Post Tour Blues

wp-1471624387968.jpegIt has been a month since I reached the Pacific Ocean with my trusty little Trek. I spent four days slowly wandering up the Oregon coastline, spending each evening walking on a sandy beach. And then, at long last I reached my final destination and the end of the TransAmerica trail: Astoria, Oregon.

That afternoon I bid farewell to the coast and rode inland. The next day I biked into Washington and boarded a train headed for Vancouver, British Columbia. While waiting in Vancouver for my connecting train, I met up with Gary from PedalWORKS and we rode around Stanley Park and the Olympic village together. The views were lovely and that is quite telling because it was a rainy, gloomy day. On a clear, sunny day with sparkling water it must be stunning! Gary was a gracious host, he made navigating through the city a breeze and he even gave me a bicycle map, which kept me from getting lost for the remainder of the day.

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Going through the Canadian Rockies on the train.

 

Then I took a train to Edmonton, Alberta before jumping on a bus that brought me to the city of Calgary, where my grandma lives. I stayed in Calgary for a full week, visiting my dear grandma each day and riding to somewhere new in the city. On Saturday, Jean from Cycle Write Blog and I met up for a ride. Jean showed me around to some of the beautiful artwork in Calgary and shared from her wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of the city. Jean also brought along a map which ensured that I never got lost again.

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Calgary

 

After my week was up, I took the bus back to Edmonton and back onto the train I went. I spent 60 hours on that train and during that time I went a bit stir crazy and caught a bad cold. But finally I made it to Toronto where my parents were waiting to pick me up, they gave me great big hugs  which was an act of valor of their part since I hadn’t been able to take a shower in three days.

On the way home we stopped to visit my great-aunt and we were also able to meet up with my uncle for ice cream.

And then finally, finally, finally I was home.

My dogs cried and so did I. Noah gave me a great big bear hug, I had missed him so much after Colorado!

Then life went back to normal. Except normal didn’t feel normal anymore. It was great to see family and friends again, the joy of familiar faces made me smile. It felt good to be working and earning money again instead of constantly spending it in small towns across the country.

But I miss the simple touring life. I miss riding my bike all day, every day. In fact, once I came home, I must admit there have been a few days that I didn’t want to bike at all. Because what is the point of riding 25 miles on the same old roads when just a few weeks ago I was riding 70 miles a day on new, exciting roads? I have been in a slump.

I have been hauling my bike out anyways of course and though I have been riding without much joy, I always come back home feeling a little better. With every passing ride, however, it is obvious to me that I lost something while on tour, a bit of my heart perhaps. I yearn for freedom, for endless open skies, dramatic vistas and most of all, the snow-covered, majestic mountains of the west.

But finally this week I am feeling more “myself” again, thanks to some lovely people. A coworker rode home with me on Monday (first time that has ever happened!!), my mom has ridden with me two days in a row and last night I rode in the most exciting group ride of my life. (And during that ride I reached 8,000 miles for the year, yippee!)

I am actually feeling energized and motivated this morning, today is gonna be a great day. It is time to be thankful for all the wonderful things right here in Lewis County, New York. September starts tomorrow and I am ready to enjoy it, I can’t wait for the beautiful autumn leaves!

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51 thoughts on “Post Tour Blues

  1. I think everyone who follows you, blog, otherwise or both, has also been experiencing the post tour blues. I have been trying to adjust without bike like crazy in my repertoire! BUT, I have had your smiling beautiful face in person instead. That has made this phase bearable for me. Thank you for recording your perspectives. I can hardly wait for more!

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  2. Yes, the post tour blues. I speculated this was the reason you blog went dark for nearly a month. Good news, it’s normal. Decompressing from a incredible experience is difficult. Your trip changed you. The world around you stayed the same. The routine life you left behind seems mind numbing. The people around you don’t get it and you can’t explain it to them. You have never felt so alive as you did on your trip. You want that feeling to continue, but you need to make money. So you go to the same job and do the same thing everyday till you feel like your head will explode. Beautiful flashbacks from your trip fill your head all day every day.

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  3. Sorry, accidentally hit reply in the middle. I don’t have any magical suggestions other than to find the joy in whatever you are doing. Each bike ride, each interaction with family and friends, each flower or snowflake of God’s creation. It’s there if you look for it. Oh, and start planning and saving for the next trip. 😀

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    • It is good to know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I find it hard to wrap my head around though-I just had the best summer of my entire life, why does that make me feel sad? Shouldn’t I just be happy the experience happened at all?

      But maybe it is a good thing because it will keep me focused on saving up for the next adventure 😉

      Thank you for the suggestions, I am hoping for an early winter because I know once the snow hits it will be easier to feel that sense of freedom and excitment that I felt so vividly while on tour.

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  4. As has been said, you’re experiencing normal/ordinary. You’ve been in the extraordinary for a few months. I think those of us that have experienced what you have are the only ones that can really relate. I’d be willing to bet that you’ve already started thinking about the next adventure. I do that almost daily!!

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    • The problem is narrowing down the possibilities. While I was on tour I began to realize how big the world really is, how do I choose where to go next?

      I am thinking about using the “spin the globe and stop it with a finger” method, but my finger would probably land in an ocean and I don’t have the skills to ride my bike through that much water yet…

      I can’t wait to hear about your next adventure, maybe an opportunity will come even sooner then you think!

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  5. *hugs* welcome home Bri 🙂
    “It has been a month since I reached the Pacific Ocean…” – yeah and a month since you last posted! I was wondering if the big West had swallowed you up!
    That sure was a big tour! and yeah, kinda a life-changer – I guess you have to dig deep inside yourself and figure out what that something more is… I was on a high when I returned home, and couldn’t stop eating like my body was expecting another 70 mile ride each day… but that wore off and now I find myself doing that, searching, and I guess seeing the same roads each day spurs me on with that quest also.

