When A Beautiful Night Just Isn’t Enough

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

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Just seventy-five kilometers from my front door, I found one of the best camping spots I have ever had. It was a much need reminder that I don’t have to go half-way around the world to pitch my tent, and that there is still plenty to explore in my own backyard.

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Ironically enough though, after such an amazing night, I decided that I was done. For perhaps the first time ever, I decided that I would rather be home than cycle touring, and so I turned around and cut my five day weekend cycling trip short. It wasn’t because I don’t enjoy the camping or the cycling anymore, because I do, it was because I realized that escaping on weekend trips every now and again isn’t changing our daily reality. One of the best parts about our long tour was that it was our reality. We weren’t counting down the days until the next weekend, because we enjoyed (not always in the moment, but at least in retrospect) what we were doing every minute of the day, and there was never anywhere else I felt that I would have rather been. Now though, there always seems to be somewhere else I would rather be. While I am at work I would rather be cycling, yet while I am cycling I would rather be back home.

So I headed back home and spent the weekend cooking (one of my new hobbies now that we have a kitchen) and then joined Kevin on a small kayaking-crabbing adventure just outside our town on his day off.

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Though there are moments of fun and happiness, both of us are frustrated with our lives here in Astoria for a few reasons. For starters, we are extremely busy (especially Kevin as he works a lot) so really all we do is work, eat, sleep. Every single day. That’s all we do. Everyday is so predictable, and the weeks fly by not because we are having so much fun, but because they are all the same. It’s not that every moment itself is miserable; I actually really enjoy my job in the special needs classroom (at the k-2 elementary school), but simply working, cooking, and sleeping isn’t enough to make me feel fulfilled anymore. I feel as if something is missing now that I have no outlet for my passions, now that I am no longer doing any of the things that I love on a daily basis, but rather on the occasional weekend. It is hard to go from so much freedom and free time to absolutely none of either of these things, and though we both realize that jumping back on the bikes for an endless tour isn’t the solution, we also know that we need to make some life changes in the near future in order to find a balance between all of the things we love and create the sort of life we actually want to live.

For a photo of the day and other updates follow me on facebook here, and for some awkwardly cropped photos from our journey, follow us on Instagram @awanderingphoto!

11 thoughts on “When A Beautiful Night Just Isn’t Enough

  1. It’s really amazing how quickly perspective shifts like this. I’ve had the same experience. Thanks for sharing yours and I look forward to hearing how you manage to find balance again. I find that the easiest way to get those experiences back is to make a point to put aside focus often to make sure new fun things are happening often, however small. It’s annoying how easy it is to get lost in the daily grind!

  2. Hi Shirine!

    I have been following your trip for a long time and we almost crossed in Argentina, except that we didn’t make it to Patagonia.
    We’ve been back home since February so I know exactly what you are talking about. But don’t worry, things will get better gradually and you will, for sure, find other projects that you’ll be passionate about. Good luck!
    Sara

  3. This post was great, and really resonated with me!

    I’ve just finished my own trip from England to Georgia, and am back home over winter. Part of me is enjoying the stability of life at home, but I’m sure this is only because I know it is only temporary, and in April I will be back on my bike! Without this knowledge, and excitement to look forward to, I would feel very ‘stuck in a rut’ with my life, and the money I take home each paycheck would feel insignificant compared to the amount of time I am sacrificing!

    As you mentioned, it is a great thing to still have these outlets!

    Josiah
    – josiahskeats.com

  4. Hey Shirine,
    Having just arrived home from nearly nine months on the road (from a trip we cut short) I really hear everything you say. It’s only day 2 back in the UK for us, but it’s weird how much the trip already feels like a dream and how hard it is for me to figure out what to do next. I’m desperate not to give up all my time to work, but balancing all that ‘normal life’ stuff is stressful for me. I really hope you guys can figure out a next step that works for you both and fulfils all those needs. I hope we can too. Keep writing and keep smiling!

  5. I love how tuned you are into following your joy. You might find some insights in the videos I’ve “liked” on my youtube channel. Maybe you can scroll back through them and find something synchronistically. Like the key to the next moment. A way at looking what’s happening to you and why. Thanks for sharing your heart-felt thoughts.

  6. Bonjour Shirine,
    Je te félicite de partager ouvertement tes sentiments, tes craintes et tes préoccupations.

    Effectivement, ce n’est pas facile de remettre les pieds sur terre après un si long parcours où tu découvrais de nouveaux horizons et de nouvelles personnes à chaque matin que tu te réveillais. C’est d’autant plus difficile lorsque nous devons réapprendre à vivre dans un environnement où il n’y a que l’argent, le travail et la consommation qui soient valorisés.
    À mon humble expérience, il n’y a qu’une façon de vivre pleinement sa vie: LA VIVRE PASSIONNÉMENT!
    Voyager, c’est fantastique mais ce n’est qu’une fuite de la réalité si ça ne nous permet pas de s’accomplir! Je te souhaite d’identifier La Mission qui te passionnera, qui t’amènera à t’épanouir, à partager avec les autres. Une mission qui te fera voyager et qui apportera du réconfort à ton entourage. Une mission qui te donnera le goût de te lever chaque matin! Un mission qui te passionnera tellement que tu trouveras la vie trop courte pour la mener à terme! Une mission où tu auras le sentiment de faire La Différence!
    Tu es une fille hors du commun (c’est pas la première fois que je le dis 😉 et tu as accumulé un bagage d’expériences et de connaissances que peu de gens détienne. Je souhaite que tu arrivere à les mettre en pratique au quotidien. C’est pas facile! Cet accomplissement fera de toi une femme comblée, rayonnante et heureuse dans la vie.
    Tu t’es sans aucun doute déjà prêté à cet exercice mais reviens à l’essentiel et poses toi de simples questions:
    – Dans quelles situations suis-je la plus heureuse?
    – Dans quel environnement je me sens la plus à l’aise?
    – Avec quels genres de personnes je me sens le plus en confiance?
    – Quels sont les activités qui me rendent le plus satisfaite?
    – Dans un monde sans contraintes, qu’est-ce que je souhaiterais faire de ma vie?
    – Quelles sont mes forces et faiblesses?
    – À quels moments me suis-je sentie la plus fier de moi?
    – Qu’est-ce que j’aimerais devenir dans 5 ans? Qu’est-ce qui m’empêche d’y arriver?

    Bravo Shirine et continue de nous partager tes réflexions sur ce Blog. Tu es devenu une copine importante à nos yeux!

  7. Though I have not gone on a long cycle tour (yet), I can relate to the “there’s always someplace I’d rather be” sentiment. I’ve gone on extended trips and missed home, but when I go for a period without going anywhere I get restless and want to go on a grand adventure again. I do long for a simpler life sometimes—one that only requires me to eat, ride, sleep, and enjoy my surroundings, but I also love my home, my husband, my job, and my life here. The more I ride my bike, the more I want to ride my bike for longer periods of time in far-flung reaches of the world, but right now the timing isn’t right for that. I’m working towards making that happen in the future, and for now, I just try to go out and have as many little microadventures as I can to satisfy my need for adventure and exploration. I look forward to reading about your progress towards finding a balance. Keep working at it, you’ll figure it out. 🙂

  8. I work in an elementary school, socking away money because my goal is to take a year off every 5-7 years and travel. A lot of my friends took jobs where they work 50 hours a week so I’m just glad to have lots of vacation time to work with! The days really do fly by though and it’s definitely conflicting.

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