Adventure Calls to My Soul
“Deep down inside me a tiny voice was calling. At first scarcely audible, it persisted until I could no longer ignore it. It was the voice of the wild places, and I knew that it was now part of me forever.” ― Percy Fawcett, source Goodreads
It's been so long since my last actual attempt at adventure. 2018! The plan was cycling Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Rd. The result was a bail at Port Campbell, nothing left in the tank after a week of relentless, coastal undulations into headwinds and awful traffic. 5 years! Intervening since then, the death of both my parents, within a month of each other, in unrelated circumstances, then covid lockdown and a heart attack.
The latter clipped my wings. Yikes!
Then, last year, I hatched a plot for a pilot adventure "series", Wacky Weekend Adventures. Walking, cycling, paddling, sailing - all with the aim of finding adventure locally. Then mum in-law got ill, and there were many responsibilities including looking after the cat while Linda looked after her mum. The weather ran out and has bee crap, since. All excuses, but valid, so I'm excused, OK. I won't wear judgement.
But I'm pining. As Monty Python put it, I'm "pining for the fjords." Amusing myself with workshop projects and guitar. Spending time with friends. Life is good. Yet I still miss the great outdoors, the road ahead.
And it is harder now.
I used to be a 100km a day rider. Slow, but steady. I had a "day job" approach to it - ride 2 hours, eat, ride 2 more, eat, ride 2 more, make camp. Now, if the conditions are perfect, the same approach might net me 60km. The training needed before starting is more, and less effective with that. What to do.
Bite the bullet? Knuckle under and work harder? Did I mention "clipped wings"? I mentioned "clipped wings," ok. I'm not being pissweak. This. Is. Hard.
Anyway, one of the workshops is a "campervan" on a cargobike. My 30kg Zeitbikes SWB, "Thunderbird 2" is getting an A-frame, fould-out bivy box for the load deck. Projects like this exist so that people with nothing to prove can prove they've nothing to prove. It's one part off-ground camping, one part a bicycle version of a roofrack bedbox on a car and one part bike security. Try steeling a bike the rider is actually sleeping on. I'm hopeful that might give me a push to get out as far as I can. So what of they are shorter days?
November 20, 2020, was no small heart attack. It was, in the words of my MICA paramedic, "a widowmaker." An NSTEMI that got me rushed straight past the queues at admission, straight into "cathlab." On a really busy night! I remember being wheeled into the prep room, I remember nothing else until waking up to see the tool they'd just stented me with, being withdrawn from my heart on the 49" x-ray screen. I'm not making excuses, I'm actually seriously trying to recover as much of my pre-covid life as possible.
The rehab head nurse was full of praise for my enthusiasm and workrate. I walk more now than when I was a teen in Launceston, Tasmania, in the 70s. But I'm also prone to hypothermia, even on mild days. I get more joint inflamation than even just before my diabetes was first diagnosed in 2005. And my diabetes is well managed thankyou. I'm still trying to get in shape and get out there. I just have to be sure I'm not going to need an ambulance when out of mobile range. I have people I care about and who care about me. I have projects I want to finish. Maybe one of my daughters might grace me with a grandchild. (No pressure, my darlings, your choices, your lives! Love you regardless!)
So, for now, adventures are urban. Adventures are intellectual. For now, I'll keep working on the possibilities. I'll keep both boot and tyre rubber down, spirits up and eyes forward. And keep breathing.