Small Change, All Change

By Jane Mountain | August 10, 2013

5128 km so far.

Today we rode 90 km of fairly easy terrain, so I had lots of time to let my mind wander.

I started wondering how some friends and family are coping with the major changes taking place in their lives.

My friends Scott and Julie have had a new baby, moved to a new city, bought a new house, and presumably, started new jobs. Talk about resetting your life!

My brother Scot, with his wife and three children, is leaving in a few days to embark on a one-year sailing adventure. They’ve packed up their belongings, rented their house, put their normal lives on hold, and are about to take off into the unknown. I guess the travel bug runs in the family.

David and Collette, a couple we met in our very first weeks on this trip, have just returned home from their six-month cycle tour. I’m guessing going back to the familiar will be just as hard as leaving it was.

We are facing a major change in a month or so when we board that plane to China (if that’s in fact what we do). What will the roads be like? Will we be able to get good food? Will the people be nice? How will we cope with a completely incomprehensible language and alphabet?

As we ride through the very civilised, organised, and tidy world of Scandinavia, I find myself wondering more and more what challenges and hardships we’ll face in the months to come.

Just like any change, all these unknowns are equal parts scary and exciting. Whether we choose change, or it is thrust upon us, when it comes, it wakes us up and helps bring our lives into focus.

Size Doesn’t Matter

I know a lot of people reading this blog would love to take off around the world, but finances, responsibilities, and life just won’t allow it. You don’t need to completely uproot yourself to be woken up by change. Small changes can be as powerful as the big ones if you let them.

Today, I felt like I had seen and done this ride before. It was just the same as yesterday and the day before. The countryside looks similar to Finland, the roads are similar, and the drivers are similarly courteous.

wooden donkey in a garden

Another wooden donkey in a garden. Seen it.

I was just thinking to myself, “Sweden and Finland are the same, no change here,” when we pulled up to the grocery store. I went inside expecting the same old same old. I looked around and was hit by a whole new world. The store was organised in a different way, the brands were different, the types of food were different. The prices were all in Swedish Kroner, so I had to do some math gymnastics to figure out how much anything cost. My mind, which had been coasting all day, snapped into focus.

Suddenly, I had to think.

This little incident brought me back to the present and helped me be present in today, instead of losing myself in the unknowns down the road.

We took this sign as a sign that we should do some yoga.

We took this sign as a sign that we should do some yoga.

Sure, this day has been much like the last few. Wake up in a beautiful spot by a beautiful lake. Eat, pack, ride. Stop for lunch. Get back on the bike. Keep going. Up hills, down hills. Stop for coffee and to post a blog. Search for a campsite. Find another beautiful spot by another beautiful lake.

camping spot vallentuna sweden

Another beautiful spot for camping, Vallentuna.

Spice Up Your Life

Even on a bike trip, some days can seem ho-hum, and that’s not a bad thing. We all need some stability in our lives to keep us sane. But it’s also good to notice the little differences that make up each day, not to coast too long in a humdrum state.

If your life seems to be Groundhog Day, maybe it’s time to make a little change?

It doesn’t have to involve selling all your possessions and going around the world (though that might be fun). Maybe just take a different route to work or try some new kind of food. You could join in an activity you wouldn’t normally do (may I suggest going for a bike ride? Or perhaps yoga?).

Maybe you’ll hate it, maybe you’ll love it, but either way you can be sure it will kick start your brain cells. It might just wake you up a little and get you refocused on your life.

Go ahead, try it. Let us know how it goes.  

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  1. Comment by Adria

    Adria August 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I’m so enjoying reading these! It’s inspiring to constantly be reminded to get out of your comfort zone, and definitely what we all need to hear (or read) from time to time! THANKS!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Adria. Even on this trip we need to remind ourselves to shake things up a little!

  2. Comment by Chris

    Chris August 12, 2013 at 4:49 am

    China-every place has a different dialect! It’s been many years since I was there, but as in most countries, the people are wonderful. Do they still have Friendship stores? I imagine you will. Miss the wonderful China I saw, since all of the modernization and money ave forever changed the soul of the country. Looking forward, as usual, to your unique perspectives of life there now. A fan…

  3. Comment by Chris

    Chris August 12, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Ok, so-I bought a bike! I have missed riding. I only used to ride a mile and back, but I enjoyed it. It’s a 3wheel foldable bike-a beautiful blue. So, no worries about falling-not allowed by doctors-and can get around town. Had it shipped to a bike shop who had agreed to put it together for a fee. Looking forward to some great exercise!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 12, 2013 at 6:31 am

      Amazing! Such a great example of getting out of your comfort zone, and not taking “you can’t do that” for an answer. I hope you enjoy rides around your neighbourhood as much as I used to love riding around LA!

  4. Comment by Roxy

    Roxy August 12, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I love this post. Also… CHINA?!?

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 12, 2013 at 6:32 am

      I was totally thinking of you when I wrote this, since you embody the idea that life is an adventure. I don’t know anyone who does more exciting and interesting things without every going very far from home (usually). And yes, China!

    • Comment by Roxy

      Roxy August 14, 2013 at 6:57 am

      What a great compliment — thank you Jane & miss you both! Keep forging forward!

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