Think I’m brave? I’m not. The animals are going to eat me.
I love living life outdoors. Cycling during the day and wild camping at night; exploring new lands, acquainting myself with new cultures and choosing the most amazing scenes of nature, as a backdrop to my small solo tent.
But wild camping in foreign lands is also a scary experience for me. Snuggling into my sleeping bag at night, I enjoy thinking about the days experiences with wonder of what will come tomorrow. Then I hear a noise outside my tent and my serenity is gone, replaced instead with a soaring heart rate preparing my body for fight or flight.
Most nights I lie awake, concerned the sounds outside my tent are from animals which will surely eat me during the night. In these possible last moments of life each night, I think of the years I’ve lived, the mistakes I’ve made, the people I’ve loved and the ones I’ve lost.
While cycling around Bosnia and Herzegovina, I meet a couple, Pablo and Ilze, who are cycling around the world also. They are heading in the same direction as me, towards Turkey, so we continue together for some miles.
Until this point, I’ve always cycled the world on my own, so I’ve no idea how it will be cycling with company.
On our first night of wild camping together, we pitch our tents in a valley of the Herzegovina hills, which is home to wolves.
I am exhausted from the days cycling and I fall asleep quickly, but am awakened with my tent shaking.
MY GOD!!! THE ANIMAL OUT THERE MUST BE SO BLEEPING HUGE TO BE SHAKING THE TENT LIKE THIS!
Survival instinct kicks in and I immediately become as small as I can in the middle of my tent. That animal out there could very well bite a chunk off me by sinking its teeth through my tent walls!
“HEY! HEY! HEY!”, I shout out, managing to retain a voice of 30% ‘I’m not letting on I’m scared’ and 70% of ‘I’m absolutely petrified’.
In the next second I’m screaming, unable to control myself any longer, “SOMETHINGS SHAKING MY TENT!”,
Ilza calls out, “Pablo’s coming over to check”.
I hear Pablo’s footsteps towards my tent and see his flash-light and his voice eassures me that there is nothing there.
I feel a high level of embarrassment as he explains it was probably a rabbit touching the bottom of the tents ropes.
And that was that.
Nothing was there.
If I had been on my own I would have spent the rest of the night awake, curled up into a small ball, making sure not to touch the sides of the tent because the animal was going to eat me.
I remained fearless that night. Even listening to the howls of the wolves does not disturb me as I drift off to sleep. Unafraid because we have a man and he has a torch!
That was the moment I realised one of the biggest differences between adventure cycling on your own and cycling with other people. On your own you have absolute freedom with very little compromise. Whereas compromise is a substantial component of cycling with others but in return, you do have a much greater feeling of security.
I hope time will work it’s magic and the cumulative effect of positive wild camping experiences in foreign lands will disperse my irrational fears. Just now I’m not brave. But fear only gets in the way of our dreams if we allow it too. We can still suceed at our dreams and live the life we want with fear. We just need to keep breathing and moving forward.
I’m not brave. The animals are going to eat me.
As always, thanks for visiting worldbikegirl.com and being a part of the journey. WBG xxx