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    • Thank you, Brian! I am glad the west didn’t swallow me up, haha
      Yeah, it is really hard to stop eating so much, for so long hunger pangs were a red flag of “You are not eating enough!” Now I have to keep telling myself that it is okay to be hungry sometimes 🙂

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  6. I have been missing your blog posts – don’t worry I bet you will find another adventure soon!! 🙂 Glad everything is ok and you had a fun trip! I am heading out on a week long solo bikepacking trip in Oct – I’m getting so excited! You can come w/ if ya want! LOL! 🙂

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  7. A bike trip to Old Forge might be a place to travel? It’s no wonder you are going through this adjustment period. God has got something in store for you…it’s just the waiting until he reveals it to you, that’s the hard part. Going, going, going for the amount of time to did to almost a dead stop would be hard on anyone.
    We do love you Brianna, and are so happy you are home though.

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    • That is a great suggestion, Marilyn! I don’t often go down that way, so that would be great to mix up my riding with new roads. Waiting is tough, but I know that God has a purpose for every day of my life and that is a very reassuring thing! And it is great to be back with the people I love so much, our church camp out last week was so much fun even if you didn’t actually camp, haha!

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  8. See…. i wasn’t the only one who missed you. I was only gone for 2 weeks, but I had been wanting to tour by myself since I was a teenager, and I finally was able to do it. I am a different and better person because of it. I told you months ago that you have would be an adjustment period.

    You will never be able to explain or express in words how spending 8 or 10 hours a day on bicycle can go so fast and seems that it was so effortless when your done. Each challenge and every awesome downhill just become part of one great experience. You forget the rain and the flats, but remember how simple life can be and pure joy that is the reward of doing it yourself. Today our life is controlled by things we hold and how what we do is never enough or right or what someone owes us or has to give us.

    Your experience is now part of the women you will continue to become. You have tested you faith, you have tested yourself. You will never say I can’t do that to yourself, you will think about it, prepare for it and give it a try. You now have something to hold and have when it seems pointless, something to talk about and something you can share.

    Thank you Bri for inspiring me, and i hope i have done the same for you. Thank you for letting us ride along.

    So, how much do I owe you for that train ticket?

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    • You did tell me, Steve! But I guess I pictured post tour blues as a gentle sad longing now and then…I didn’t expect to feel listless and teary and over emotional, haha!! I think part of the problem is that I didn’t have any flats and barely any rain, maybe my tour was too easy and fun. Next tour I will bring tires that flat, a tent that leaks and a bike that constantly breaking…that should make coming home easier 🙂

      I am so glad our tours crossed in Erie. Even though we only talked for ten minutes or so, meeting you was one of the highlights of my tour. You are a wonderful, supportive friend and my hope is that we can meet again next summer for FANY. You don’t owe me anything, although if I do get the chance to ride in FANY next year, I am always in need of ice cream, just putting that out there….

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  9. As someone who’s done a multi-month tour, it is indeed tough to go back to “reality”. Especially if reality feels boring compared to what you were doing on the road. But the feeling does fade over time, as the months go by. But it will still be there, lingering under the surface, triggered by something that reminds you of something that happened or a landscape reminiscent of when you were on the road. The only realistic thing to do is go on another tour!

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  10. Hi Bri! I’m glad that someone from work rode with you for first time, etc. There are always different milestones on home turf compared to touring. You’re a real cycing trooper.

    Glad that we met and spent some time on bike, etc. No doubt, your grandmother was pleased to see you in person daily at the time.

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    • I was so happy it worked out to meet you, thank you for taking the time to ride with me 🙂

      I did have a great time with my grandma, we were able to go over a family photo album together which was special to me because I haven’t learned much about my dad’s side of the family since they all live out west. It was amazing to see what tiny houses my dad lived in when he was a boy, I don’t know how my grandma survived raising five kids in such tight spaces 🙂 They didn’t have much, but from the stories my grandma told me, they made what they had count!

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      • Good times with older generations is always good. Always.

        Well, Bri I do remember living in 1 bedroom apartment in Waterloo Ontario when my parents had…5 children. I’m not kiddin’. Older kids slept in living rm. on floor with blankets, foam cushion, etc.

        I think this is why my mother was under stress at times. I don’t want to romanticize about what she survived…we did move to a 3-bedroom house with 1 bathroom later. Solved some problems but not the general stress of raising ..now 6 children. There is a 10 yr. gap between myself as the eldest and youngest sibling.

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  11. Lovely to hear from you again Bri and it was wonderful to know that you caught up with Pedalworks Gary and Cycle Write Blog Jean on your return trip 🙂
    Returning home after an adventure and feeling a slump is understandable but you know I think you’ve caught the best remedy and that’s gratitude – for the present, for all the small things – Well done! And welcome home 🙂

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    • I was so happy it worked out to meet you, thank you for taking the time to ride with me 🙂

      Yes, Gary and Jean both made me feel right at home in their cities and for a girl who lives in a small town that means a lot 🙂

      You are absolutely right, Gail, being thankful for the little blessings that each day brings is so important, some days I forget and just feel grumpy that I am not still touring…and then I realise that I am complaining on a perfectly beautiful day! Our minds are such silly things sometimes!

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    • Good to hear from you, Dan 🙂 I miss being in the loop with everyone…but I will be back soon, I am actually on a biking adventure right now that I should write about. I do apologize for staying away for so long-I found it hard to write after coming home, normal life is just so…normal

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    • I am so sorry I didn’t see your comment until now! Thank you for reaching out I am doing very well…just haven’t been posting lately but I am hoping to change that now 😉

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  12. Pingback: Post Tour Blues — Bike Like Crazy – LAW SCHOOL LEARNERS

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