When I saw this video title I knew exactly what it was going to be about. And I knew who he would be targeting. I realized that I, the guy who sat in a kayak paddling with no sights on the horizon besides blue sky intersecting with blue ocean, the guy who spent nearly 400 hours of driving and sleeping time in my car this summer, the guy who walked from Maine to Virginia for over four months, was now capable of being bored. Continue reading The entertainment-fueled boredom
Tag Archives: solitude
Overpowering fear: open ocean kayaking
Nothing in my life has ever sparked such overwhelming fear as sitting alone on a beach in the early, early morning, long before sunrise with intentions of paddling a kayak across an enormous body of water to a foreign island. There was lightning on the horizon, too distant and sparse to be a sure no go, but not clear enough to make me feel confident to paddle out. The wind was blowing from the north and would launch me down to Cay Sal on an open ocean kayaking voyage in under 12 hours. I would arrive there before dusk and set up camp on the uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mexico. I could see the tall palms swaying high overhead behind me and knew the wind coming from the other side of the island was strong. Within the first mile of paddling the wind would catch me and launch me faster and faster from the island until eventually I would not be able to paddle back. It was a commitment that gave me chills.
Why marry? Why have kids?
Having recently ventured into the mystical land known as “the real world,” several ideas and curiosities have come to my attention. I am naïve in this world, distant from my previous home full of obnoxious party goers and dedicated academics. In this world, there are responsibilities and questions of the future. Two subjects keep arising that have grabbed my attention, that of marriage and that of having children. However, the questions are not whether or not to partake in these institutions and obligations. The questions are of when to marry, who to marry, how many kids to have, and what to name them. I started thinking, why would I get married and why would I have kids? Did I consciously decide to marry and have kids or did I simply follow social norms and biological urges? I want questions like that to be answered long before I undertake such dedicated steps in my life. Sure, the challenges are distant still, but why would it ever be too early to question these immense life steps?
“Anything’s possible. It is night on planet earth and I’m alive. And someday, I’ll be dead. Someday I’ll just be bones in a box. But right now, I’m not. And anything is possible…Each moment can just be what it is. There’s no failure. There’s no mistake. I just go there, and live there and whatever happens, happens. And so right now, I’m getting naked and I’m not afraid…” -Suburbia
No man is ever alone
I hung out with high school friends for the first time in too long to remember. Most of them I hadn’t seen in months and some since graduation. It felt good to come back to earth. I enjoyed having my friends’ company and I realized I did miss what I had been ignoring. I have not been living in a hole but for the most part I am in solitude. I train in the mornings, then I go home to a four bedroom empty house. My dad is in Florida and my mom in Virginia Beach. My sister is in North Carolina and I have no idea where my brother is. Sometimes I get calls from friends but typically racing gets in the way of hanging out.
I guess some people think I dropped off the earth. After having no privacy and no solitude all year, I am sort of enjoying the feeling of loneliness. I guess it makes human interaction that much better. In the movie Into the Wild, Chris McCandless responds to his friend, “I will miss you too, but you are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God’s place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience.” I guess that is how I feel. I don’t necessarily feel alone because I am surrounded by a beautiful world and the feeling of something greater. I’m not trippin or anything. I just mean its hard to look around and observe life and things without being amazed and overwhelmed.
For now I run
My shadow is always faster than me. No matter what, he starts from behind, runs along side me for a moment, and then passes with no effort. I guess he is weightless after all, that probably helps.
The light taps of me feet fades from my attention easily. The taps are unnoticed by some and startle them. I pass by dogs in their fences without waking them.
I feel my shoulders loose, float back and forth, back and forth a thousand times.
My legs gently float underneath me and I simply glide on the surface of the road. Pit-pat, pit-pat. Effortlessly I pass by the silent world around me.
My light huffing can be silenced if I concentrate but its rhythm keeps me on track.
I run in the middle of the two lanes, staring into the distance. There are no cars. During the day I would be plastered on the road by now, probably no more than an inch thick. But now it’s peaceful. Between the streetlights I have no shadow. I run alone. Pit-pat.
