Don't seek the water; get thirst.
Over the past year, several of my friends have questioned me on my age. They are, I suspect, trying to figure out if I have indeed entered into my "midlife crisis". I can always tell when the question is on the horizon. Being a woman, and having mostly male friends, they try to be so delicate about the matter. It's as if they think, by asking my age, I will turn into a fire breathing dragon. I actually have no issue with my age and will happily tell anyone what it is if they ask. After all, it's just a number. When I suspect someone is fishing for it, my blanket response is "Yes, I'm going through midlife crisis and I plan on staying there for at least twenty years...or more."
I suspect my friends are sensing the travel/adventure bug has not only bit me, but has burrowed deeply in. I hate the term "bucket list", however, I must admit that I have several. My husband and I keep adding to our hiking, cultural and cycling lists. Faster, sad to say, then we can check trips off. We are in a conundrum. Do we keep adding to the lists or keep them "as is" until we start traveling more? A question perhaps for another day. Since this blog is about cycling, I won't bore you with our hiking or cultural lists...just the cycling one.
I began dreaming about bike touring about fifteen years ago--more if you count pretending to be an explorer on my big wheel. My first tour was done solo. I biked up to Minneapolis from Madison and was hooked instantly. I fell in love with the freedom this type of travel brought. I had hours to let my mind wander as the beauty of the driftless zone brought me into a meditative state. It was from that point on that I started planning where I wanted to go next by two wheels. There is a saying by Anatole Broyard that sums it up:
Travel is like adultery: one is always tempted to be unfaithful to one's own country. To have imagination is inevitably to be dissatisfied with where you live...in our wanderlust, we are lovers looking for consummation.
With the big 40 looming in the near future, my husband has been kind enough to promise one of the trips on my list. It may seem mundane to some, but I got hooked on the idea of biking around lake Superior. I'm drawn to the fact it has a distinct beginning and end, and that we would be exploring more of the land that I grew up on. We are guessing the whole shebang will take about three weeks--if we don't get run over by logging trucks up near Thunder Bay. I look forward to falling into a daily routine of eating, biking, eating, sleeping with my husband. Simplicity is something I've been yearning for awhile.
Other bike trips that have made the "short list" are:
Circumnavigating the Pyrenees in France and Spain, the Dolomites, circling the South island of New Zealand (something we were on the brink of but we bought our house instead), hitting the gravel on the Dempster Highway, riding the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, exploring the Massif Central in France (full of old volcanoes and the least populated region of France), riding up to the Winnipeg Folk Festival from Madison (if it was great driving up there, it could only be better by bike) and finally riding down the coast from Seattle to San Fransisco. There are more of course, but this should keep us busy for awhile.
When I think about my age and where I am mentally, I am just so satisfied to know I am still a child a heart wanting to explore and learn. As long as that zeal for life doesn't dissipate, I could care less what number of candles is on my birthday cake. I honestly believe that riding has a big part in keeping me young. As my husband and I work through this list, I guarantee more places will be added. And if we don't make them all, part of the fun is just dreaming.