Someone once said that the days are long, and the years are short. I'm reminded of this today.
I've had so many wonderful, long days over the last few months since I returned from my visit overseas. I crossed two items off my bucket list -- including getting a tattoo (see Sailors, Whores, & Ink) and taking a sailing course. I've spent lazy afternoons enjoying Seattle's unseasonably mild weather. I've spent hours relearning the Spanish language that I haven't spoken since the last millennium. I've started to plan a big bike trip for this upcoming fall and winter. Oh, and I finally met my financial target for early retirement (even though I left my job two and a half years ago, only 75% of the way to my target).
Suffice it to say, it's been a great few months of back-to-back long days. But it's already June 4th, and I am officially homeless!
Let me back up a bit...to October of last year...
As you know, I am gung-ho about bicycling. For a few years now, I've been interested in guiding bicycle trips. You may recall that I attended Adventure Cycling's Leadership Training Class in Missoula two summers ago, on my cross-country bike trip from Portland, OR to Portland, ME. Graduates of the class are given opportunities to guide tours with Adventure Cycling.
A little over a year after taking the class, I was contacted about leading my first two trips with Adventure Cycling, which would take place this summer. While I was looking forward to the two trips, I knew that my opportunities to guide with Adventure Cycling would be limited to just a few trips a year. I wanted to fill my entire summer leading bike trips, and so I looked into other guiding opportunities.
I remembered seeing a sign for "Bicycle Adventures" plastered on a building on I-90, near Issaquah. I had passed the sign numerous times heading to- and fro- various hikes and climbs at Snoqualmie Pass, and I had always wondered what this "Bicycle Adventures" was all about.
(In case clarification is needed, "Adventure Cycling" and "Bicycle Adventures" are not the same company. What needs no clarification is that I love anything that involves "adventure" combined with some variation of the word "bicycle.")
I digress. Back to October of last year...
Last October, I contacted Bicycle Adventures about guiding opportunities. I was told to reach out again in January, when the company would begin the hiring process for new guides. And so the waiting began -- one, two, three months...
In January, I again contacted Bicycle Adventures. This time I was told to send in my application materials. If the materials looked good, and if the phone screen in February went well, then I'd be invited for an interview at the end of March. More waiting -- four, five months...
Meanwhile, I applied to a few other guiding companies -- just in case. But really, my heart was set on Bicycle Adventures.
The interview went well, and in early April, I was given the thumbs up -- I'd be guiding for Bicycle Adventures! I was really, really, really excited!! After months of waiting, I got the gig I wanted. But there'd be more waiting. There would be training for the new guides, and guiding schedules wouldn't be available for a few more weeks. Six, seven months...
I now have my guiding schedule for July and August. My first trip will take me, the head guide, and a slew of guests through Glacier, Banff, and Jasper. I can hardly wait! After flying in a holding pattern for eight and a half months, I'll finally be guiding my first trip with Bicycle Adventures! (This is a counterexample to the wisdom mentioned at the beginning of my post; the days are long, and eight and a half months of waiting is even longer!)
Hoping that I'd be guiding this summer, I had lined up housesits only through the beginning of June. Although I've been bombarded with housesitting requests for the summer and early fall, I've turned them all down, as I've been unable to commit without knowing my summer schedule.
My two-month housesit in Capitol Hill ended earlier today, and so I'm now officially homeless. As I bicycled away from my housesit, I thought to myself "What in the hell am I doing?" But that thought was quickly followed by another thought: "I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing!"
Sure, there is quite a bit of "instability" in my life right now. The main element of instability happens to be the lowest rung on Maslow's hierarchy -- shelter. But, I'm armed with a bicycle, a tent, a car, some upcoming touring plans, and wonderful friends. So all will be well.
The truth is that amidst the instability, there is quite a bit of stability -- the kind that arises from being comfortable with one's resources, one's decisions, and one's capabilities. While most look for stability in careers, marriages, homes, and possessions, I look for stability in freedom. I just wanna do what I wanna do. And right now, that means being homeless.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing where life takes me. Everyday I'm learning more-and-more that the less I'm tied down -- to things, to places, to people -- the more life has to offer.
I'm definitely going to make the best of my "vacation time" in between guiding gigs. I'll be blogging regularly about my adventures over the next few months. I hope you'll join me!