The intensity of this trip makes me feel like i am living a lifetime of emotions, experiences, aches, pains, laughs, joys, and sorrows all in two months. Meaning the experience is really intense!
I have recently been feeling really sick: achy limbs (not from biking), stuffy and runny nose, sore throat and congested head! Let alone that I have been hacking up a lung! But I am not complaining! I am observing how a situation (like biking in the rain all day, being wet and cold, and having to then set up tent and cook for 14 other bikers) that is challenging but do-able is intolerable and causes exhaustion and a need for me to retreat! Living in an intentional community has caused me to sacrifice a lot of personal comforts and things that I usually rely on to define me (regular running routine, cooking, etc.) which has opened me to see the potential I have beyond these “items of definition”. However, it has also caused me to sacrifice myself, to the extent that i feel guilty if I take time for myself away from the group(like what I am doing right now). It is always a struggle to find balance between nurturing our inner and outer world, and I find that I tend to neglect my inner world, as many activists do, in hopes to find belonging, happiness, and/or fulfilment in life through my outer world. However, as one of my tour mates constantly reminds us: taking care of yourself is the most important priority and everything else comes second. This is a “rule”that we have even stated as a group during the tour, yet it still makes me feel guilty to leave the group for a warm, dry place to reflect, why?
Perhaps I feel guilty (which I think is a useless feeling, along with worry) because of how lucky I am and yet how I am still not satisfied. I may have been sick, wet, cold, and tired earlier, yet I was also fed, had friends and shelter (of one form or another), which many people would consider luxuries. Yet my luxuries still did not satisfy me, I wanted to be dry, warm, and healthy, all valid desires, yet also most likely the source of my guilt. Knowing what my needs, as an individual, where, I took it upon myself to leave (with another teammate) and act on these needs. This was not a gesture of hate or disdain towards the group, but rather an act of love towards myself, because without me there is no we.
I end with a reflection on the group and the time we have left. There is three weeks left and I am excited, I love everyone on the trip, however I am also scared that we will start to lose ourselves (due to lack of individual time) and begin to dispose the group. I am also worried that we will continue to be over stressed by the weather, biking, performing, nomadic living and group dynamics. We will see what happens, I hope for the best and will try my best to bring positive energy to the group!