When last have you been on a bike? For me, it was in 2017 when I visited Bali. I definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone on that trip and loved every moment. For my experience surfing in Bali, check out this blog post here. Although riding a bike isn't necessarily in the same adventure category as surfing, it's still an activity that I don't engage in on the regular. Before my Balinese trip, my last time riding a bike was probably when I was 12. With that 15 year gap in riding, I was nervous and questioned whether my older and heavier body could survive, much less enjoy it. Well, usually when I challenge myself to try something different, I end up loving it and/or thriving. (Not always, check out my experience trying to become scuba certified in Thailand or my honest views on skydiving). However, this time I excelled at bike riding both physically and mentally. I learned two very important lessons from the experience that I still carry with me today. Turns out, travel is not only fun but beneficial to self growth as well!
It's Okay to Fall
Since I said I excelled at bike reading, you probably didn't expect me to reveal that I fell. I didn't only fall, I ran straight into a tree and fell! That was literally my worst fear and what almost stopped me from getting on the bike, and guess what, it happened. My worst fear happened, but it wasn't as bad as I envisioned. I thought I would be hurt beyond repair, too embarrassed to stand back up; that it would be devastating. Imagine my surprise when I JUMPED back up, said I'm okay (and meant it!), and proceeded to get back on the bike. I even chuckled a bit. I realized that falling (or failing) wasn't the worst thing that could happen. Choosing to stay down and let it ruin my trip (life) would have been the worst thing. We can't always control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it and whether we decide to stay down or not. In the moment, there was no question; I had to try again because even though it was hard, it didn't feel impossible. The rest of the bike ride was filled with the exhilarating rush of feeling the wind in my hair and gravity's pull as I ventured downhill. The scenery was breathtaking, and I'm glad I didn't let my fall stop me from enjoying the ride.
There is Wisdom in the Challenge
Think back to when you have learned the most in life. Was it when you decided to take a risk or when you played it safe? When I look back on my life, I always experience the most growth when I challenge myself to try something different. They do say insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. When I decided to ride a bike in Bali, I learned that I can in fact ride a bike and enjoy it, even with an older and heavier body. It inspired me to keep seeking activities that society doesn't necessarily portray plus size people doing, but that we can do anyways. Since then, I've tried surfing, rappelling, cliff jumping, dune buggy riding, snorkeling and skiing. I also learned that I can do a lot of things that my mind initially tries to tell me I can't do. You honestly never know until you try, and a lot of times its your mind preventing you from doing something. From this experience, I've learned that risks are not only beneficial, but necessary to truly evolve and discover all that I can be and become.
To some, bike riding is a leisurely and simple activity. For me, however, it was eye opening and empowering to challenge myself with something I thought was reserved for childhood. These are the type of moments that I cherish when I travel. Yes, you learn about the world, but you also learn so much about yourself and who you are once the responsibilities of everyday life are eliminated. Never be afraid to try something new because you just may love it.
xoxo, Global Midwife