Right Where We Are
Embarking on this journey to cycle to Japan with Brandon from our home in Calgary, over four months ago, I truly did not know what to expect. We were leaving everything behind, setting no hard deadlines for ourselves, traveling through new places and planning to take each day as it came. One thing I knew for certain was that I left with a deep yearning to learn new ideas and concepts, to experience moments of complete bliss, to meet and connect with incredible individuals, but also to unlearn old habits, struggle through the unknown, and to develop a strong sense of connection and understanding within myself.
I can tell you one thing, if you want to do all that and more... ride your bicycle day after day, kilometre after kilometre, through new regions and countries, encountering endless new faces, through all types of weather, and way beyond your ass being sore. These four months and the experiences that have followed have allowed me the space and energy to grow, understand and experience life with a new set of eyes.
I have continually been inspired by the remarkable people we have met, experienced culture shock while also gaining the highest appreciation for others, struggled through physical pain and some heavy mental battles, developed a deeper connection and practice with meditation and mindfulness, learnt a hell of a lot about the places we have seen, been reminded of the power of perspective, and ultimately have fallen more in love with life with each day.
I knew traveling from Calgary to Alaska, on to Russia, Mongolia, China and Japan all by bicycle would stretch me far beyond my comfort zone. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership, but never thought I would sell nearly all of my belongings to live full-time in a tent with my boyfriend. I love to travel and learn of other cultures, but did not think I would be jetting off to the far east of Russia as my next travel destination. I love to bike and commuted in Calgary daily, but I had never even done an overnight bike trip before diving head first and fully immersing myself in a life of long term bike travel. However, all that said, I know that my desire to learn, expand my awareness, personally grow and take on challenges that surpass far beyond what I thought was possible runs deeper then the need to be comfortable.
There have been times on this trip where I have felt completely drained, questioning my capabilities and at times asking myself what I'm even doing. However, through each of these experiences, there have been greater outcomes and lessons to learn. Accepting all things as they come, keeping an open mind, dropping expectations of how things 'should be', taping into a higher sense of mindfulness and coming from a mindset of growth instead of looking at situations as having a fixed outcome, I've allowed my desires to flourish and expand myself fully take shape.
Each day Brandon and I wake up is a new and exciting day stepping into the unknown. I never truly know what each new sunrise will bring with every place we visit, each new face, each hill we climb, and the unique landscapes we ride into, but I can say that with every passing moment, this journey has left me with an immense feeling of joy and gratitude for what has come into being and an unreal excitement for all that lies ahead. By opening myself up completely to growth, learning and living more presently, I have never felt more at peace knowing this is exactly where I, along with my partner Brandon, are meant to be in this moment.