*being a non-native English speaker, this article may have language mistakes. If you find obviously ones, that should be clarified, please, give me a comment. Many thanks.
This is the third of 21 articles about my Empathy Cycling Tour in August 2019. I choose a subject for each day of my journey to share things I learned or insights I gained and that I find worthful to share.
This post is about extraordinary encounters, how to find your own place in the world, and what you can do with your time.
Let’s start with some questions that came up on my journey:
- What satisfies me?
- Why are most of us doing too rarely what is important to us?
- Who are the people with whom I should surround myself the most?
- How do you close the gap between knowing and doing?
At the end of the article, you find an overview of the third day of my travel, including a warning for those who are planning to travel by ferry.
Back to the roots – ahead with on a journey
On days when time seems scarce, when you hardly leave the house and then plan to get a blog entry online before the weekend starts, you may ask yourself: Why the heck I’m actually doing this? You probably know similar situations, don’t you?
This question helped me to reconnect me with my why.
I never wanted to write just another blog with titles like the next 10 things you need to do or five tricks to get rich or anything like that. I’m not sharing stuff here to explain things. I think there’s more than enough like that available already, in my opinion. Why do I want to continue the effort to write, and why should anyone read? I might remind myself and tell you. Above all, I want to ask meaningful questions that everyone can answer for themselves and that everyone can deal with themselves to see their own lives from new perspectives, while I can share personal stories.
Like the story when I met Martin from Norway in Harwich. I already mentioned him in the last article: Things That Matter – How not to make yourself less important than necessary
The story reminds me of the origin of my bicycle journey and why I wanted to discuss empathy, charity and many other life questions.
There’s always somebody who’s more extreme
Martin has a gruff manner, and at the same time, he is a pleasant guy. We have discovered many values in common.
But, I felt that he seemed to be more extreme everything we talked about, not only in some opinions but also in his actions. For example, he had been on the road with his bike for 6 months, with only a fraction of the luggage I had with me for my three weeks. Yet, why do I think he is so much more extreme? Likely because he spent a huge amount time in his life on those things, we were talking about and those, that I only started with last year. Of course, he would have a lot more experience then?
On the other hand, couldn’t we all appear extreme to others, only depending on the personal experience?
That question made it clear to me once again that there are always many realities, but everyone remains in its own one unless one can meet his counterpart with empathy and put his own ego aside for a moment.
Aren’t there many similar moments in everyday life when we admire or ridicule something or someone without considering that their background story is entirely different from our own?
SUMMEN AV ALLE LASTER ER LIK
Alright, let’s practise a little bit Norwegian.
The evening before I took the ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland, I sat with Martin together munching various energetic snacks. We philosophized about all sorts of things like environmental protection, bad habits, or how to make a meaningful life and make the most of your life. He told me a saying from Norway:
“Summen av alle laster er lik.”The sum of all burdens is equal – Norwegian proverb
It is supposed to mean that no matter how much you do right in one area of life, all bad habits together will always be the same. What does that mean? It means that bad habits often replace bad habits. At one point we may give up a bad habit but establish a new one somewhere else. So there’s no escaping being a “bad” person?
What you do with your life
If that were so, what can I do, or should I, therefore, spend my time with?
What would the world look like if I did more of what I think is good? And the even more significant question: How would my own life look like if I did much more of what I think is valuable and required?
Sometimes I feel that humans spend far too much time complaining about what they don’t like rather than trying to do what they like. Admittedly, I also still contribute to that behaviour far too often.
For example, when I lament how little connected we are with our neighbourhood these days.
But how much did I actually contribute to the fact that this is different? And can’t I actually be the one who changes that?
What would be your honest answer to the question: What do you do with your life?
KILLING TIME UNTIL LIFE IS KILLING YOU
Recently, a friend told me on the phone, “On a bicycle trip, nobody cares about your job. At least not straight away.” when we talked about our bike trips.
I think that’s really true and many cyclists are aware of that. As a cyclist, you are a cyclist and not a lawyer, manager, cook or hairdresser. Throughout the journey, cycling, as a conversation starter, was usually enough to have inspirational discussions. Only rarely it was about what you do for money. On the other hand, there was plenty of space to talk about dreams, wishes and hopes.
That being said, I know that I will continue to travel in the future. I will continue to follow dreams, nurture my hope and satisfy my desires. However, one thing is also clear to me, I am not just waiting for the next bike trip, because, can’t I take the opportunity every day to talk to strangers or ask for help when I need it?
Summary of the bike ride on day 3
The following section is a short entry about the route I travelled, about further conversations that were not explained in detail in the article and just as a bonus.
- I only cycled a few miles (18), as I travelled most of the time with the ferry that Start and End: Harwich – Meijendel
- Encounters and conversations:
- I exchanged some words and knowledge with other cyclists while waiting for the ferry
- I met an unusual family from Germany. They lived for some years in the UK and were just moving back – by bicycle!
- More conversations with Martin check his Instagram Account with loads of beautiful pictures of
- A chat with a Japanese Youtuber, who travelled through Europe and UK for a couple of months with his instrument check his channel Asahi, Youtube
- I have been welcomed in the Netherlands and supplied with coffee by a friend Anja from http://www.bullytours.com
- I met another Guy from Yorkshire who joined Martin and me. We camped on the beach without a shelter again. (Greetings Chris, if you read that)
- Watching an awesome sunset on the beach
- plus a not so pleasant highlight was an expensive telephone bill because of automatic roaming on the ferry, after all, I could at least negotiate a discount by showing myself friendly, empathetic and ignorant with my telephone provider.