“It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.”
When people ask us what the hardest part of cycling around the world was, it seems they expect us to tell a story about some great hardship suffered underway. Troubles with people. Getting lost. Poor food. But our answer is simply this: the hardest part was making the decision to go.
Once out of the driveway, the rest was, frankly, relatively straightforward. The issues we encountered en route were usually easily solved, or at least seemed to matter a lot less than they did when we were sitting at home and imagining all the worst-case scenarios that could or might happen.
Now, six years on from the end of our world tour, our days of cycling the world for months on end are behind us (at least for now). We focus instead on weekend and summer trips. But the ‘trouble’ with bike touring remains, surprisingly, the same.
Getting out the door — actually making the decision to go cycling for a weekend — is difficult when you’re also trying to balance the demands of kids, full-time jobs, a full social calendar and (in our case) a new house that still needs painting and fixing up. Not to mention Baby #2 due in about 6 weeks…
This weekend however, when stress levels hit the roof, we made a snap decision to go. On Friday afternoon we hastily threw gear into panniers and headed out for our secret getaway — a tranquil forest campground just 1/2 hour by bike from our home. The following 24 hours were glorious.
Within minutes of pedalling away from our home, we stopped worrying. We didn’t think about the messy house or the pressures of the office or the million and one things that needed to be done (aren’t there always more things on the to-do list than you ever have time for?) — instead, we focused on campfires and marshmallows and the simple joy of sleeping in the tent.
“It’s so quiet. I love camping!” said Luke, over and over. Why, we asked ourselves, don’t we do this more often?
Our brief getaway wasn’t extravagant or adventurous by most people’s measure. We cycled about 15km in total and spent just €20 including camping fees, coffees and cake. It was, however, rich in more important ways. When we returned home, just 18 hours later, we were full of energy and high spirited. Stress levels had plummeted, from approximately +1,000 at Friday lunchtime to -1,000,000 on Saturday afternoon.
We admit that doing more such trips won’t be easy over the course of the summer, since we’ll soon have to fit a newborn baby into the equation. But this trip was a good reminder that we just need to go. Even when it seems impossible, just go. Once out the door the rest is easy and the return you get on an investment of just a few hours away from it all and together as a family is immeasurable.