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On The Road Journal #1: The First Attempts

I guess I am feeling a slight anxiety, and that’s maybe because I’ve never done this before, never gone on a trip like this—with just a bike, a hammock, and two outfits. It’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s how it's supposed to be.

Maybe I will learn something important during this trip, maybe I will meet some interesting characters, maybe I will realize something I’ve never realized before! To-be-honest, I cannot live this linear life that most people live; where they settle in a city, get a job, find some friends, and basically do the same shit every day, it’s not me. I want to explore, see new things, challenge my perspectives, and this “linear life” doesn’t give me that.


It was only a few days ago that I started to sleep outdoors. The first day it was me and a friend, we both slept in the same hammock—it’s a big hammock, fits two. It was pretty uncomfortable though, my back got cold during the night, there wasn’t lots of space, and my legs cramped up. But I can’t complain, it was the first time I slept in a hammock, and having someone there was nice.


There is a big field near the house, so we set up there, a five-minute walk. We got there just before sunset and left right after sunrise. That morning the breakfast tasted better than most days; I guess discomfort makes you appreciate things more.


There was another attempt at sleeping outdoors. This time it was just me and the same green hammock. I left the house early in the day, bike loaded with all the necessities—or I thought. I had a duffle bag with clothes, the hammock, a sleeping bag, and my computer bag. It wasn’t too heavy, my legs could handle the weight.


The day was spent riding around Krakow, just testing out the riding, looking for “spots” to set up. I went down to the center, ate a bit of cheap Polish food, a few chicken legs, potatoes, and a salad. After the meal I head for the mall, I needed to do a bit of work, so I found a Starbucks, got a free cup of water, and worked for a good hour or two.


Work was done, so it was time to set up camp. It was late in the day and I wanted to be set up before the sun went down. I found a small forest near the highway, set up the hammock, and got ready for sleep. Getting into the sleeping bag was difficult. I was like a pig in mud, rolling around, shuffling, trying to adjust here and there, but the sleeping never fully cover me. I tried to fall asleep but the highway was buzzing in my ear. Cars zooming by, occasional ambulances, and those f*cking adrenaline junkies racing.


As it darkened I realized that I wasn’t the only one in the forest, amongst me were small creatures crawling under the leaves, wild animals sniffing for a meal, and maybe even some psychos wandering the forest at night.


A few times during the night I awoke due to the cold under my back. As the wind blew, shivers went down my back and through my whole body. I tried to sleep on my side, but it didn’t help. I went in and out of sleep for the entire night, until I checked my watch, “4:40” shone the bright LED. ‘Ah, it’s too early, I need to sleep more’, I thought. As I tried to fall asleep, gentle raindrops started to make their way past the leaves, down through the mosquito net, and onto my skin. The pace of the rain increased, the leaves were now shouting, “get out, get out!” and then... they settled for a bit. The forest was kicking me out, and I had to listen.


I packed all my sh*t, rolled up the hammock, drank a bit of water, and went down to find my bike; I left it near some tree last night. It was still there. I head out and rode towards the gym, but halfway there I felt the fatigue of the sleepless night and decided to turn back. I head back home. Back home to my cozy bed, and my cozy girl who’d I awoke abruptly by knocking on the window. Her face frustrated but amused at my failure.


As I laid down in the warm bed, I realized that I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have an underquilt, my tarp had too many ropes, the hammock was too heavy. ‘But I’d prepare better next time’ I thought, ‘I’d buy all the stuff needed and then I’ll be ready!’.


Being home felt good. The mess in the kitchen, the musty smell of wet clothes on the drying rack, the moody girl in my bed, it all felt so familiar.

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