A Little Reflection from My Bike Tours

I feel my blog posts are just bicycling logs. They don't tell the reader about my feelings too much. They simply serve as memory placeholders that mark a place and time on my trips. I will try to do better on my next travel blog to include more of my feelings even though it takes more effort and time to write down how I feel in addition to what I did. This post is more about my thoughts on cycling long distances and about life.

"What is the meaning of life?" I'm sure you have thought about this question at least once in your life. I had given much thought to this question when I was in my twenties. The short answer is "To live a life of meaning." (I stole that line somewhere.) The long answer is that the meaning of life depends on the person, the time, and the place. And it changes throughout one's life. To me, at this moment in my life, I want to experience life by traveling the world. The best way to do that is by bicycling. At about 10 miles per hour, this is the perfect speed to see the world.

How would I afford to cycle the world? It wasn't until the past few years that I wanted to focus on my financial goals so that I don't have to worry about money and do whatever I want in life, including cycling indefinitely. After I read a book called The Man Who Quit Money I realized that one can live completely fine without money. The dependency of money is a mindset and is a result of our choices in life. I realized that if I cut my expenses down I won't need to make a lot of money. A mortgaged house, a leased car, and other life decisions are the biggest factors that contribute to one's expenses. The American society instilled on its citizens that if you don't have these things then somehow you didn't make it successfully in adulthood. To me, those debts are just more shackles to keep working at a job.

During the C&O trip, my riding partner Crispin said something profound to me. He said, "We are renting a space in time." This body of mine, I'm renting. The space that I occupy is not mine. Even the things I bought, they won't last forever. When I die I can take nothing with me. Yet people still say that buying is better than renting. And we compare ourselves to those business people who has the largest net worth, the biggest houses, the fanciest cars, the most followers, the most famous blah-blah-blah. The comparison goes on and on. I decided the person I should compare to is myself. Am I better than I was a year ago or a month before? Did I grow? Did I learn? If the answer is no for a long time then I know I need to change.

I also realized that having less makes me happy the most because my mind is free. I want fewer relationships with things and more relationships with people. I thought about being a Buddhist monk when I was a teenager. After college, I thought about it again and realized that I'm not qualified to live a monk life because I would have to copy scriptures and memorize chants. But the simple living and the minimalistic aspects of a monk's life are attractive to me to this day. On a bicycle, with all the items I need, is like being a traveling monk without the scriptures and the chants. I can have a simple lifestyle and minimal belongings with the added advantage of being in a different place every single day. A monk and a cyclist have many commonalities. Thus, I would view myself as a cycling monk if I were to cycle around the world.

In this day and age, we are more connected virtually, but not in real life. Some dude on a computer keyboard probably would not type the idiotic comments if he was conversing with the other person directly in person. We lost a bit of kindness when we are facing a machine rather than a real person. On my world tour I want to capture what people say directly. I think there are a lot of sparks of insights coming from even the most mundane person.

To conclude this post, I posted my first video on YouTube. It's a bit of rant from Crispin on Capitalism and life.