Monthly Archives: March 2014

Adventure, and, ode to the partner left behind

There’s an old, handwritten quote on my refrigerator. I put it there years ago, and there it still sits–as pertinent today as ever:

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Home, man feels once more happy.”

-Sir Richard Burton, Zanzibar

He continues:

“Excitement lends unwonted vigour to the muscles, and the sudden sense of freedom adds a cubit to the mental stature. Afresh dawns the morn of life; again the bright world is beautiful to the eye, and the glorious face of nature gladdens the soul.”

I think of this quote every time I scheme adventure, every time I yearn for adventure, every time I actually set forth. With tomorrow’s super-early departure looming large,  I definitely feel that sense of freedom, the fresh dawn of life, the expansion of the soul. With every loose end that I tie up, I feel one more trapping of habit slipping away–at least for the next three weeks, when I will replace it with the habits of travel.

And yet, home is not a Slavery. I do escape from it often–I’m sure James and many of you think way too often–but it’s not a Slavery.

These little adventures of mine are how I make life so sparkly. These forays into spontaneity, into nature, into exploration, into the unknown, give everything a lasting glow. The light from the bright world of adventure dazzles everything about life; home is precious because I have the choice, and I choose to come back.

I am so, so thankful to have people in my life who put up with my particular kind of crazy, who realize that this constant need to leave and return makes me who I am, that the fact that I can adventure is what truly makes my soul happy.

The last few days, I’ve been so giddy. So happy, in fact, that I almost wonder why I’m leaving. But it’s exactly because I’m leaving that I’ve been so excited. It’s because I’m about to embark into the unknown that I’ve been so happy with what I have here. And three weeks from now, having tasted deeply of adventure, I will come back to my home, my love, my rock–full.

I may be crazy. But I don’t know how else to be.

And I’m so fricken psyched about life right now.

So I’m off. I won’t have internet access and I don’t much plan to use my phone, but enjoy the Portland spring for me and I’ll catch you all in a few weeks:)

Sometimes little brothers are the best:)

Okay, chalk this up to a proud-big-sister kind of post.

My bitty brother Alex is a professional climber. Which is pretty cool in its own right, but not exactly why I’m proud.

Perhaps you recall that last summer Alex and his friend Cedar Wright biked to and then climbed all the 14,000-foot peaks in California, and I got to tag along on my own bike for the last few peaks of their adventure. Especially since climbing is often such a car-centric sport–drive with all your gear to wherever far-flung place you want to climb and then do your thing–I was super psyched that they were opting to travel via bike. (And even more psyched to be able to meet up with them:)

They weren’t always so excited about it. After their adventure, Cedar made a video about their experience called Sufferfest–which should tell you something about how awesome they felt about biking and climbing exclusively for three weeks. Though if you read the article they co-wrote for Climbing Magazine, they admit that it wasn’t all bad. I even make a cameo appearance in that article as the ridiculously exuberant “unfamous but equally badass female hippy Honnold who doesn’t own a car and is a vegetarian philanthropist.” heh.

So that adventure and its carfreeness was pretty rad of them.

to the mountains!(that’s right, I’m recycling this picture from my initial post about them:)

But the best part is that eight months later now, the two of them are on another bike adventure, this time combining biking and climbing with work installing solar panels in Arizona.

Grist has an article about it here, but the basic idea is that the two of them will bike through Utah climbing all sorts of rad towers in the desert, then end up in Navajo land to help install solar power on 30 homes and 5 schools. I love not only that my bitty bro is biking to do all this stuff–again eschewing the car, although they won’t be totally self-supported this time–but also that he’s using his adventure as a venue to do right by the world.

As a relatively well-known athlete, it’s rad that Alex can use his much-larger-than-mine voice as well as shit-tons of his own money and effort for making the world a better place. (Check out more of his work at the Honnold Foundation!:)

So I’m a proud big sister.

And in another funny feat of planning (how do we always do this?), Alex and I concurrently designed almost exactly the same adventures for ourselves. That bike adventure I’ve been talking about? Going to Utah? Alex and Cedar are biking almost exactly where I plan to be–in part because it doesn’t seem like there are really that many roads in SW Utah, but also because it turns out the places I want to see are also the places they want to climb. They’re already out–they started on Friday–but hopefully I’ll catch up to them somewhere around Canyonlands. Or who knows where. But I’m psyched for the potential of more family adventure–which, I discovered last time, is the most wholesome of all adventures:)

Daylight Savings Magic

It’s like magic: we move the arbitrary clock hands one hour ahead, and suddenly I can see the other people who bike through Washington Park at the same time as me in the evenings. I recognize these people only by their blinky headlights and the way their voices sound when they say “hello” in the dark; now that I have all these other visual cues–smile, colorful clothes, type of bike, way of waggling the fingers in salute–I have no idea who I’m seeing. With the brash and beautiful tumble into spring, I get to re-learn a whole new set of commute buddies.

I know that right now it’s only a matter of rearranging when daylight happens, but every new day it’s perceptibly brighter, a little more enticing to stay out.

Daylight savings: a whole new perspective on the people I share a commute with, and officially the season of taking the looooooong way home. I’m psyched:)

A bike adventure question for you

Those of you who are perceptive may have noticed a while ago that I mentioned an upcoming bike trip in Utah. It’s true! Come the end of this month, I’ll be flying down to Grand Junction, CO then embarking on three weeks through Utah: Arches, Moab, Canyonlands… there may even be some family bike adventure in there too! (Stay tuned for if I manage to meet up with my bitty bro, since we both independently planned Utah trips for almost exactly the same time frame:)

I’m beyond psyched. Like way beyond psyched. Like get-giddy-and-smiley, giant-goofy-grin-when-I-think-about-it psyched. My living room has spent a lot of time with this sort of thing:

utah trip planning

…as I try not only to figure out where I want to go and what’s feasible but also (Edward Abbey, I’m looking at you) what kind of flora and fauna I’m going to see, what new things are out there to learn in this crazy desert landscape.

So excited. So beyond excited.

Here’s my question, though. Since I’m flying down, I’m going to send my bike ahead of me to The Bike Shop in Grand Junction. How does that work with bags? Basically I’ve got my two panniers and then another bag that I’ll put on top of my rack–one bag, you might notice, over the allotted carry-on bag limit for a plane. I don’t really want to check my panniers, so I suppose I can carry those on and check the supplemental bag, but I’m wondering if any of you have any thoughts about this.

Has anyone ever shipped a bike ahead? What did you do with your gear? Any thoughts about best practices? It seems hard to really fit gear and bags into a box with my bike. Should I? Or is it better to take them on the plane?

Gosh. I’m so excited that even logistics stuff like this gets me all giddy. heh. But yeah, hit me up with any suggestions or thoughts. I’m planning to send my bike on the 18th or 19th, so if you have any burning thoughts, the sooner the better:)