What Did You Learn in a Year of Adventuring?

One year ago last night I leapt.

Yesterday, on the anniversary, I didn’t notice.


My mom asked me something one day. In that sort of wistful way, she asked: if you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?

“Exactly what I am doing.”

The answer made no sense to anyone but me. It came out of my mouth without a thought; only later did I realize what that meant.

If I had tens of millions of dollars, I’d be going exactly where I’m going, doing exactly what I plan to do. I guess I’d just have nicer clothes.


Today I got new panniers. They are sweet panniers, mint.

Birthday gift from my father. We went to the bike shop together.

When I started the Adventure my panniers were not so great. Two tote bags, rigged with zip ties. The totes were cheap. Day 2 a zipper ripped out. Day 3 they started catching in the spokes. Things fail sometimes.

If my dad had offered to buy me panniers Day 1 I’d have jumped at them. But only because I like free things, and looking stylish.

I’m glad he didn’t. I only got panniers of any kind after weeks of challenge. Roadside repairs in the bleeding sun. Now the new ones (waterproof, bombproof) aren’t just style. I have an experiential appreciation of exactly what makes them good, and therefore I love them.


I can’t describe how exactly travel has gotten me to this state of mind, but it has.

This is no incremental change, but a revolution of spirit.

I am simply a different person today than 12 months ago, with wider skills, wider perspective, a better heart.

They tell me this is not the only way: and I believe them.

But it is much easier to cross the abyss of the heart when you have crossed an actual abyss.


Thank you for sharing my journey with me.


6 thoughts on “What Did You Learn in a Year of Adventuring?

  1. Rua Lupa says:

    I recall a story about a remote native man who was considered one of the last to live a completely traditional hunter gatherer life. Who after living in a ‘modern’ society a while, was asked something along the lines of, what is the best thing about our society? And his response was matches. ^_^

    I totally see where you are coming from with the doing exactly what your are currently doing if you won the lottery, just with nicer gear probably. You do learn to appreciate the smaller things without it though, like your example of the panniers. Things tend to look more up because of being able to upgrade, as opposed to looking down when things inevitably break down and are unable to get such sweat gear again to replace the last one. You tend to also learn what you really want with how you live, what your style is. So it is easier to customize to your tastes with the bottom up approach. So by the time you get sweet gear, you know exactly what you want and why, instead of being told what would be best for you.

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