1. Live Simply.
- Money Spent [Not counting one night of motel luxury in Shelton, WA]: ~$12 per day
- Luxury Money Spent: $100 [$80 motel room, $20 pizza]
- Waste Produced: 1/4 grocery bag [Almost exclusively plastic packaging for food]
- Nights of Camping: 6 out of 7 [Some wild camping. Washington State Parks charge $12 for hikers and bikers.]
- Times Plugged In: Once
- Showers: 2
- Music & Podcasts Consumed: ~80% of my riding
- Reflections: I prize home-cooked, well-prepared food more than any other consumable luxury, especially after an extended period of exercise. Access to internet is a close second. Give me those two luxuries and I’ll feel all right for awhile. Otherwise, I’m pleasantly surprised by my lack of yearning for showers, coffees, beds, beers, and climate-controlled spaces [Days of mid-teens to high-twenties temperatures obviously soften my exposure to the elements]. I sought out a single night of indoors-style luxury, mostly out of habit from the familiar life.
2. Embrace the Physical Grind.
- Total Distance: ~575km [Average of ~82km per day]
- Shortest Day of Riding: 50km [Day 2: Birch Bay, WA to Larabee, WA]
- Longest Day of Riding: 120km [Day 5: Shelton, WA to Bruceport, WA]
- Days to Bike Into Desirable Fitness: 5
- Sweat Produced: Gallons [My apologies to every piece of clothing I’ve saturated.]
- Soreness Watch: Hamstrings, Quads, Bum, Forearms & Triceps flared for first 3-5 days [Now, only the early morning soreness lingers.]
- Reflections: I’ve instinctively embraced the sane side of the boundary between living to my fullest breaths and outright self-torture. A productive and fulfilling realm of personal challenge. I will curse myself to scale every climb and lean into every gust of headwinds – there have been surprisingly many – pulling forty pounds of gear with every pedal. But, I haven’t broken myself into a state of physical or emotional misery. I’ve avoided riding late into the evening to accumulate more distance in a single day. I haven’t felt drawn to my competitive spark too often. Aim for 100km or so, and, depending on my overall state, stop short or push on.
3. Expand and Enrich My Boundaries Within.
- Darkest Moment: First Day [Those first steps into a chosen darkness always feel the hardest.]
- Moments of Loneliness: Many [How fortunate am I to encounter this feeling only on a bike trip?]
- Most Fulfilling Moments: 1) Connecting with Curious Strangers, 2) Every Climb Conquered, 3) Waking Up From a Deep and Continuous Nine-Hour Sleep, 4) Pushing Through the Initial Days of Soreness Till I Emerged Feeling Strong
- Most Fearful Moments: 1) Crossing the Four-Mile-Long Astoria-Megler Bridge to Enter Oregon, 2) Sudden Bouts with Severe Hamstring Cramps during the Fourth Day [Reminders to slow down, listen to the ol’ body, and take care of myself], 3) Every Moment of Self-Doubt [What am I doing here?] and Isolation [Where am I going with this?]
- Reflections: This first week has served an incredible reminder that the most enduring and lifting fuel for life is every moment spent in the presence of those I know and love. But, I could not truly feel the breadth of this fortune without this brief sojourn into solitude. These moments of isolation are enlightening, no doubt. No complaints or regrets; this is the precise kind of venture I was preparing for.
4. Find Resonance.
- Most Resonant Encounter: A memorable conversation with a local artist in Quilcene, WA [Read a few words on that encounter here]
- Resonant Moments Experienced as a Quiet-Rolling Cyclist: 1) A full-grown fox running out of the woods and directly in front of me, no more than ten steps from my front wheel, 2) Two separate families of deer running astride my ride only a few steps to the side [They weren’t too frightened even after they finally noticed me.]
- Expected Moments of Resonance That Still Always Connect: 1) Every encounter with a curious and encouraging stranger, 2) Moving alone through a forest of trees, or alongside a long and winding shoreline, 3) Reaching the peak of every short or extended climb
- Most Surprising Form of Resonance: A spectacular meal and cold beverage to conclude an hours-long ride [I’ll always remember Linda’s Fish & Chips in South Bend, WA]
5. Explore My Connections.
- Reflections: Connecting within more than I anticipated. An inevitable consequence of travelling solo, I suppose. I previously thought I had more aspects of my life “figured out” than I do now that I’m going it alone for awhile. I love this unexpected turn, to feel vulnerable and uncertain. Keeps this life refreshing and fulfilling. Always room to grow.
Truthfully, I didn’t expect to receive more than a few dollars out of this proposal. During the first week, I received $76. I am very grateful for the small gestures of kindness and trust. As a result, I will be offering at least a total of $760 in donations or 760 minutes of service in the future. Keep the $2 gifts coming – I’ll continue to utilize the dollars for food and cold beverages [I’ve harboured little desire for the comforts of coffee or beer, so far].
I love this challenge. Every two dollars will serve another dose of meaning to my life. Bring it on.