The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.
~ William Arthur Ward ~
About 25 years ago some people called me Skippy the kangaroo. Thing is, I prepared and worked for a year to go to Australia but then I came back after 4 days. I missed my girlfriend and family. That’s hard within a couple of days I know, but I was only seeing the year ahead of me and not seeing my loved ones. I got pulled out of the comfort zone and was living in the future and not in the Now. I panicked, took a surprise flight back to the Netherlands.
This time I also had a surprise but then for myself. I thought about it in Japan as I was diving into the Tendai monks and their goal setting, their meditation. My goal for Australia was to cycle 1500 km’s in one week and to arrive in Sydney as soon as possible. Testing the body, testing the mind, and testing some other points of interest that I can share later is key here. I knew it was gonna hurt, body and mind, but that was the whole point. Connecting has different means and can be achieved in different ways.
First 4 days I was heading towards 700 km. 12-14 hour cycling days. Hard wind in the face and lots of sun. Starting in the dark on that crazy road, putting my tent at night in the long gras beside the road where there’s crazy snakes. What an ass. Fortunately I realised on time and got my act together. Day 5 I took the decision that the 1500 km would be impossible. It had been going through my mind for a month. Next target was Sydney. Did that one in 3 weeks. Did it hurt? Yes it did. And it’s not about the kilometers but how you experience them. Interesting process.
The whole idea of making mistakes is to learn from it. To use them as stepping stones to reach your goals. Not only on the bicycle when there’s obstacles on the way but in life. There’s no succesful athlete, actor or businessman who didn’t fail.
If there’s less fear for failure or you can accept the fear you have then new things and new ideas will arise faster because you know failure is part of the process, part of growth. You start to build on succes instead of building on fear. Besides, you are less sensitive for social approval, well in my case. And fear for the unknown you can start seeing it as a challenge which will give new possibilities (might come in handy cycling the world). You take action and don’t think too much so you are not implementing the negative future scenario’s in your mind that won’t manifest 99% of the time anyway. It saves time and energy.
Australia part I I could have stayed longer. Maybe should have stayed longer but still every cell in my body screamed that I had to go back and now I am so grateful that I did because of the events that happened after I took that flight home. Many times you can connect the dots later, sometimes it takes years. With cycling this world the cause –> effect is very concrete sometimes and you can see significant shifts on a single day. That’s because it’s so intense and so much hapens. For the bigger picture it might take a while. Patience is fundamental.
The circumstances were not good, bad even, but..can’t blame the circumstances. Blaming circumstances is a bigger weakness than you might think. Take responsibility for whatever situation helps you a lot in my experience cycling this world for some years now. Even if you get 7 (!) flats in one day, you are the one cycling there. It saves a lot of negative energy, you complain less, and don’t get angry that often (except at flat nr 4,5,6, and 7). You practice this and you also realise you are the one responsible for your choices, the position you are in, even at the most bizar cycling days (or life). It creates space. It gives the feeling that I am in controle and nobody else which helps accomplishing your own goals. It’s not the weather, it’s not somebody else, so you are going to have to do it. Can’t hide. It’s a big motivator. Looking at problems in a constructive manner has helped me a lot. You never know how things work out. There have been flats that made me meet wonderful people, people who have enriched my journey.
Set your target then that’s where your focus and your energy will have to go. If you set the goal of 1500 km in one week and going as fast as possible to Sydney then that’s two goals. If there would be only one than I could adjust the sails and maybe even use the obstacles in my favour. I made a mistake there, a good one to learn from. And maybe thatswhy I did make the second goal because it had deep intrinsic value.
Believe it or not but despite the fact I cycled through Australia like a mad man I’ve met great people who helped me out along the way. They gave me food, a bed and a shower. It’s all about the energy they give and not about the km’s I make. I know that and grateful I am.
Now I am in Chile. Writing, working, and resting. There are some good ideas and people who want to cycle with me in this intimidadingly beautiful continent. I might stick around for a while go easy on the km’s and let life decide what will be the next move.