Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This is a thing that is happening

For many of life's larger events, there's usually a moment when you realize, "This is actually happening." For college, it might be the moment you get your acceptance letter or the moment you board the plane; for your first "real" job it might be the moment you get your paycheck. In my favorite show of all time, Chuck, the female protagonist is generally agnostic about her upcoming wedding until a friend suggests she choose the dress first instead of last. She tries on the dress, looks in the mirror, and lo and behold... "I'm getting married!"

I'm not sure when it happens for bicycle touring. Touring is notorious for being largely inconclusive. There are landmarks, sure -- when you buy your bike, when you leave, when you hit a certain distance marker -- but when you complete less than 2% of your goal every day,1 it can be hard to feel like you've ever started. And often you don't make it to the end -- when I biked the States I stopped early, completing only 4,032 of my intended 4,250 miles. Not that there is anything wrong with any of this. But for whatever reason, touring seems to be more of a one day at time thing than a blink and you might miss it thing. When your entire lifestyle changes for months on end -- what you wear, where you sleep, whether you'll have enough water -- it's hard to assign any one event as a landmark event.

So today I had what was probably one of few landmark moments. There will be a few -- getting vaccines, quitting my job, buying my first plane ticket, boarding the plane, etc. Today was getting vaccines. I had to worry about things like meningitis and encephalitis and rabies. Some of these I probably learned about in high school but didn't think I'd ever need to bother. Well, rabies is always lethal ("If you get it you die" was the rather succinct way my provider put it). Encephalitis is either general sick feeling or lethal and you don't know which until you're healthy or beyond saving. To make matters worse, rabies is a series of three shots that, at my healthcare provider, are $600 each. Japanese encephalitis is two shots at $300 each. Neither is covered by insurance.

If I choose to get them at the costs above, they will be the biggest purchases of the tour.

The moment I realized I might be spending $2400 to keep myself from dying because of a dog or mosquito bite... that was one of the moments my tour became very real, despite departure being at least 4 months away.

1Depending on the length of the tour and the distance you ride, you might complete more or less of your tour. When I rode across the States, it was 4,032 miles, averaging 54 a day, or 1.3% of the distance each day. Biking around the world will be about 18,000 miles at 54 miles a day, or 0.03% each day.

No comments:

Post a Comment