Adventure, Adventure Prep, Andre Sólo, Fellowship of the Wheel

It Felt Like Chickening Out

Photo by Mish Sukharev

When I was in Guanajuato I almost gave up on my Adventure. I didn’t know if I wanted to go on and bike across Mexico, because I felt lonely and overwhelmed making such a big journey on my own. But I didn’t want to give up, either. I felt lost and confused.

I wrote to a friend for help. This is what I wrote:

I still want to bicycle across Mexico and Latin America, the more I read about other people doing it the more amazing it sounds. But they always go with a partner, a spouse, a buddy or a group… it would be nice to share the experience with other people.

I’m considering putting the adventure on hold to try to form a group. It would be so much more fun. It would also be safer. Not that we can ever say it is 100% safe but it makes such a difference when you have people looking out for each other.

But this makes me feel really conflicted. It feels like ANOTHER delay in the Adventure and also kind of like chickening out. Like I’ve already delayed the Mexico leg for a year, am I going to do it or not? I don’t want to sit around making excuses not to go and regretting it later.

My friend wrote back to me:

It’s your adventure, so you must choose your own path. I would suggest not thinking about it too much. Make a decision, stick to it. That’s the best anyone can hope for.

I have traveled alone and I know well the anguish of doing so. It also feels very pointless with no witness. But I’ve come out the other end, with very little memory of it, and so I know little of what was gained. I know that I have lost much on those trips.  But I wouldn’t change it. Either way.

It’s a tough decision, Andre, but one that you are more than capable of making. Delay means nothing. You are still young and have the luxury of time. It takes nothing away from the journey to change tactics. Any veteran understands the necessity of wisdom. Patience is key, and it matters not at all how long the journey takes you.

You are beholden only to your own impatience. No one else’s judgment matters in the least. Take your time, gather your resources, and enjoy the journey as best you can. You have already seen what traveling alone in Mexico is like.  If you don’t like it, don’t fucking do it, man! Screw that!

I would lean toward finding a human to share the trip with. Because it seems that is what you are doing anyway. And there is no shame in that anyway.

Those words cured me instantly. Right away I knew he was right. I asked another friend for help planning it, and today we have a group of at least 10 people planning to ride across Mexico together. I’ve never been more excited about the Adventure.

The moral of the story isn’t exactly “it’s okay to chicken out.” It might be make sure your actions align with your dream. 

What is your dream? Do your actions align with it? And, if not, what’s holding you back?

You can help us launch the trip across Mexico with a contribution. In exchange, you’ll be with us every step of the way with video logs, stories from the road, postcards and letters. Please consider contributing and help us spread the word: The Fellowship of the Wheel campaign. Thank you!

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6 thoughts on “It Felt Like Chickening Out

  1. “What is your dream? Do your actions align with it? And, if not, what’s holding you back?”

    I think you know what my dream is, I am uncertain if my actions align with it but am working on it – the kalendar debut is soon. What is holding me back is finances – land, house, or buildings are expensive.

    Glad you were able to get past this challenge, it sounds like it will be great!

    • Given the natural and non-materialistic focuses of your path, Rua, here is a question for you: how necessary are lands, houses and buildings really?

      I realize that in order to have a network of natural learning centers some infrastructure is needed… but I wonder if there are ways you can start it using publicly accessibly land?

      • All Lands on this island are privately owned, otherwise I would have totally did it on public lands. I do have a pilot project on a nearby farmer’s property, but I have the challenge of managing it with cattle roaming through it and on going hunting season in autumn – the best time for a lot of what I do. Land is paramount, without land you have nothing (am already squeezing out a garden between the wall and stairs to our building, and put in a small hugelkultur at the school). With land you can build yourself a home and a future, but trying to convince the significant other about building a home ourselves is a very high order – plus they work for The Planning Board (Governing Body of Land Use and Management) and they know all the legal things needed and how easily it can become an illegal structure. It becomes simpler to find a prebuilt home, although I am looking into the costs of building a strawbale home (there is a builder, who is also a friend, on the island that specializes in these types of buildings). One step at a time, I’m sure I’ll get there at some point.

        • That’s funny, I would think having a Planning Board staffer as a significant other would make it easier to get through any red tape. Permitting and building requirements can seem like a labyrinth to the uninitiated.

          I see what you mean about the value of land for what you do. My mind tends to spin through potential solutions when I think of a problem like this, so I’m going to throw them out there, but I understand either of the may be crazy or simply not a good fit for you…

          So, for what it’s worth, one thought I had right away depends on how attached you are to your current region (which I get the sense you are quite happy in). Land can be substantially cheaper in other places, and in countries with more traditional village life it can also be free of all the building code hassles. I’m thinking in particular of a couple who moved to, IIRC, Costa Rica and built a small cottage with solar panels in a tropical forest a few miles from a village. I don’t know offhand if they own the land outright or have to officially lease it from a local as foreigners.

          The other idea is more rooted and also more career oriented. How much are you recognized as an expert on permaculture and natural living? The reason I ask is that my friend Matt spend years trying to get his heroism curriculum into schools in Michigan with no success, till he decided instead to start a conference on heroism. Immediately he was viewed as one of the leading authorities on heroism, and after the first conference was a success sponsors offered to build and institute for his project. They (the sponsors) are currently lining up the funding to put the hero curriculum in every school in Flint, Michigan.

          I guess my thought is that maybe focusing on speaking and writing on your area of expertise could help open doors to get broader support for a nonprofit. Land owned by the nonprofit wouldn’t quite be the same as land you put your home on, but it would give you the space you need for your work.

          Again, I don’t know if either of these are helpful and I don’t presume to know the specifics of your situation. I’m just brainstorming.

          • I have thought on these things already, we are here because this is where we have a secure job, and in a fairly pristine region – two things that already rarely come hand in hand. I prefer to stay in Canada regardless and if I do move to more affordable territory it would be north to my place of origin, but there wouldn’t be the beautiful autumn colors and diverse vegetation I have here.

            In time (it may take a couple more years) we will be able to afford property to our desiring and would like to have a community element with it – like you had done in the past. I would like to see if it could be drawn up so that it works like a park system with in resident park keeper(s) – if we end up with a large amount of acreage (it seems your options are limited to a town lot size or 100 acres). I have been writing a fair bit of late on Patheos, and had spoken at community events and meetings with regards to permaculture, the school and pilot project are my main focus. I have a couple of other side projects that are related too. Still have a lot of things that I do that slowly helps me move toward that end. Home would come first before I turn my gaze to land for public use, even if it is my own (again acreage dependent).

            I always appreciated a good brainstorming, and appreciate that you took the time to provide ideas that could help. I think things would line up when everything settles in place as far as my many projects go. It all doesn’t seem to far from now.

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