It's amazing what a week can do in terms of one's mindset.
One week ago I was pedaling my way to a state park, figuring out how to ride within feet of passing vehicles, clicking in and out of my pedals. I felt so excited and hopeful, not yet refamiliarized with the feelings of soreness, exhaustion, might I say despair? I would experience all of that the next day, after riding nearly 70 miles with a loaded bike.
I arrived back home, wondering how and why and what if... and I really didn't know how to sit with it other than to simply say, "I don't know..." whenever I'd think about my plans to bicycle across the country.
I haven't been back on my bike in days, leaving her in my basement amidst children's board games, Hot Wheels pieces, and drum sets. I've gone ahead and emptied my panniers, washing my clothes ripe with the stench of campfire smoke. My next task will be to organize my camping and touring cycling gear into bins, ones that I'll revisit in the spring.
And then what? What comes next in my journey?
Well, I've adapted a more realistic picture of how cross-country cycling may look for me. Granted, I'm only going off what I experienced over the course of a few days. But, my picture is now filled more with emotional challenges, feelings of physical exhaustion, and longings for personal connections.
Do I want to choose these challenges? Do I want to spend the time away from my loved ones, moving myself further and further from my community with each passing day? Do I want to spend the time training and building my strength so I can actually enjoy the start of my journey? Am I going to be at peace knowing that I will not hold my children for two months?
These are all questions that I'm contemplating. I don't have an answer today. I still really want to head off on this adventure, but I'm not so naive about the experience. Because what I felt last weekend will be multiplied, and I need to choose this adventure, rather than feeling like it's something I should do out of obligation (I spent all this money! I've announced my plans to my friends and family! How will I feel to change everything I have been thinking about for the last couple months?!).
So many thoughts...