Better to be an amateur.
Better to gather knowledge like a drink from the river on a hot day, fistfuls of books and essays on life itself.
Better to equip myself with “permission to continue”.
I stand near my kitchen window in Oahu, listening to zebra doves on the telephone wires outside cooing to each other in the midmorning breeze. The mountain trade winds sweep down the Manoa valley and fill our one-bedroom apartment. I have never before been so lucky. Or so itchy. So itchy for movement, for callousing my hands against the bicycle handlebars in the heat of noon. So itchy for sweat beads carving dust lines through my face.
I’ve told myself to be patient, to wait for what I really want. I’ve been telling myself this for an extra year, bending and foraging little snippets of adventure where I can. Joachim and I cycle the island whole in two days, 150 miles. We paddle our blue surfboards into the waves of Whiteplains, adrenalized swoops and clatters of board against wave. It works, and it would all be enough. It would.
I came to Hawai’i heartbroken. Broken to feel so at home in New Zealand and to have had to leave. My consolation prize was my next adventure, to cycle tour around the world starting in Europe, staring April 2020. Blah-blah-blah COVID + plans in disarray, I met my now-fiance and have never been so happy. But I don’t drop anything once I’ve set myself to it. I’m not allowed and I’m not sure why, but I’m grateful for the stubbornness that makes a girl run an ultramarathon even when it was cancelled.
Got to cycle, got to cycle somewhere at least; Europe’s still closed and I’m itchier than ever, and in one month I’m going to cycle across the USA. The great plains I wished to never return to, I come to now on my knees begging forgiveness. When I was living in New Zealand, shrinking further and further away from the American identity, I wrote a poem called “Motherland of the Mind”. A sort of last-ditch effort to salvage some cultural pride. There are so many great things to be found everywhere. Perhaps this upcoming tour will be “Motherland of the Mind” in the flesh.
I’m continuing my experiment, to try to live an adventurous life without vengeance. Without internalizing the doubts of others, without simply trying to prove everyone wrong.
Exploration has never been about being right on the onset, it’s about seeking the prize and knowing the treasure is in the movement. Sometimes you have to go, simply to move, simply to be a breathing human in a breathing world. To start this thing with the intention to prove them wrong is not only flawed but fatal to the exploration itself. I cannot go arrogant. I have to cleanse myself first, and rid myself of vengeance.
Peace and blessings,