A warm welcome in Corvallis (and a few stressors)


Today was another “rest day,” in between travel. I got to sink into Corvallis a bit, and that included spending time at the co-op (where I encountered the bike rack pictured above!) another market, and two parks, and socializing with several interesting people.

I had a nice walk along the riverfront path with a fellow who has traveled extensively around the United States and the world—having grown up in Oregon—and who will soon depart for Costa Rica, where he has plans to open a simple hostel for sustainable travelers, and perhaps in time, a more permanent intentional community. He spoke passionately about his love of travel, and his excitement to begin this new chapter of his life.

After that, I cycled over to a different park to meet up with a longtime Portland/Facebook acquaintance I had never really chatted with before. He has been living in Corvallis for the past year, with family, but is also preparing for a big leap: potentially joining a Buddhist monastery in southern California. We talked about travel, life, and what’s important in the grand scheme of things.

These are the kinds of conversations I am seeking on this journey. And I’m finding them, already.

On the way back to my hosts’, I stopped at the co-op for a few snacks for tomorrow’s ride. Then I returned for another lovely dinner, with a friend of theirs joining us, who is an avid cyclist and hiker/backpacker. We got to swap some stories, and I got to demonstrate the folding and unfolding of my Brompton, which I always enjoy.

Alongside the beautiful weather, relaxing parks, and enjoyable conversations, I admit I have had some worries begin seeping into my mind:

Am I truly prepared, physically and mechanically, for this journey? (I started making some calls today to bike shops in upcoming towns to see about getting reinforced tires for the trailer, for one example.)

I just discovered that I have a potential transit snafu coming up in a few days; I will need to make some new travel and lodging arrangements, and possibly line up backup plans as well. (However, already a Warmshowers host has agreed to let me stay, so that’s one piece falling into place. I’m loving how solutions seem to quickly follow problems so far.)

One other stressor: I am accustomed to having the time and consistent space each day to do the administrative tasks of my life, such as paying bills, as well as the time, and mental and emotional energy, to keep up with social connections to friends, whether on social media or by texts, emails, phone calls, or Zooms. I am finding it to be an adjustment to have much less of this time. The tradeoff, of course, is more engagement with “real life”: spending time outdoors and in motion, on my bike or on foot in parks and such, and having in-person conversations with my hosts and/or other locals in the places I visit. I’m loving it! But, there is a bit of stress in the adjustment.

Tonight after dinner, I was going to work on paying some bills, to alleviate some of this stress. But, when I noted that they aren’t due for at least another week, I chose instead to luxuriate in a wonderful hot bath, for more than an hour.

I think I made the right choice.

This is my life now.

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