“Idealism, in any quantity, without an equal quantity of intentional contribution to society, is the epitome of selfishness.” Me
I never bought into the dream. From an early age, the idea of the house, the gray flannel suit, and the shiny sedan failed to capture me. It’s not that I was opposed to work, and hard work at that, it’s been more about what I get in exchange for that work. Hiding behind a fence and a TV set have always seemed like little reward for a life of hard work.
Though I have a failed to live it up to this point, I have come to begin planning and preparing for the next phase of my life — living in and out of a small motorhome, possibly in the next several years.
Last night I watched two documentaries films about working age adults living on the road. I watched the two films in a staggered fashion. I watched roughly 10 to 15 minutes of one, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of the other. At 75-minutes each, it timed out well.
In 2 1/2 hours, I toggled back and forth between, and was exposed to a couple of very different approaches to life on the road. Both seemed selfish and left a bad taste in my mouth. Processing it all after the fact, I began to wonder if my own plan to live such simple life would be indeed as selfish.
I came to no conclusion.
One film was the story of a husband, a wife and their small child. Wanting more from life, they put their large suburban house up for rent, loaded up a Class A motorhome, and went on the road to explore life‘s rich pageant.
Their adventure was funded by multiple income streams — the rental revenue from their house, as well as the earned income from the husband’s business as a filmmaker and editor. He was in the fortunate position to be able to take his business on the road. So long as they were connected to Wi-Fi, he had the ability to work.
Their travel agenda included pristine and picturesque places throughout the American west, Northwest, and even extend into Western Canada.
They cooked and ate almost exclusively organic foods, and made a point to stock up on those items as they were available. They looked like a rolling advertisement for Whole Foods, PBS, and the only thing missing was a James Taylor CD on the dashboard.
They spoke of the road less traveled, of the experience of travel for their child, and of the impact, both positive and negative, that life on the road would have on their marriage.
Despite their tight quarters, some personal ups and downs, the family appeared to live a comfortable and aesthetic life, and wanted for very little. Each sunrise filmed looked like a TV commercial for a yoga studio. They had a dog along for the ride.
It all seemed so lofty to me.
The other film focused on a small group of young people in their late teens and early 20s. They were down and out misfits — runaways who chose a life of homelessness and riding the rails over the toxic and abusive home lives they claimed to have left behind.
Their agenda was more about connecting with other kids, like themselves, and less about seeing pristine and picturesque places.
Their income came exclusively by stopping along the way and “flying signs“ — the act of standing on a street corner holding a cardboard sign and asking for assistance from passersby.
Their dietary requirements were less stringent than the family traveling in the Class A motorhome. They ate what they could get, and ate as much of it as possible when it was available, for the not knowing of when they would have the opportunity to eat again.
They drank alcohol, used drugs, and during interviews, could scarcely string a sentence together without including several curse words.
They were unkempt, looked exhausted and sick most of the time, and seemed to be taking more from society than they would ever be willing to put back into it. They too had a dog along for the ride.
It all seemed so lofty to me.
When I had completed the two documentaries, I sat up in bed trying to take it all in — processing which one I thought was the most genuine lifestyle. I questioned if my own would-be life on the road would be his lofty.
To have watched either one of these individually, without the context of the other, I’m certain I would have been more inspired by each, and less critical. It’s not that I wouldn’t have seen the negative aspects of either one. It’s just that seeing them superimposed over one another in the way that I watched them allowed me to correlate the ups and downs of each a little bit better.
I was left with more disdain for each than inspiration. When I asked myself where that disdain came from, I realized it’s because both the family and the group of young people seemed to taking more from the world than they were willing to give back. They lived me-centered lives.
Someday I will live in that small motorhome. I will continue to work, because work is what we are here for. I will probably live a me-centered life also, because most of us tend to do that. I will hope though, that I will continue, each day of my life, to reach beyond me and to give to others. Because along with work, relationships are what we’re here for, especially when those relationships are fueled more by giving than by taking.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This Week By The Numbers…
A bad week. I only rode 4 days due to illness. As I write this, I know I’m not going to ride today and maybe not again for several days. My lungs rattle when I breathe, my head is congested, my fever has come down, but is still present. My 18-month streak of riding at least 100-miles per week will probably come to an end this week.
Bikes Ridden: 4
104 miles 🙁
3,000’ climbing 🙁
15.8 mph avg 😬
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Atomic Rooster. Enjoy…!