I'm sitting here at the usual breakfast spot, John Street Cafe, down the road from our house thinking, dreaming, hoping. All for a journey by bicycle from Minneapolis to the home of my childhood in Indian River, Michigan. A plane will take me to MSP on May 7th, on a Tuesday. Universal Cycles here in Portland will ship my bike, not quite sure where yet, but somewhere I can pick it up, build it, strap a bunch of stuff to anywhere possible, and pray everything will roll smoothly on the open road the next morning. I'll have a camera, tablet for blog posts each day, maps, the usual camping supplies, and a picture of my epic and amazing wife and pup. I'll need their motivation as it could get lonely over the 10-12 days I'm planning to be swirling my legs in circles.
Why? Why do we do these things? My mother would say "You're running from the devil." I don't feel like I'm being chased, but she is always right. My family and friends are amazing and I've been gifted with the most understanding and accepting significant other imaginable. None of them are the devil I run from, that's for sure. Running a business is definitely stressful at times and can be devil-like I suppose; that's not it though, I'm lucky and happy to be busy and able to practice the profession I love and went to college for. Who does that anymore? Maybe it's the pressures of society that are the devil I run from. Some might say I'm independent or strong-willed to go out on a long solo bike/camp trip; Ha!, what a load of crap. Or,..... It's actually because I'm weak-spined and can't handle society's norms for more than a few weeks at a time before I have to flee to quiet wilderness. Every devil is fictitious after all; could that be what's chasing me?
When we were hunters & gatherers adventure happened everyday amongst wild places. I wonder if they ever got chased?
How about Ernest Shackleton? Getting ship wrecked in Antarctica while trying to cross the mass from sea to sea via the South Pole. He must have had a serious devil chasing him. See the image below of these nimrods. Nimrod Expedition was actually the title of his second attempt to find the South Pole.
George Washington Sears, also known by his indian given name, Nessmuk wrote in "Woodcraft and Camping"-
“With a large majority of prospective tourists and outers, “camping out” is a leading factor in the summer vacation. And during the long winter months they are prone to collect in little knots and talk much of camps, fishing, hunting, and “roughing it.” The last phrase is very popular and always cropping out in the talks on matters pertaining to a vacation in the woods. I dislike the phrase. We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed – with the necessity always present on being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left. Alas for the life-long battle, whose bravest slogan is bread.”
I don't compare my simple adventures to these folks in the least. But I do feel a common bond with the notion of getting away from it all and seeking emotion through adventure. Even if I have to create a phony devil in my head to run from.