I’m guessing many of you would like to set off on a long-distance cycle tour. Someday. You’re just not quite sure when.
At the moment, your focus is elsewhere. Perhaps your career is taking off. Maybe you’ve just begun a promising new relationship. You might even be toying with the idea of taking on a mortgage and snatching up your dream house.
The world, as we all know, is full of choices and opportunities.
The thing is, I regularly hear from people all around the world who grumble about the direction their life is taking. Recent graduates write to say they feel pressure to settle down and get a ‘real job’ but something inside of them aches for adventure. Career climbers email us admitting they feel trapped in a job they’re less than passionate about. People nearing retirement get in touch to lament spending decades acquiring all the outward trappings of a successful life, only to be left feeling empty and dissatisfied.
These people all have something in common: they say cycle touring makes them feel alive in a way ‘regular life’ just doesn’t. Often, they share plans for an ambitious cross continental tour.
Some of the individuals I hear from eventually take the plunge. They set off on the big bike tour they’ve always dreamed of. Good for them!
By all accounts, most of these folks are thrilled with their new two-wheeled lifestyle. They post photos of themselves proudly posing at the top of a big climb, or of last night’s stunning campsite next to a raging river.
They blog about the amazing hospitality they encounter, the massive quantities of food they’re ingesting, and of course the beautiful landscapes they roll past.
What’s stopping you?
In fact, I’ve yet to hear from a single individual who’s regretted the decision to go cycle touring (although I’m sure there’s one or two out there).
The thing is, of all the people who want to cycle around the world, relatively few actually do it.
So what’s holding everybody back?
In a few cases, an almost insurmountable obstacle stands in the way.
Let’s face it– if your partner is dead set against a cycle tour, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Children also make the situation a little trickier. It’s possible to educate kids on the road, but this may not be the best learning environment for your kids.
And then there’s money. If you’re buried beneath a mountain of debt, you can probably drop the idea of a long distance bicycle tour (at least for the moment).
The rest of us
Then there’s the rest of us.
People who are single or partnered with someone who appreciates the idea of a cycle tour.
People who are childless or have kids who thrive on adventure and adapt easily to new environments.
People who can come up with the cash (and it certainly doesn’t have t o be much; many cyclists—ourselves included– do it on around $10/day).
So here’s what really baffles me:
Why do so many people who…
- dream of a big bike tour
- have absolutely no commitments holding them back
- have the financial means to make a bike tour happen
choose NOT to set off on their ‘dream tour’.
It just doesn’t make sense
Not fulfilling your dreams when you have the chance to do so seems absurd.
Don’t we all want the best for ourselves? Isn’t finding happiness and fulfillment our ultimate goal in life?
Recent research proves that humankind is a lot less rational than we’d all like to believe.
Much of what we do is not by active choice; rather it’s a question of living in default mode.
A dangerous existence
I see a lot of default mode in my own life. One example comes from my college career. My choice to major in business administration had little to do with a keen desire to one day manage a big company and a lot to do with the fact that my father and elder sister both studied business. I chose default mode.
In lieu of finding out what subject suited me best, I simply followed in the footsteps of family members.
The danger in this type of living is that it tends to repeat itself. We continue to live just like everybody else because it’s easier that way. We passively allow ’society’ to dictate the course of our lives.
We graduate from college, begin building a career, settle down with a partner, buy a house, raise a family, and retire at 65. That’s standard living procedure.
A big bicycle adventure is not, sadly, part of life’s Default Mode. It should be.
Is it worth it?
Choosing a big bicycle tour means digging your way out of Default Mode. It means giving up safety and security for the unknown. It requires going against the flow and shaking up the status quo.
Is it worth it? Anecdotal evidence seems to say YES!
Every year more and more people (just like YOU) are departing from Default Mode and experiencing the adventure of life on a bike. Most are delighted with their decision.
I sincerely hope 2014 will be the year you join the growing ranks of cycle nomads spinning their wheels around the world!