Adventure, The Great Adventure, Travel

Why Don’t You Travel Slower?

Photo credit: K. Hurley

I ride long days. Seventy, ninety miles on my fomhor. A reader asked:

Why so fast? Why the stressful schedule—are you enjoying the path? Why not saunter like a Sadhu.

I can’t voice the breathless joy of the road. It hangs on the fog, falls from the wind, rises from the hill, stings with the sun.

Yes, I enjoy my Adventure.

And it tests me. There are days I have no idea how to move. I’m not accustomed to giving up. No pain, no difficulty, no strain can stop me—mostly. I wasn’t born this way. Once I was scared of everything, gave up at any resistance, looked for reasons to quit. It took years of practice to learn to push through duress.

And how long to learn to fail?

I was exactly lost between two remote towns. 20 miles on to the next, 15 miles back to the last. 20 miles is a short jaunt, but not with a swimming head.

I stopped for water. Nearly fell off the bike. Then I knew. No 20 miles left in me. Not even four. I stumbled into a woods beside a creek, found a place to camp, went and fetched my bike, covered in ants.

Paralyzed, I accepted a fever sleep in my hammock. When I woke up anxiety seized my heart.

Was this a good day? No, and spare me the grand design. There was no purpose in my suffering, no special lesson to be learned. This did not Happen For A Reason.

But I take my food with spice.

Everyone wants their story to be heard. And good stories have shit moments. It builds tension, forces us to care. It makes the rest matter.

The next day, taking a shower in a county fairgrounds, in a little concrete stall—I could’ve been a duke. It felt like pure velvet luxury.

Hot coffee and soft white eggs: I savored them like the scent of a woman’s hair.

I don’t adventure to seek hard moments. They find me quick enough. If I choose long tough days it’s practical: to meet a person with a bed, to see a certain town, to reach an event I want to see. 90 miles in the saddle and two days off is nicer than three days scrambling.

And I still learn.

I’m a journeyman priest, but a novice to the journey.

If money, timing, weather, gear didn’t matter, I’d go just 40 miles then stay put for a week.

But all things have limits, and so, from imperfect apples I choose the least bruised fruit.

That is the art of Adventure.


13 thoughts on “Why Don’t You Travel Slower?

  1. D says:

    While things may not Happen For Reasons, you certainly have them for things that you Do. Isn’t acknowledging the shit moments and pressing on anyway one of the hallmarks of bravery, whether it seasons your story or not? Did the fever sleep at least bring you interesting dreams?
    There is also the endorphin rush that comes with hitting the perfect stride on a bike, ticking down an open road with a good headwind. Your jolly green Giant is a trusty steed.

    • Definitely D. I create my meaning as I go. One of the things I love about my adventure is that everything that goes wrong is entirely one me—it results from decisions I made and no one but me can fix it. It is a life of complete ownership.

      And yeah, the fever dreams were interesting. Not the worst ever, but I would have gladly done without them.

      And the Giant is red, not green :)

  2. robyn miller says:

    I hope you find what your looking for, out there “on the road”. I sense your sadness. I will pray for you… even though I have no idea who you are!! Isn’t that cool? Someone you’ve never met is thinking of you, and praying for you to find peace?

    Stay kool :)

    • There’s not much sadness, to be honest. Some times there is a frustration with a difficult day. Most days I smile and laugh in the wind as I bike. Or grin to myself as I fall off to sleep. I get to meet new friends almost every day, and see the world from angles no one sees.

      I wouldn’t trade it for anything, Robyn.

      Welcome to Rogue Priest by the way. I appreciate the prayers.

    • As fast or slow as the compromise between what my soul leads, and what my body manages: it is a dance between the two, forever waltzing, and both are not equally talented dancers.

    • I do sing sometimes! Not often though. Either I’m out of breath or I’m breathless.

      I have a chant that goes:

      The road beneath my feet,
      The sky above my head,
      And my heart is free as a roaming wind
      Till the day I leave this world.”

      • carfreeinthechristmascity says:

        Nice chant!! I’m usually out of breath or breathless too. Makes for good breathing capacity exercise.

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