Monday, March 26, 2018

Thoughts From Here

I am well and truly moving on from the tour life. I signed a lease recently, I’ve had job interviews all over the place, I’ve been on a few dates… re-engaging with static life in Madison is objectively going well, though I could really use a job.

The longer I go without having everything I own on a bike, the more certain I am I’ll be doing it again in the not-too-distant future. So keep subscribed if you want to be notified when the not-too-distant future arrives (if you haven’t subscribed, but want to, you can do so in the upper-right on desktop or the very bottom on mobile).

Until the not-too-distant-future, I have so many good memories to hold onto. One of my favorites is the night I spent with Shawn and Dani in Dawlish, England: being so panicked about finding a safe place to sleep, finally being offered one, relaxing enough I could enjoy my first English pub, being guided home by a well-meaning couple on their bicycles; then, getting invited in and spending the night telling stories and waxing poetic about what’s meaningful in life… getting up in the morning to breakfast, a bag lunch, a long drive to the heart of Dartmoor, and then playing my ukulele to some sheep.

“It was one of those nights that are the reason I tour, the spontaneous encounters with strangers who bike home with you and not 12 hours later you know you want to see at your wedding. I wish I could give it a more fitting summary, but I'm coming to realize as I blog that some things cannot be summarized in a few words or even accurately depicted in a multi-page blog post. Words are an imperfect means of communication and photos help, but all too often nothing can replace or replicate the actual experience, the lightness and feeling of being on a porch at night with the moon and your friends and the intimate entwining of your lives... for however brief a time.”

There are a few things I’d like to do differently when the time for my next tour comes:
- Take pictures of everyone I stay with. My biggest regret is not having photo memories of the people I met, who were the whole reason for the trip. It’s unsatisfying recalling their faces from memory only. Doing so makes me feel a little empty.
- Bring my accordion. Maybe. The uke was a great success. But I missed my accordion, too. That being said, not having to fly with a trailer was really, really nice.
- Go slower. For most of the trip I had somewhere to be. In the US, it was my flight to Europe. In Europe, it was my WWOOF in Ukraine. After Ukraine, it was my flight to Africa. In Africa, it was hopping from water source to water source. I was always in a rush to get somewhere. I was much less rushed that I’d ever been in my life, but still… I frequently sacrificed staying somewhere longer, taking a more scenic route, visiting so-and-so, or just having time to relax and do nothing because I had somewhere to be. If I could do it again, I would schedule even less.

In Madison, for the first time in my life, I truly have nowhere to be. Thanks to that, I believe, and thanks to one relationship in particular, I’ve begun to feel I am immersed in a never-ending song. Experiences are notes in that song; relationships are movements. My time at Epic seems so small now, and so far away, compared to the grandeur of the tour and even the past week in Madison. I’m wondering if our perception of time is proportional to how vulnerable we make ourselves.* Filling your life with amazing people and seizing new experiences is how you write your song, how a week of getting to know someone can seem longer than the three years you spent doing the same job every day. I’ve finally slowed down enough to make myself truly vulnerable, and it feels like my perception of time has changed.

“Spend a minute touching a hot stove and it feels like an hour. Spend an hour in love and it feels like a minute. That’s relativity.” - Albert Einstein

I never liked that movies have endings. It was never satisfying to think of life as a happily ever after, because the truth is, it just goes on and on until... and we don’t know what happens then. I’m not sure it matters, either. Cycle Humanity taught me the most important lesson of all: fill your life with inspiring, compassionate, genuine, imperfect, non-judgemental people. If you can’t find them, seek them out. Make yourself truly vulnerable to them. Do that, and you won’t need an ending. You’ll forget about endings. You can vanish into the notes and lose the idea of a story or a life or an ever after. Put your heart on your bike and pedal it around the world, and you can just be.

End of Part 1

*Go see Arrival if you haven’t yet.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent post, so insightful and real. Thanks for being vulnerable. The lesson you learned is one we should all experience and relish. Love you.