Riding my bicycle across Vietnam
The weather quickly deteriorated outside, snow careening in the air, borne by the inevitable gusts of wind. The inside of the warehouse was drafty but snug. I often remark mentally on the primal security that being in solid shelter when the elements are less than ideal can bring. I’ve been meaning to tell this story for a long time.
It was on that eventful winter night that a Hawken friend and I learned to weld. This set the foundation for our big project, the go kart. Over months we toiled, procuring an engine, building a chassis, and slowly putting everything together. Ideation, experimentation, failure, repetition, and finally, success. Often it,es it was one step forward, two steps back. But I suspect that is the plight of many a novice tinkerer.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the mechanics are great, and a valuable skill to have on their own; I think the perseverance mentality was the richer end reward. I thought of a new quantification of the numbers recently. I reckon that thus far I’ve spent roughly 10-20 times the hours working on the project than I have riding it. A rudimentary and inaccurate measurement, who is to say otherwise? Proving a point? I think so. I still think it’s worth it. The constant error and incremental nature of the project often disenfranchised my friend. It pulled at me too, but this is where I extracted the lesson. Failure is inevitable; perseverance is critical. I know this cliché is worn, nevertheless I find it meaningful. All the more meaningful that it is qualifiable in a singular project. Not persevering at life, but persevering at the go kart, and in doing so, constructing the skills to have that mindset. Dad is a large proponent of the necessity of dedication, not that he is always the premier example. I found it easier to distill meaning from a smaller facet of life instead of the other way around. At the end of it all, after the long nights, the thought problems, dead-ends, ad grueling work, it is all the more meaningful to rip around in the yard, rear wheels kicked out around the corner, pedal down.
It is indeed another cliché to apply this mentality to adventure, but again, I consciously apply it to my life. These same lessons are observed on the saddle, day in and day out, pedaling towards the destination. It’s physically and mentally deteriorating,but I’ve found that to make the result all the more rewarding. Here’s to the next project!