Anybody with a computer and an internet connection can have a blog. A cynic might assume that since the entry barriers are so low bloggers might be shallow and narcissistic and their blogs trivial and insignificant. And since traditional journalism has fact checkers and editors it is, in theory at least, reliable. What’s to certify that a blog or blogger is accredited or has value?
In reality, the blogosphere reveals to me that there are many, many smart, articulate people out there with much to share. People who might not get a chance to share without the internets.
In “The Importance of Respect” from The Stone Mind blog Justin writes ” When we come to a climb without respect or an interest in learning, we see nothing but a goal to be achieved. In such a state, we might wish to skip to the end by any means, as a child who moves his piece to the final square of a board game and mistakes himself the winner. We might want to announce our accomplishment or log it on a scorecard, but what we have really learned cannot be verbalized or assigned a numerical value“.
The sentiment applies to bike touring. Choosing to travel under my own power means I need to be aware and mindful of where I am. Because I don’t have any choice…I’m not going anywhere very fast. Having self-appointed expectations leads to self-induced disappointments. When I hear somebody say they want to ride the bike across the US I want to ask; Why? If it’s because they love being out on the bike for hours on end and the feeling of freedom that goes with it, then I think that’s great. If they have something to prove to themselves or to somebody else, I think why not stay home and train for a triathlon. There are too many things beyond our control on a bike tour to have unwavering goals. If we get sick or injured or have a major mechanical or simply get discouraged and decide to go home, it shouldn’t be seen as some sort of failure. I just realized that my recent tours have probably been too goal oriented. I gave myself a certain amount of time to cover a certain distance and I set it more or less in stone by purchasing airline tickets in advance. I think I’ll do an open ended tour next time. I’ll just start riding and when I run out of time or motivation, I’ll quit. In between, I’ll try to pay attention and to be present and humble.
Blogging has the power to form connections between people. I used to read the entries of a gentleman living in Bayou Blue, LA who went by the name Old Fool. He wrote about simple chores around his home, about his wife, bicycles and sometimes, obliquely, about politics. I got the feeling there was some anger, but he never came across as hateful.
Old Fool’s last post indicated he was having some difficulty typing, and I recently learned (from another blogger) that he suffered a stroke and passed away in September, 2012. I couldn’t understand how I could feel so sad about somebody I didn’t even know. But I sensed a humble person, one with a kindred, eremitic spirit. It has been another reminder to me that I have little control over events.
R.I.P. Old Fool.