“Adventure is a state of mind. It is an attitude. I wanted an adventure, a journey, a challenge, not a holiday. By doing no research every day would be novel, unexpected and exciting. Every day I would need to seek out food and water, somewhere to sleep.”
After people have talked with me for a bit about my trip they always ask if I have my nightly destinations planned out ahead of time. I definitely don’t for a few reasons. By having a specific place to be you take away the spontaneity of the trip and don’t allow for opportunities that present themselves, opportunities that you could never predict. I also have no idea how many miles a day I will feel like doing ahead of time, or where I will want to take a rest day. Plus, I never would have stayed with all the lovely people I have met with along the way if I had some campsite always planned out. The reason I have chosen the bike is to get off the beaten tourist track and to meet people from all walks of life, and by having such a ridged schedule, you take away all of that. For most of you, the thought of not knowing where you will be sleeping that night when five pm rolls around probably scares you. Well actually, that thought has probably never even crossed your mind. For me though, that’s exactly what I am looking for.
People then inevitably ask me if there has ever been a time where I could not find somewhere to sleep. No, because everything always finds a way of working itself out. Take today for instance. I started out much later than I had planned since I got distracted talking to people (shocking I know) first at the campsite, and then at various rest stops along the way. I realized twenty miles away for Eureka that I had to make it before five in order to pick up a package waiting at the post office for me. I arrived early, with half an hour to spare… at the wrong post office. Even with my dreadful sense of direction I was able to find the right one (with a bit of help from friendly people on the street), before five, but apparently my package had gotten more lost than I and had never arrived. I spent the next hour in a cafe before realizing that it was almost seven, I was in a shady town I could in no way stay in, there were no campgrounds around, and I needed to find a place to sleep. I had heard about a safe beach about fifteen miles down the road, and I figured that was my best bet so I headed out.
Ten minutes down the road I got a flat. And this wasn’t just any flat, this was my first flat. Ever. Thankfully I changed it quite successfully, but knew my time was running out before the sun set. I turned off the highway and started down a beautiful country road towards the beach. I arrived at the end just as the sun was setting and got to enjoy that magical part of the day from a great vantage point. Not only that, I also met a gentleman who lived a few miles away and invited me to stay at his place for the night so I didn’t have to bother with setting up on the beach. He then made me a huge breakfast, and sent me on my way with homemade raisins, beef jerky, and a chunk of amazing cheese.
There is always somewhere to sleep hidden at the side of the road, on the beach, or in a friendly farmers field. And if there really wasn’t for some reason, I could always find a motel if it was an emergency. Sure, normally I have figured out where I will be sleeping hours before the sun goes down, but even when I don’t, it still works out. Everything always works out.
Amen, Shirine! One of our better experiences biking in France (no hotels planned in advance) was the day that all the hotels in our destination town were sold out due to a festival. One hotel had one room, and the owner would not give the 4 of us that room because it slept 2. Instead, she knew a fellow who leased a room, but only for a week at a time, but he would make an exception in our case. We ended up staying in a beautiful 14 century building, and all because of the kindness of strangers.
Unplanned is the best way to go!
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