As English writer Beatrix Campbell puts it “I love everything about the (bicycle) – the sensation of the tyres on the road, the mobility – and I love the fact that you have this intimate relationship with the elements, and the landscape.” So when it came to planning a trip to Victoria’s High Country, the one thing I knew for sure is that it would involve a bicycle -a perfect vehicle for a micro-adventure.
I'm not the first woman to up stakes and set off on a travel odyssey. You might be out there cycling, running marathons and climbing mountains in amazing places. If that's you, I tip my hat. No wait, it's actually a riding helmet, for some, like myself, choose horse-power. Yep, that's right. Four legs and the beating heart of another living being beneath me.
Winter can often get a bad rap and give us the wrong impression, for that which we often perceive to be dead, is really just lying dormant. And if we use this quiet time for contemplation, restoration and for sowing seeds of positivity, come the spring, we can reap the rewards as we find ourselves ready to blossom.
Women in lotus position armed with machetes to dissect fruits glimmering against purple tiles. Barefoot builders balanced upon bamboo scaffolding with the same precariousness as the lit cigarettes on their lips. The free will of life is unrepressed. This unrestrained culture catches the eye from first light to starlight. It’s tempting to close my eyes and feel the warmth and the breeze, but unctuous scenery tempts me more and they stay wide open.
Sure it’s ‘pretty’ and ‘nice’ to listen to bells toiling across the lands whilst sipping on Chianti over a long Italian lunch, but it’s not ‘adventure’. Nah, too tame, and far too common for the likes of us. Yet, beyond the romanticism of this place, lives enough rough and tumble exploration that I have to eat my words. Every. One. Of. Them.
Up at these latitudes, there’s no escape from the night. People want to hibernate; they want to sleep. Actually, the best way to combat the Lapland malaise is to get outdoors and exercise, Anneli told me. “We must find a strategy to cope with the darkness. In the middle of the day when we can see a little daylight, I try to take a walk outside.”
We surfed together that afternoon for five hours until the sun was well and truly gone and our arms were too tired to keep going. Tom proposed to me with a very special custom takayama DT pig surfboard instead of a diamond, knowing that my true loves – including surfing, the ocean and adventure – could never be represented by a diamond.
Hitting a low point is inevitable in this kind of event, and for me, reaching this point and what I choose to do with it is part of the reason that I come. This is the point where I need to battle my innermost and deeply held beliefs about my self-worth.
“Epic, untamable beauty helps us to remember how small we are. Then, everything overwhelming becomes minor – our worries, our everyday stressors, and our fears.”