The pro’s and con’s of deciding to live life differently, focusing on a cycling life.
This post focuses on when coming to a halt after long-term cycling. In my case I wanted it to come to a stop, and when yours will end whether willingly or not, you must know that some things will not be the same anymore. You and your outlook may have changed drastically.
I’m not talking about anything shorter than, let’s say, a couple of years cycling the world -as a once in a lifetime happening- but all that qualifies for a full immersed life on the road where you keep your credit card usage to a minimum, where you live according the seasons and be as basic as a cycling life can go.
3) Maintenance living a simple lifestyle is not less work
4) Danger the world is not what it often is said to be
I added a few photo’s I made in South India, where I worked as a volunteer in an orphanage. The organization Focus on Education connected me and I did case-studies for elderly women and disabled youth.
7. When cycling you will often be seen as someone doing something extra ordinary. This lift up your ego after a while. After years of this extra attention you get used to it and thus it becomes normal. Only when getting back in a regular, busy, homely environment you will notice you are just a face in the crowd. Attention will be short and you are nothing special. Cope with it… get used to it.
You are nothing really special, or, positively said: you are as exceptional as any other individual is! Yes, you may feel like someone extraordinary and other countries may be better to you, but is it really so? Perhaps you are treated better in other countries because you are such a rarity? Of course, there is no doubt that most Islamic countries are acting out their hospitality truly! I am the first to say I rather be in North India than in my own country, the Netherlands. Yet, traveling is not to compare with living somewhere.
8. In the beginning it’s wondrous to find out that people admire you which result in giving you gifts, food and shelter. After years on the road you will notice that passengers in cars stop to hand you over food and drinks, as if it is a private ‘Tour de Good-Doing-In-My-Favor’. This easily results in an automatic expectancy, to such a degree that the automatism reacts slightly offended when something so normal before is not coming your way just when you got used to it. When you are denied requests, when you are treated as just anyone (not the one with the magic unihorn), or worse, when you notice you actually have to pay for something you got handed over for free before.
Be aware that cycling distorts your balance of formerly known normality. Being out in the world for many years is a whole other reality. It changes perspective hard. It makes you, the one with money in the bank and a health insurance, a luckier fellow than the one who knows hunger and is neglected. I found Iran a country where people give you very much, their hearts are so warm that they treat you as if you were their child. This sometimes resulted that I felt embarresed or that I had to act surprisingly when I already could forsee someone would do me a favor once again.
9. Have you heard of the ‘Reality Check’? Someone who became a friend, a Dutch Australian man I met in Iran, was speaking about his ‘reality check’ after a long travel through India, and so mentioned it to me after I went back home after a 3 year long journey. Self-praise, pride and self-absorption comes very quick and embed nicely in your system when you are traveling or cycling touring on your own.
When you are not dressed in rags, have a reasonable appearance and the healthy looks of an outdoor devotee, people tend to like your presence. They may invite you and spoil you, they talk to you because they admire you and they may invite you for interviews on radio and television. Some may hand you over money, offer you jobs, ask you to stay.
But what when you are back home, working a job, rushing about to balance you free time and your on duty time? Be aware that these two lifestyles can be clashing and that there is a clear difference between the two and you can’t blame anyone for not being interested in you anymore. You are now back in normal life circumstances where no one really is that interested in how you fixed a puncture in the pouring rain on a muddy road, wheels clogged with chunks of clay so sticky you could built a mud house for yourself to stay the night and wait out the rain.