing with a friend of his. Riding around the world, giving lectures and presentations. He and his friend had it all planned out but it never happened.
“I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done in my life,” he said looking me straight in the eye, “but I’ve regretted lots of things that I DIDN’T do.” I felt the goosebumps on my skin. For me, it felt like a message straight from the future. Yes, things seem uncertain and scary, but this is your chance. You don’t get very many. Some people don’t get any at all.
So, cheers! Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
Lickle July 27, 2009 at 4:14 am
Go on tour! You’re not doing anything undefined and weird and crazy, just going on tour. Like bands, theatre companies, the circus, carnivals, etc. Enjoy! ‘Cause what you are realy trying to do is be free.
se July 27, 2009 at 9:35 am
ok, that was a *little* depressing. but it’s true! and what time is there but NOW??? your (over) analysis inspires me … not to go on a bike tour, but to make things happen NOW.
Dennis July 27, 2009 at 10:27 am
Good luck to you both and if your in Seattle give me a call my number is on facebook.
RL Policar July 27, 2009 at 10:46 am
We’ll miss you guys. We’ve appreciated everything you’ve done for BikeCommuters.com. You and Laura are the Ultimate BikeCommuters.
I wish you a safe and happy trip. Please chime in once in a while on BC to let us know how you’re doing.
Sheila July 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm
My husband, Shawn and I, welcome you to our home if you find yourselves in southern Connecticut and would like a place to shower, grab a mattress and get a hot meal!
We are intrigued and inspired by your courage and the journey you have begun.
Shawn & Sheila Orbanic
Thai July 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm
Dude, what you’re doing is all kinds of awesome. I’m proud of you, and a bit envious too.
Can’t wait to say what’s up to you guys in person when you make it to Seattle!
Paul July 30, 2009 at 6:17 am
I’ve been planning to go to Japan for just this reason. Life is too short to waste! Good luck on your travels.
ha1ku July 30, 2009 at 10:51 am
If you guys find yourselves in Georgia, feel free to holla. Safe travels!
Ian July 30, 2009 at 11:28 am
Reading this post was very moving. Not to be too much of a downer, but I was struck by how your changing reality is not too dissimilar to what happens when people lose their homes (as opposed to leaving them willingly). The sense and power of ‘place’ is profound. To uproot (willingly or otherwise) is a monumental event that I think you’ve captured well.
Thanks for the inspiration and I hope to see you during your visit to Portland next week. Safe travels.
Simple Living News Update: Week of July 27th August 3, 2009 at 6:02 am
[…] A waking dream… […]
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Russ, thanks for taking all of us along with you on this adventure through your websites. It’s going to be an amazing journey. If you and Laura are ever passing through the Piedmont region of North Carolina, know that our house is always open to you, where you can expect a hot shower and a cold beer. Cheers!