7 Challenges of Life on the Road
With two and a half weeks on the road, I’m still getting my road legs under me. Already I’ve met wonderful people, had amazing experiences, and taken new roads through exceptional beauty.
- Setting realistic expectations. On Day One I realized that what I thought was a conservative schedule still had too much packed into it. My first official stop was with friends in Fort Frances, Ontario, over a thousand miles from home. Rather than do it in the two days I’d planned and be fatigued every day, I spread it over three. It’s healthier, safer, and much more enjoyable. And why push it? Now I’ve set a rule of no more than 3 consecutive days of riding without at least one day off the bike. And no more than three days of riding/week. Let’s see how that goes. All rules can be changed by management if there is a sound reason.
- Finding reliable and convenient Wifi. Yes—even in Canada and the US. I knew this from last year, but it’s still frustrating when a campground or accommodation advertises WiFi and the signal strength is so weak, it’s virtually useless. And you have to sit right beside the router to get anything. Even chains such as Subway don’t all have WiFi. Starbucks and McDonalds are usually a safe bet, although I’m reluctant to purchase their products.
- Challenging existing beliefs. Acknowledging that it can still be a workday, even if I’m sitting outdoors in the middle of a beautiful forest. There are so many of these and I’m catching myself holding more of these than I care to admit.
- Staying organized. I’ve got two panniers, a large tank bag, a large duffle and two dry bags. It’s not much to carry camping equipment, three-season clothing, minimal tools and technology. With careful choices, I’ve done not bad, but there are lots of bits and pieces. Using smaller logically organized storage packs has been a lifesaver. I made a rule before leaving that nothing goes into a pack loose; it has to be in something. So far I’ve done pretty well—except when I had to stash things quickly into my duffle because of an impending storm.
- Dealing with aloneness. For some reason, I’ve felt it more this time than on my six-week trial last year. Perhaps because I’ll be gone for so long this time. It’s all getting used to the rhythm of the road and I really look forward to regular visits with familiar faces along the way. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by invitations from friends. It means more than you know, and is a good lesson for me to remember.
- Finding healthy food. Most grocery stores don’t have a good selection of healthy food, especially when I’m also looking for small quantities, a minimum of preparation and no refrigeration. I know I’m selective with my food, but I’m just not putting highly processed, high salt and sugar foods into my body. When I do find a good store, it’s like nirvana.
- Maintaining focus and context amidst change. Earlier this week, as I rode out of a small town where I’d camped for the night, I realized I’d stayed in the same town for two nights last year. I didn’t remember it until I drove past the place I’d stayed. I’d come at it from a different direction and under different circumstances so everything looked different. It’s the same with work. Time passes faster than ever here as one day blends into the next. The environment in which I’m working is so different, I need to use extra diligence to stay organized and on time. Fortunately, there are lots of tools to help with this.
Slowly, I’m settling in. Am I enjoying life on the road? Absolutely! I recognize that this is an adjustment period and I have my own demons to defeat. This is where I’m meant to be and miracles and mysteries happen every day. How could I be anything but grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime?