Facing my Fears

/ Thursday, 7 January 2010 / Preparation & Thoughts

The new year has brought change, of a magnitude that I never even dreamed of making me feel like I am in a pinball game, being jostled around from the bumpers, not knowing if I should continue to keep hitting the bumpers for the high score, or just let gravity decide and go into the gutter.

I’ve been spending my new found spare time with cleaning, packing to leave this place, and going through the touring gear, re-evaluating how I could do things better (more on this later) and more efficiently. I’m a problem solver, and have been all my life. It must be the fact that I’m an INTP for those of you who have ever followed the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicators. I do and they peg me pretty bang on. I architect a solution to a problem, or a task at hand, and execute it with uncanny levels of speed and precision. I’ve always given my 110% to something, but on the flip side, that is also my downfall – as I sometimes am unable to see the telltale signs of stress or upcoming bumpy roads.

It’s always been a strain for me to be in public situations where I’ve thought far too much about the situation at hand, by not fitting in, relating to other people, or just not belonging. It’s worn on me over the years and I’ve been working at it over the past year and a half to get that out of my system. As they say, it’s hard to teach an old dog a new trick. I struggle, when I see problems that I am capable of solving and not being able to, in order to remove weight off of others shoulder’s, partially as as gift because problem solving comes so natural to me, but also out of care and pride. I am at peace with spending time with myself, but generally happier spending time with a small core group.

I’m starting to come to a stark realization however.. I’m afraid to go around the world alone. I accepted the fact that I’d be going around Canada for a period of time alone and being met up with along the way when other commitments permitted. It’s pretty apparent that won’t be the case and I’m left wondering, ‘Do I even want to do this on my own?’

Phase 1 was short and with a partner, Phase 2 was 10 times in distance and time from that one done solo, and Phase 3 is going to be 6-8 months time with an unknown distance (8000km?) solo, with many stops along the way of good friends who I’ve met along the way in my life, helping break the silence and loneliness of being on the road. Phase 2 brought a definite desire to share memories with someone at the end of the night, cook better meals other than the typical solo fare, and share feelings/emotions when times were incredibly tough. I envied many of the couples I would meet touring, whether on Tandems, or on their own independent bikes, explaining that soon would be me.

The thought of going into Phase 4 and it’s foreign countries not knowing the language, or have any comforts from home is downright frightening. It’s a one way message with me blogging outbound of my experiences, really forcing me to get out of my 1% of Earth Population INTP shell and adapt to the situation, and FAST. Considerable anxiety is approaching over this fact, where I fully intended on touring with a partner. When I say partner, I don’t mean random guy from Crazyguyonabike I mean someone who I fortify a relationship with a spouse, making these memories etch permanently in the part of my brain that gets released at 7pm nightly when putting little ones to sleep. Yeah. Those paternal sirens are sounding, dully, but amplifying as time goes on in my 30s, with my subconcious nagging at me to face the fact of .. Where am I going with my life? What’s next? How can I plan this out? Structure!

I’m feeling a bit exposed here with the stark realization that I may have architected a castle made of quicksand on a remote island, further distancing me away from society, making me miss the subtleties of life, and not being able to fall into my long term plans in life. I suppose this is part of the reason why I wanted to do this cycle tour in the first place is to put myself into an environment completely foreign to me, but at this stage, I am deathly afraid and contemplating shortening this trip, however knowing damn well, that I have nothing to come back to in Vancouver, since all of my possessions are sold and have gone so far down a man hole it’s too dark to see that there are any ladders left, further alienating myself from achieving my desires.

This is heavy stuff and I lie awake over this frequently over the past few months, questioning my sanity, ideals, reasoning, mental state, and well being. My friend network has been incredible, propping me up in ways that I wouldn’t even imagine, and I have to thank each and every one of them every time I converse/spend time with them that I am extremely lucky to have them in my life, and feels wonderful when they relay the same message.

I always thought that the first decade of your life was guided by your parents, followed by the second “teen/young adulthood” provided by society/government programs, and the third decade, the 20′s to be all you, fumbling, utilizing the skills you learned from the previous teachers. The next decade, your 30′s – I’m not sure what it is? You with everything in alignment, heading towards those long term goals with determination, confidence and stability, however at 31 – I’m failing to see that this is the case, yet the entire opposite. Sorry for the rant.

I’ve made a few more purchases, one being a more efficient way to provide caffeine intake – which I will post a detailed review in the coming days, and some additional dry/stuff sacks. I was able to pick up some Merino wool sweaters from MEC for under $50 a piece which I snapped up in a second to have as extra layers in the cold. Something about this wool, just makes me feel so wonderful, cool, and warm at the same time. The fact that it doesn’t stink goes along way as well. With these stuff sacks, I will use them to compress my clothes a bit further. In Phase 2 I traveled with a minimal set of clothes, and I’d like to bring additional shirts/pants on this one, so compression will be essential. For the record I brought a suit with me on Phase 1, but that’s a whole other story altogether.

I’m also looking for some cargo netting, to go over the trunk bag and to use as a laundry drying device when riding on a warm day, which will be far and few in Canada at least for the first 3 months. I would also like to fashion some sort of contraption to hold additional
goods on my front rack, specifically the MSR Dromedary water carrying device.

I was at the bike store the other day picking up some Kool-Stop Salmon brake pads, and checked on any available stock of the newly discontinued Marathon XR tires. This makes me sad.

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