Attracter: What attention on the bicycle can do to you

Good to Know When You Start & Stop

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. 

This post has 4 separate chapters

1) Aim what is the purpose of it all?

2) Attractor what attention can do to you

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.

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Attracter

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.

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Attracter

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.

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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.

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Attracter

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.

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4 responses to “Attracter: What attention on the bicycle can do to you

  1. Pingback: Good to Know When You Start & Stop | Cycling Cindy·

  2. Great article Cindy. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I have been wondering about such things. What happens after say 10,20 100, 400 days? Will it all look the same? Will that be just another road, just another lake, just another village/town? What will be the point of turning the crank another turn? How does another day of pedalling, eating, camping help anyone or anything? And then it hit me… it’s the same question at home. How does another night, another meal another task help anyone or anything? What is the point of waking up for another day?

    ‘Freedom is not the absence of limitations and constraint but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us’ (C.S. Lewis).

    And there is the large hint at the solution. To do what we want to do and help others reach the same. Cycling allows escaping from current constraints to experience something different and to observe other ways of living…. that may be more satisfying and meaningful. If we do, we change right then and there (because it makes no sense to do or be the old way). But in all that there will be limitations just, different ones and maybe more acceptable ones. I guess that is contentedness.

    In a way sone of us are also looking for something else, happiness. To be doing something satisfying and to be accepted and rewarded for it. To belong to something where contentedness and happiness intersect. Like a touring community or a village where you are happy to do a task which is needed and as such you are rewarded by friendship, recognition, appreciation and something else perhaps kindness and money or food…

    It a very interesting area for exploration.
    Again, thanks for sharing.
    Miro

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Miro,

      Thank you for adding your name, its just so much easier to talk to you ; )

      So, yeah, well, I think it has to do with aging too. With the fact that you are in a position not to work so much that you will always long for a holiday. When, like me, and perhaps you too, are in a position that we don’t have to long for something different than the constance of working, being in a grid of being lived, sort of being a slave of the system. We are often doing what we dream of…. and that eventually turns boring too! I think life really needs a purpose, more than just doing what you like to do. Because in doing what you dreamed of, what you love to do, needs an opposite. So, work is an excellent opposite, just not too much, so that you are still able to enjoy life.

      But then, enjoying and work is also not all there is. There must be a purpose. A calling. To help others reaching their happiness, is one, but happiness is not enough. Because that will cease. I think in doing things which we initially are not that fond of, which we rather don’t do, those might be the solution.

      Just cycling, or traveling and forming a community of ‘happy hippies’, is not a solution at all, to me not. Its a cocon. With this, no one other is helped than the one who chooses to be part of it.

      I am more thinking of people who are in a black hole, seemingly no chance to get out of it. Think of prostitutions, homeless, addicts, old age people left to their own…. people on the side of society. Not with food and money but with kindness and friendship, however short. That sort of thing….

      Heavy, and where to start and how? Especially when one has no/ wants no home base?

      To me, cycling started to feel useless. I was done with it. As I was done with backpacking once. Its a growth, as I have now outgrown the ‘normal’ lifestyle. I guess the same goes for you?

      Thank you too, for your thoughts. Much regards, Cindy

      Like

  3. Pingback: Maintenance: living a simple lifestyle is not less work | Cycling Cindy·

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