People sometimes ask me if I get lonely. I simply remind them of how I was the baby that when woke, would lay in the crib for hours with no crying. I was the child that when I received a K-nex set for Christmas or my birthday, the construction would take place for hours straight, sometimes through the night, until the pieces formed a masterpiece. At school this year I had few refuges to which I could enjoy the company of solely myself. And even at home it seems the story is no different. In the city I cannot be alone while running unless I do it at night.
I am no hermit. I love people. I love company. But sometimes company does not need to be defined by human interaction. The world is a beautiful playground and our desire for constant interaction blinds us from that sometimes. If we are not with people, we are playing with our electronics. I admit I am just the same sometimes.
But for now I run alone. Some of the things I have seen humans do overwhelms me with fear. And for now I am incapable of grasping the corruption in the human race. So for now I run away. Maybe in time I will see. Maybe in time I will realize whether life is just a game like it seems through so many college students eyes. Life does not seem like a game though. It seems real, with real consequences, and real problems. So I wonder what my place is. Seeing as interaction is only bringing me stress, maybe solitude will bring an answer.
A few months ago I enjoyed my first ride on my new mountain bike. The Fezzari Solitude. I had done my research, and while other mountain bikes had criticisms in at least every other review, I could not find one single review that remarked negatively on the performance of a Fezzari bike.
It was not that the reviews were not there, or that the critiquing riders were unknowledgable and inexperienced. I found that there were more people riding on Fezzari bikes than I initially thought. I had no trouble finding reviews, but try as I might to find a way to criticize the company, I could not find any reason to not run to my local bike shop and buy one right away.
Trouble was, there are no dealers I know of. Fezzari sells direct though. No problem, they don’t sell retail pricing. So I don’t need to be a dealer to get the direct price. So I was wondering what the catch was. I went to mtbr.com, to find a reason why these bikes could sell for so cheap and be so greatly reviewed. It was a futile search and I threw up the white flag and realized that Fezzari was legit.
Through a couple weeks of bad weather, my beautiful clean carbon hard tail sat in my dorm room, unridden. I wanted to ride it so badly but I knew if I rode I would destroy the wet trails. My patience running at its end, the sun shone through the clouds and I pulled out my dusty mountain biking shoes. I was out the door headed towards unknown trails with no map. I didn’t care. I had a new bike that needed testing.
First thing I noticed was the responsiveness. I felt like I was pulling G’s every time I pushed down on the pedals. I felt like I was going to fall off the bike every time I accelerated. It was not that I got any stronger eating twinkies and watching movies all winter. I was shocked, and stubborn as I am, I still did not want to admit that I could have gone so long without knowing of this great bike company.
But once I hit the trails and headed uphill i could not lie to myself anymore. I was riding on a crazy advanced piece of machinery. I have ridden a Felt DA and a specialized S-works and did not feel this same kind of unworthiness. Fezzari had hit on every factor of bike building and had succeeded in mastering every element. There was nothing I could find that was wrong with this bike. It’s paint job was even sweet.
No longer a skeptic, I crested the mountain and turned downhill only to discover a new feature. I started down the mountain and although I knew I was not pedaling, by the immediate acceleration, I could have sworn something was pushing me. The darn thing felt like it was motorized. Scared at first, thanking god for these sweet xt brakes, I held my speed under control.
Soon though I realized I had nothing to fear. As I became more and more comfortable I realized I could corner on this bike at much higher speeds with much more control than on my old bike. I was absolutely and utterly ecstatic.
When I got back to my dorm room my roommate must have thought I just met the girl of my dreams. Call me a bike geek but this was better. Knowing absolutely nothing about bikes, he still could understand how awesome this bike is. It doesn’t take a genius to know a nice bike when it accelerates like a drag racer, corners like an Indy car, and is as light as a track bike.
I was in love. And after many, many rides, I am still in love. The girl of my dreams can hold on because I’m busy mountain biking. I look forward to even the most daunting of cycling workouts just as long as I get to ride on my Fezzari Solitude.
I just can’t wait to race on the thing. Last year I won the Xterra Sport in Richmond on my clunker. I think in racing, the name “Solitude” might express itself in more than just letters on the frame. I may be turning around wondering what happened to all my competitors.