Escaping "it all"
Starved of a physical challenge, and struggling to imagine any exploration that could take place on my limited route, I decided the answer was to take more stuff. I was going to trial a plan that has been in the dream box for a while, move house by bike.
I made a list of my requirements, made a list of the stuff that would meet them, then crossed lots of things off until it was borderline, but possible to carry everything.
Items were assigned locations, then I realised this was a daft approach, so just started stuffing and strapping. I may have been a bit premature doing doing this in excitement first thing in the morning, and kept having to rummage through my essential items as I killed minutes until dusk.
I had consciously not left the house for exercise all day, so used my quota taking a spin round the block to test the loaded handling. I am forever amazed by this bike. Obviously gravity was pulling harder, but it had gears to cope, and the bike was stable as you like with my life aboard.
My imagination ran away from me as a future self pottered between campsites across the UK. I'd do a couple of shifts of deliveroo each weekend, or dare to dream, earn book royalties, my to cover my minimal outgoings and would be free. Free to roam the land. Free from the rat race. Free to live my life.
All too soon I was back in reality, alone in my back garden. The grass is slopey so I made do with the patio, luckily the tent I picked up in a charity shop is freestanding. Setting up camp was a relatively faffy affair due to having so much stuff, but I was in no rush, time is the great luxury of lockdown, and I quite like it.
Contrary to the evidence, I do not deliberately create problems in order to tell better stories about them. So, when the tug of quilt with my dual ended dry bag climaxed in a cloud of feathers, I was not amused. However, it is very hard to strop when there are feathers everywhere, so I soon laughed at my own stupidity and got to work with the gaffer tape.
For dinner I heated up some homemade lentil soup to finally use up that almost empty gas canister. My zero weight windshield also functioned as an effective hand warmer as I huddled over the growling flame. I had a perfectly functional kitchen less than social distancing limits away from me, but somehow this was better.
Being in a position where food is a limiting factor, I have started practising mindful eating. I wholeheartedly recommend you give it a go! Mindfulness is being aware of all of your senses, and leads to improved gratitude of what you've got. I begin in my head by imagining how it will taste from the smell and sight of it. Then I take a spoon, close my eyes and savour the warmth. My tongue explores the gift I have bestowed upon it, different zones register flavours in their own way. The start process is now inverted as the tip of my tongue reverse engineers it back into an image in my mind. This blatant disregard for time would seem foolish in another world, but is so right in this one.
I did have one appointment to make this evening. At 8:30 it was Earth hour. Across the world people were switching off their lights and electronics for the environment, to appreciate the luxuries we take for granted, to get a clear night sky. My slow motion life was now paused. This got me pondering. I reflected on decisions and events, I considered the other end and what I really needed to be content. Having nothing in front of me for that hour was so valuable, I silently promised myself to do it every Sunday of the lockdown.
I amused myself with that buzz word adventure, and how borderline this trip was. Then I thought more deeply about what adventure meant to me. Doing something I would not ordinarily do, looking at my world through an alternative lens. This was it. I am fortunate to go on so many adventures to the wilderness of Wales that my back garden with loads of stuff was adventurous.
I drifted off the the sound of trees swirling in the wind, and total lack of road noise. This was more than alright. That statement usually reserved for brutal hills, or damp ditches rung true once more "there is nowhere in the world I would rather be right now, than right here doing this."