All of us make sacrifices for the lives we choose to live.
My long ride from Canada to Guatemala has been chapter after chapter of sacrifices. Sacrifices I willingly made so I could reap the rewards…
Before, during and after the ride many people have commented to me both publicly and privately that it would be their dream life to be able to go away and not worry about things.
My answer was invariably: “you’re married right?”
Simply put, the long riding lifestyle suits the single man or woman. If you’re married you make all kinds of sacrifices daily for your partner and family. And those sacrifices are returned to you in some way. Expectations are high – you can’t just “screw off” for a year long ride and not expect serious repercussions.
When you’re single, you can. But on the flip side, when it’s over, you’re all alone…
I knew if I didn’t take off and do the journey when I did -being single and renting- that it would never happen. So I committed to it, and made the sacrifices. I was renting for 2 years before leaving, and as the time got close I started getting rid of things. I sold stuff, gave away stuff, thru out stuff and burned stuff. I now have about 6 boxes of stuff back in Canada. That’s my life belongings on top of my gear from the trip, and another bag that got sent down this fall. I’m a minimalist so this doesn’t bug that much – most of the time.
Another big hit, is if you have a sweet job, chances are you won’t have it when you get back. Employers hate unloyal, “flaky” workers. You set a bad example. So to commit to this kind of lifestyle you are going to lose out on a LOT of nice employment opportunities….
Sacrifices come in other ways as well. The “average” person doesn’t take off.
When someone else leaves for a long time they can react in all kinds of judgemental ways.
From beginning to end, the casting of judgement against my motives and reasons for travelling by horse has been heavy and constant. It’s second nature now to hear it. It’s funny but when I told people here in Guatemala that I was going back on another ride many of them reacted the same way as many people back in Canada did before the first ride. Doubt, anger, and jealousy. That I’m bat shit crazy. That I’m someone not worth taking seriously. I mean, real adults don’t do things like this right? Right?…You get thick skin from all this and take it in stride. It’s just part of the whole thing….
I’m writing this today for you, to let you know about the mindset you are going to need to face the challenges -all of them.
I wish you the best should you choose to go on your own extreme expedition/ adventure.
It won’t be easy, but it will be so worth it. All throughout your journey, you will be blessed by the generosity of complete strangers who spontaneously help you for no reason…these people will be your lifeline and support team. Through what you see, and what you experience along the way, you will be changed forever. You’ll be happier for it.