Do you remember how I met two woodmen in Slovenia? One of them asked me why I’m cycling during the winter. He was not the only one asking this question. The second guy – instead of me – came up with the best answer possible: “everybody can cycle in the summer” – he said shrugging as if that was the most obvious thing in the world. I should probably take a riposte course from him.
Do I like cycling in the winter? Not really. I miss the warmth and the sun. I would much more prefer to cycle in shorts and t-shirt. Make pauses to get chilled instead of warming up frozen toes and fingers. Be happy about the downhill ride ahead of me instead of worrying that when cycling up the hill I sweated, so I need to be careful now not to catch cold.
Why then? If there are so many cons and so few pros. I haven’t named a single pro, actually.
I started cycling in the autumn simply because I felt that I didn’t have much choice. I wasn’t sure whether if I didn’t start immediately, will I have enough strength to do it in the spring, which – weather-wise – seemed to be much more reasonable. What was so difficult in the decision? To quit job, quit friends, quite family, actually quit everything and start traveling again. That was what I wasn’t sure about if I will have enough energy again.
I made my decision about traveling a year ago in early January 2015. I started traveling three months later, in late April. I still remember, however, how difficult this period of time between January and April was. How much I was scared. How often I asked myself question how will it be to live with almost no money? How will I survive not earning anything? How will I feel about not having any specific project / job / whatever to go back to? Thousands of similar questions were bombarding my head every single day and I had to silence them all the time in order not to get myself be outshouted by my own fears and by the reasonable voices from the outside: “You’ve got a good job, Kasia, a mortgage credit, family and friends in Poland. You can afford traveling from time to time. Why then make such a ridiculous decision?”.
The absurdity of my decision was to follow my dream. Or at least to try to follow it. One of my fears was, however.. What if it turned out that I didn’t like my dream? So additionally I had to convince myself that there is no other way of knowing it than trying, which is probably why I managed to keep setting my teeth. I was forging ahead. I really wanted to try and get to know. So eventually off I went.
I wouldn’t like to go through the same path once again. At least this is how I felt back in July when I was landing in Poland after three months in the Middle East. I told myself back then: “August in Poland and in September you have to be back on the road. Otherwise you will get used to here too much”. The exact same voices, questions and fears were back, however, in the first two weeks of September, just before I started cycling.
There is a pattern that the more in time our travel plan delayed is, the happier about it we are, but the closer the departure gets, the more the happiness decreases increasing all the fears at the same time. So actually just before leaving we rather feel like staying home. I know quite a few people who have been talking about “the life travel” for quite a while already. They keep rescheduling their plans: first to the spring, then to the summer, then they want to keep working until the end of the calendar year and start preparations afterwards, then reschedule it for the spring… And so it goes. That’s what keeps them comfortable – knowing that one day they are going to do that.
It wasn’t really a reasonable decision in my case. It was more like “if not now then I’m not sure if ever”. I kept comforting myself presenting to my inner “I” several arguments: that the winter in the Balkans is not that bad. That actually one can survive everything. That there is spring after the winter, so when I will already know everything about cycling, the dessert will come (I still believe that!).
My decision had nothing to do with myself being a tough girl who finds pleasure in torturing herself. Quite the opposite – I would rather call myself “a sissy”, who doesn’t really trust herself too much about not being yield to temptation about something new (which – in my case – is pretty easy!). “Here and now” was the last I said to myself and started cycling. Just like this!
Ps. My real hero is Tegan – a girl who convinced her whole family for one year long cycling trip around Africa – this is truly amazing! Tegan is also a draftswoman and she has recently published on her website a picture I’m reposting below, which I agree with 100%. Tegan, thank you for being my constant inspiration!!
Zagreb, 20 January 2016 (written on 17th of December)