When Tyler suggested we change the name of our website from "advriding" to "goingslowly," I heartily agreed. Going Slowly fits our trip much better than Adventure Riding does. For me, this trip is not about being hardcore and adventurous, and I personally don't feel like I am either. I really don't think I'm particularly adventurous. What I do feel, however, is a distinct desire to go slowly, to experience life and the world around me in rich depth and detail.
In our society, there seems to be a trend towards quicker shortcuts and less actual activity. Knowledge, richness, diversity and depth are being lost.
This cycling trip is just one part of a greater trend of slowness in my life. Cooking, for example, is another way slowness is apparent in my life. I like the slow food movement; I like cooking projects that take all afternoon. I love baking bread from scratch, without a recipe, working by feel, intuition, previous trial and error. I don't like time-savers, the concept of "fast food," or any form of rushing. Just yesterday I went to a friend's Pampered Chef party, and I was appalled at how little everyone knew about food and cooking, including the very sweet and bubbly woman giving the presentation. Making brownies from a packaged mix and then rolling them into balls was considered to be interesting, creative, and different. No one had ever used fresh garlic in their cooking, and no one knew what an artichoke was. There were so many gadgets to slice and dice for you, to do the (enjoyable) work for you, to make all tasks quick and idiot-proof. Personally, I'd rather not do myself the disservice of assuming I was incapable. I'd rather rise to the occasion and learn new skills. In our society, there seems to be a trend towards quicker shortcuts and less actual activity. Knowledge, richness, diversity and depth are being lost. Human beings are capable of so, so much, and we've been selling ourselves short in many ways. We actually believe we are incapable of doing things like baking pie or biking around the world.
I love how our website says we are "two cycling enthusiasts." It is true, I suppose, but it certainly didn't used to be! Before Tyler thought of this trip, I didn't even really like biking. I was nervous trying out new bikes, and the thought of riding around the world was incredibly daunting. The more I learned about biking, though,—gears, shifting, the benefits of pedal clips/straps, etc—the more I fell in love with it. The more research I did about biking around the world, the easier it seemed and the more it didn't seem like a big deal. Now, it isn't a big deal at all. I'm sure there will be difficulties, as with any other facet of life, but really, it isn't hard. Just as baking a pie or baking bread from scratch remains a mysterious and terrifying impossibility for some people, so biking around the world seems out-of-reach for most people. It was for me. But like with baking, it's really not that far of a stretch. You just have to learn a few skills and then take your time following simple steps to make it happen. Just go slowly.