One year ago today, when we left on this bike tour with nervousness, fear and anticipation, I spent a lot of time thinking about our return home every day. My mind would dwell for hours on the idea of the glorious ride down the familiar escarpment rail trail to our home in Hamilton with a year of cycling under our belts. I would grin from ear to ear as I imagined pedaling into my driveway. Maybe thinking about the ending of the trip motivated me to continue, or maybe it was just a pleasure in the happy thoughts of the trip being over, this goal being accomplished, a return to be my own house, my own bed, my own kitchen.
But a few weeks in, a momentous transition hit – a moment I remember reading other cyclists and travelers having – where this vague fear of the road is replaced by a wonderful sense of freedom. And then there was no looking back. For me, this also meant I no longer thought about the end of the trip – I was living in the moment and loving every minute of it. Home had become the company I was with, my bicycle, my tent, the playgrounds and libraries and campgrounds we stayed in, and the homes we were welcomed into.
Now, we are living in the moment that I used to dream about. We are 10 days from home after being on the road for a year. While I do feel accomplishment, I do not feel the great sense of relief I had expected to feel when dreaming about this time so many months ago. In fact, I feel just as nervous and anxious and sad now about coming home as I did about leaving it. I LOVE my life right now. I love being outside almost every hour of every day. I love pedaling on my bicycle and the tingling in my legs at the end of the day that means I worked hard. I love buying only the groceries I need each day and only thinking about the 24 hours that lie ahead. I love having so much time to play with my kids – and that I feel so connected to my husband. I don’t really look forward to the return to household chores like vacuuming or cleaning toilets – and the idea of waking up to an alarm clock and sitting at my desk for 35 hours a week is pretty undesirable.