‘Long term travel will make you see, by stepping out of society as we know it, that the West has gone far, far overboard.’
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
10. At least for me, I came to see in what sort of society I am coming from, rooted in western tradition. Although individualism is probably an impossible nut to crack, I came to see that it is all far from ‘normal’. We often claim that our way of living or our manners (open-mindedness) are superior to other cultures. We say we are not back-warded, not narrow-minded, not wrong, not discriminating, while in fact we should think -truly investigate- whether this is so. Long term travel will make you see, by stepping out of society as we know it, that the West has gone far, far overboard. With about everything. Simply because we believe what is taught in schools. We believe television. We take truth in what most people repeat. Politicians say things and do things which are not normal. They shape our decision making and ultimately our actions.
It comes down, neither to be a positive nor negative happening in long term travel, but rather a searching one. One where you might not fit any longer in the place you come from. While this can be liberating, it surely is another difficult nut to crack!
But perhaps the liberating fact lies in casting out media, not being able to understand languages not your own? By switching off the stream coming you, selecting what you like to see and hear, you automatically do away with with a lot of input you can do without. Do we need long-term travel to gain this knowledge? It surely helps.
11. Cycling or traveling is not environmentally friendly. The best way, the most conscious, the lowest impact, the highest supportive is to stay where you happen to be born. As a cyclist I can usually only buy crappy items and they are often the leading brands as those are the strongest on the market, pushing all others away. Those brands are also the most destructive in terms of polluting the earth. My food often exist of tins, cartons and packages. Cycling also makes you aware that many places on earth are whipped off the surface only to host cows. Its really very much about humans only; to feed them and make them buy more.
Whether you take an airplane or not, use fuel or not, burn plastic or not, in the long run, however you travel, it is not environmentally friendly in my opinion.
12. Blogging is nice. A way to pour out your creativity, your story and the need for sharing. A very basic human need is to share our experiences. But it makes your ego a bit fatty. It’s always about you: what you did and what you did not do, how you liked it or not, your points of view and in my case, many selfies. It looks as if I am super proud of myself. So remember, what you do is not that special, you are just fiddling on life’s playground. A blog is a lot of work and the photo’s may seem lovely, and I do love it all, it occupies a lot of my waking hours. Creativity only pays off when you áre creative and love to do write and be busy with photography, even when no one reads your blog, nor when you get paid for it.
It is a full time job when you try to make money from your travel. It takes years, I have seen with some. Or plain luck, a pretty face or many circumstances in your favor pushing you through. Then, you need the work keeping up and that’s a lot different than simply enjoying the travel.
13. As much as cycling makes you more close to the locals and their culture, you are often on a time-bomb: you need water to cover distances, your food is rationed. It often makes you feel you are in some sort of a race. You can therefor not sit back, relax and truly learn the country. Only when you let go off ALL musts, wants and rations, timings and numbers, you will be able to simply enjoy, out-of-a-race feeling. Yet, out of it, you might feel the need to be in it, so… its rather a push and pull lifestyle. In fact, cycling can be a very fleeting experience in learning the country, as you only get a feel for it.
A feel which is filtered by going after your likes and wants. Generally speaking, every country on earth is nice and good and pleasant because it is you who makes it that way. So, when a country is dangerous, hostile or terrible, it most likely is you who is not in balance (unless you go to a country in war).
The tactic to a great cycling lifestyle is to let go of planning altogether. It must be said that certain countries are not exactly suitable for cycling and it might be hard to enjoy it at all. Whereas I love central India, I found it better to discover this large chunk by public transport (except Himalaya).
14. Usually cycling does not tone your body, but the opposite. It rather fattens you, as your food intake is low in quality (almost all packaged food has sugar) or you need extreme amounts to get your energy as the exercise you do is draining you. The best food intake is at home, stable, continuous and evenly. While traveling long term its either ‘severe’ dysentery, overeating, low nutrition, unbalanced exercise versus your intake. It doesn’t take a sportswoman to cycle the world, everyone can do this!
Exceptions aside, India gave me plenty of nutritious vegetarian food, at all times of the day, and there it was no trouble at all to keep a balanced diet versus excessive exercise (although the 50 degrees heat prevented me for excessiveness).
15. Freedom is only relative. In cycling there is such a thing but also there isn’t. In between the carefree long moments of traversing, you need to find water and provision, while taking into account the siesta timings. You need to be able to cycle long distances and to find decent rest. Rest is only to be found at ‘good’ camp spots, and this changes all the time, according where you are. The natural forces are your -second- biggest concern, as there is always the fear of ‘bad men’, visiting your camp spot (though they are hardly bad at all).
In fact, freedom is merely happening in the mind. The path to freedom is a very different one.
16. You might not be too happy to live in a house again. A house feels like a prison, an artificial hide out where you will never experience the stillness of nature, the wind, the wonders of creation. A house might feel as a bunker, seemingly too sturdy for the environment you now again live in. A house might keep you in its grip, a grip of more cleaning, more orderliness, and surely more ‘things’ than life in a tent. Sure, a house gives you a lot of benefits, it also takes energy from you, as if the electricity outlets sucks energy from you. Outside looks more like a long lasting pick-nick. No kitchen to return to, to do quickly this or that. Outside has only the basics going and all other things dissolve in needlessness. The longer you have been outside, the more you might start to miss this once inside.
For me, I missed the creative part while I was on the road. I seemed not to be able to get my blog or emails to align with the actual now, and that is not a very fresh feeling. A house will surely offer you getting up-to-date, and a lot more than that. A house keeps you occupied, whether you want it or not. Often with tasks you can do without, or else it will make you busy with a 100 more things to do would you be out of a house.