Home > politics > Habits, priorities and trying to work out why I don’t ensure I get out onto my bike camping more often.

Habits, priorities and trying to work out why I don’t ensure I get out onto my bike camping more often.

An interesting read on habits and priorities has coincided with the end of winter and me feeling the call of the road.

As the air is warmer and there is more daylight the wind feels to pull me even more incessantly. “Come fly with me” it sings. Oh how I want so much that freedom. I feel it whichever way I travel. Just being on the move gives me calm and contentment. Hiking through mountain passes. Flying. Train journeys. Hitchhiking. And since lejog bicycle is now my favourite method.

On my bike, with my camping gear strapped to the pannier rack, is as close to independence as I can currently get. I always have enjoyed minimising the amount of money I need to use – I can and have fed myself for nothing. When I had a (98cc) motorbike that wasn’t so bad as I could travel tens of miles on very little petrol, and always wheel it around. Cars for me feel clumsy and, though offer some liberation, require a lot more upkeep and input. I have to plan more for a car. On my bike there’s not many places I can’t take it. I can lift it up steps or over gates. I can wheel it over foot bridges or onto tiny foot passenger boats. I don’t need to spend money on special fuel for it or to take it on ferries or trains. And I feel this connection to the geography of a place – the contours and bends and flows.

I love feeling my legs gain seven league boots, that my noble steed is carrying my camping gear without difficulty. Its so frigging exuberant to pump to the top of a hill and then fly down the other side. To find a few square metres out of plain sight to camp for the night. To know that the next day I’ll pack up my things and set off somewhere new. To explore new places.

The connection to the “habits and priorities” link above? Just that I was hungrily looking at my calendar for the months ahead, desperate to at least find a few days I could go for a trip on. Living in Glasgow makes it pretty easy to get into the mountains with minimal money/planning. And yet I can only see a few days possibility until the end of May.

I don’t prioritise this. And yet it is the time I am happiest, fulfilled, at peace, joyous. I can almost breathe the fresh air just thinking about it. The sun on my skin. The wind in my face. The endless beauty of the unknown world ahead. The challenges and satisfactions of life on the road.

Partly I allow myself to be booked up because other things do require more advance planning than taking myself off into the countryside. Visiting other countries requires flights and visas. There’s large-scale camps, festivals, conferences, gatherings which all have dates set in advance. And so my calendar is filled with all these things that I definitely want to do, and am excited about. But none of them are quite as great as being on my own, or with 1 or 2 special companions, out in the natural world on an adventure.

I have a really great life. I can’t believe how lucky I am. 14 year old me is delighted! I work one day a week and have a home in the sky. I have wonderful connections, friends, lovers, family. I go dancing and to gigs and to fascinating public science talks and museums. I have secure work and housing. I am relatively healthy and able bodied.

I’m not really moaning. I guess I’m just documenting that I need to prioritise keeping my calendar less full, reduce my commitments, increase my free time. And then I can take advantage of the blessings I have and get out on my bike, tent strapped to the back, spontaneously and frequently. I do only need to work a Sunday to cover my rent and bills.

The nagging doubts, the guilt I have are all about how yes this is nice for me. But I am in such a minority to be able to live such a charmed life. That whilst I am having my jollies war and borders and racism are destroying lives. Austerity rips life sustaining benefits from those that need them. Carbon dioxide levels increase in the atmosphere. Capitalism immiserates.

But then what am I doing about any of those things really now? I struggle to even write an email or organise a meeting about politics or activism. I have this big block and I’m not very functional around politics at the moment. Haven’t really been since I was in Bhopal. I’m at a very low efficiency. Things that would have taken me an hour now take me a whole day and a lot of mental energy. Going to meetings fills me with dread. Maybe I should just accept that I’m not really making much of a difference in the world and give up and be selfish?

Oh I don’t know. I’m sure its all just balance and all. This has gotten way deeper and introspective than I planned. I guess this is my journal so its ok. Sorry if anyone else is reading this expecting something less navel gazing!

Have some pics of my bike to finish. How could that not cheer anyone up? ;)

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Categories: politics
  1. May 15, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Inglceitenle and simplicity – easy to understand how you think.

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