I gave up everything before I began cycling around the world.
I almost gave up everything.
I was able to break the attachment to my home and I gave it up. I was able to break my attachment to the wonderful contents of this home and I gave them up too. Ladies, I even broke the attachment to my GHD straighteners, make-up and perfumes. But no matter how hard I tried or how many ‘self-talkings-to’ I gave myself, I was unable to break my party frock attachment. Such a magical mix of colours, sparkles and perfection. I do admit a few may never fit me again but even so, all are in a black bag up in my friends loft. This black bag means I cannot make the declaration that I so wanted to make;
‘I gave up everything and have only what’s on my bicycle’. How annoying.
Still. I gave up enough to qualify for the freedom I sought. I don’t have to spend my time doing anything that I don’t want to be doing. I can choose to spend every moment as I wish. I don’t have to share my time with anyone unless I want to.
Think of each day.
How much of it do you spend doing tasks that you would rather not be doing. Interacting with people whom you don’t want to be around. I don’t have any of that. I am free from acting as if. There is no need. I don’t have the house or the belongings or the capacity to have more belongings that cause me to sacrifice my time in these ways.
I certainly have made sacrifices to have such freedoms in life.
I love wild camping so I can’t say I sacrificed my house. Having magnificent snapshots of the world as I settle down for the night followed by morning coffees surrounded by beautiful worldly landscapes. One of the biggest sacrifices that this brings is having hot showers and bubble baths. Whilst you are stepping into a hot shower with fluffy towels laid out, I am standing naked in a field pouring a litre bottle of cold water over me. Even in the winter months! Whilst you are walking to the end of the hall, opening a door and switching the light on for a late night bathroom stop, I am pulling on a jumper and shoes (checking the insides of course for slugs and spiders) unzipping my tent and going out into the cold and dark. I sacrifice electricity – there are no wall plugs in my tent. There are no Sunday movies on my couch. I got no couch, TV or electricity! When it’s raining, as you leave the office you have an umbrella to run to the car and then into your home. I am outside in the rain, pitching my tent coming to terms with the fact I won’t be able to cook a hot meal that night and will only have bread for dinner. I don’t have a kitchen cupboard. I must ration the food that I carry based on cooking times and size rather than taste.
The irony is that sacrificing these things have introduced fantastic new experiences into my world that I didn’t have before. I have my morning wash in petrol station toilets. Most of which have only cold water taps. It’s an immediate ‘hitting the roof’ with excitement moment when I discover the rare jewel of a hot water tap. Followed by the frenzied ‘kit off’ that pursues. Then there’s the absolute divinity on earth of the ‘not had one in two weeks’ hot shower! Nothing I’ve ever purchased or owned has given me such pleasure. The moments I eat anything which is not pasta or bread are almost spiritual. Imagine a child on Christmas day and you capture the same joy I have on spotting an electrical power point. The marvel induced by being in a room with central heating. Throw in a heated towel rail and it’s almost too much for my mind to process.
I do giggle to myself when I think of a man trying to impress me with his mansion and cars, which would have absolutely no effect on me. But show me a hot radiator and a wall socket and I’d be swooning! Of course, I know it’s what’s on the inside of a man that counts and not his central heating or electrical capacities …
Maybe one day I’ll be able to give up that black bag of party dresses in Cathy Curley’s loft and then I can say those magical words;
‘I gave up everything and have only what’s on my bicycle’.
For now, I’ll continue cycling around the world, just as I am.