I settle into my new writing space as the morning sun filters through the windows of the 5th wheel. Steam rises from my coffee, Suzie the dog lays quietly on the couch and I look at the space waiting for words on the Adventure Monkey blog. I have much to write but I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know if all this is Adventure Monkey material or if I should start an new blog entirely. My gaze lazily shifts out the window to the LifeTeam helicopter, my neighbor to the north. Life is certainly interesting these days that is for sure. I am starting fresh, just Suzie, me, the 5th wheel and maybe 10% of the belongings I used to have just a few short months ago. It’s exciting, scary, fresh, new and definitely uncertain. Getting to this point was tough. I crossed through some hard times. It was a season of difficult decisions, sadness, fear and nervous excitement but I have lived authentically through it all.
Creeping thoughts hijack my voice. Thoughts like, “No one cares about the shit you’re going through,” rise up but I clear them away like a hand moving through smoke from a burning cigarette. They’re still there but I don’t focus on them. I write because I have to. It is as much for me as it is for you.
An old bike
2009. I was uninspired with life and needed an outlet. Riding my bike on gravel roads of the Flint Hills became therapy for a frustrating day of any kind. I rode, sometimes even up to 20 miles at a time. I found that the farther I rode, the better I felt. The first blog post I wrote was about a 64 mile ride I did before the next week’s 90 mile ride. That was epic back then. I was riding a 20-year-old mountain bike with a rear rack that held supplies and a full size DSLR camera. I had no idea how to change a flat. My chain was coated with a jet-black mixture of dirt, gravel dust and oil of some sort. It was just as old as the frame. I just wanted to ride a bicycle. And I felt compelled to share the beauty of my experiences, so I wrote about them. Then something happened that I didn’t expect.
People started reading, people from all over the world and the site developed a following.
Adventure Monkey has always had a purpose if I realized it or not. People were beginning to “feed their monkeys” with all kinds of adventures. It was great. But while all that was happening, my world, or perhaps what I thought was my world, was unhinging. I needed change in my life. I called out to the Universe for it. I wrote about my cycling adventures, but most of my life was spent in a cube doing things I didn’t care about. I continued writing but then the hinges blew off my life and everything I thought was “me” was no longer. I lost my health, my traditional family, quit my soul-sucking job and even lost my driving privileges through it all. A divine storm ripped through my life like a tornado in a trailer park.
Coming out of the funk to live the Adventure that is life
I wrote about my trials, but my posts got farther apart and for the past couple of years I didn’t have the energy to put into Adventure Monkey. I was going through so much emotional growth that I withdrew. But the Adventure Monkey held on. Many of you still visited. Photos sold. Jerseys did too. New readers showed up that could relate with what I was going through. Adventure Monkey matured and changed through all of it.
My vehicle of choice for adventure is a bicycle and specifically a fat bike. But life, every day of it, is an adventure and I am going to write about it. I faced fears, saw my deepest depths, accepted them and began rebuilding or maybe just removing the bullshit and being the me I’ve always been.
I am now living life on my terms. Some think I’ve lost my mind, but owning a house, having debt and a ton of belongings doesn’t seem important. In fact all that stuff gets in the way of me, adventure and feeling the really amazing things life is full of. Life is an adventure and as Seth Godin says,
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
Boom, that’s what I am doing and I plan on taking you with me. I’ve gotten a comment or two from people not caring about all the other stuff, they just want cycling stuff. Cool. Thanks for the comments. I get many more comments from people who relate with the adventure of being human. I feel compelled to write about all this wonderful sh*t I have gone through and am going through. It’s not all for nothing.
I sit here, feeling like I have a direction, even if it is only as clear as opening my eyes under lake water, but I see some sort of beckoning light. I am in a place of beautiful uncertainty and I feel compelled to write about the struggles of life and the steps I have taken to overcome, in hopes that it may inspire and help others escape from an uninspired life.
My adventure of life has delved into diet plans, training, cycling, love, getting over the past, learning to forgive, being authentic even if it hurts, minimalist living, RV living and letting go of the chains we call the “American Dream.” I couldn’t have done it all without the people who have come into my life and the miles of gravel that gladly accepted the skeletons of negativity, heartbreak, unforgiveness, tears and anything else I needed to cast off. The Flint Hills are healing.
I look to this next year and plans are taking shape for a few things.
- Getting into top shape for a big year of races
- Living (no, like really living)
I finish writing hoping this makes sense and has some sort of purpose more than I know.
Feed Your Monkey!
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