Christmas and my birthday were spent mostly alone. Last year I flew home and when I arrived back in the US afterwards I felt like I’d cheated on my journey.
So this year I hunkered down alone and hoped I was making good decisions. I received kind invitations and watched with interest as other riders gathered together in good places in various countries. Or flew home.
Being solo out here is, for me, living in a reality I had not imagined. The routine is packing and unpacking the duffel, riding the bike, buying gas, eating and sleeping. Everything else in the world can and does take any shape and happen at any time. The intensity of everything changing, all the time, is at first exhilarating, then after a while the adrenalin matures into something else with a more comfortable buzz and strength and whatever the new chemical is it becomes an addiction, a new expectation and requirement.
Calender routine, the time of the day, days of the week, holidays, even Christmas become meaningless unless they affect the ride, outside of the importance of some days to family.
However the rest of the world seems to be plugged and locked into the silently ticking grid still, so family presents from La Paz made it to Vancouver by December 19th, which was a relief.
My birthday followed two days later. It wasn’t a milestone of any sort, and if it had been I wouldn’t have cared. Years past or remaining don’t matter either, only the season immediately ahead is important.
There are important things to think about, and for me the only way to think about them is alone. In the same way as the best way to feel the impact of a radically changing environment and the players in it, to feel the risks and make the constant decisions, is also alone.
I don’t think we’re supposed to be alone though. I’m seeing some evidence of that, but more on that another time, and only as an observation.