Post oiginally published at my travel-blog
One of those mornings I was looking for my next adventure destination (see the video link below) on my way to work, when somehow I fell on a video shared on National Geographic, which touched me deeply inside. It awesomely reflected my beliefs about traveling, especially when people ask me why I always look for uncommon adventures abroad. I though this video couldn’t be a better answer for this question…
It is about a guy who decided to quit everything and start a 7000-mile bike trip. When I heard what he said when he was asked about the reasons, I couldn’t stop myself from writing down every single word he said and here I am sharing the answer here with you:
I’ve met a lot of older people, grandparents, teachers who give me the spur of: “Oh my life went by so fast, just yesterday I was 19 or 25 and now I don’t know where all that time went”. I just blinked in when I was 18 and I think about that now and I’m like, what a strange way to be alive…
Back in California I had this fear of building this routine in my thirties and suddenly the decade is gone. So I promised myself I would do something radically different, I’m going to do something that scares the crap out of me and see if that changes my brain chemistry.
I’ve been living on my bicycle for a year now. I biked from Oregon, down America, down Mexico, Central America and South America and people ask me why do you live on a bike? Why did you quit your job? why are you doing this? My answer is this:
The routine is the enemy of time. It makes it fly by. When you are a kid everything is astonishing, everything is new, so your brain is awake and turned on. Every passing second your brain is learning something new. Learning how the world works and so on. The muscle of your brain is activated. And as you get older, your brain has figured out the patterns of the way the world works: this is how you make money, this how you graduate school, this how you get a mortgage, this how you have kids… I’ve got it locked out. I know my car, I know how I get to work everyday and how to check out all these things.
Once your brain establishes a routine, it stops. The alertness goes away, that fascination with the way the world works. And I think that’s what travel in general does. It wakes up your brain. I’ll go into a new country, to Panama, to Columbia. Those countries I’m scared of because of the news. And I will find them beautiful and shocking. Every hill I cross over is insainly awesome. My brain is fascinated. I didn’t know my brain could be so turned on. And I wanna be aware that everyday I’m alive. And I wanna make it to 85 and I will be exhausted, because I have been alive and awake every single day, and I think that the duty of being an adult is: When we are a kid, everything is new, you don’t have to work for it. It’s just astonishment. Once you are an adult, that’s a choice. You choose adventure for your own life.
It’s not about the bike. It’s about getting out of your routine. And that could look like anything. And that’s what I’m doing here. That’s why I’m doing this bike trip. Because I don’t want my days to control me. I don’t want the calendar to be my boss. I want to control my days, I want to choose the adventures that I go on. I want to choose a mind in a soul that is wide awake. Because in a sense, it turns a hundred years on this planet, into a thousand, and so, I mean, that’s why I’m doing this bike trip…
Jedidiah Jenkins, 2015, somewhere in the US
What to say after such words?
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough