Do you get bored?

It’s a fair question. It’s fair because most people spend their lives trying to simply fill up their allotted time. To be and to not have filled time is a kind of hell. It’s called boredom but it’s really just another name for hell.

I have no books. I have nothing downloaded on my phone. No magazines, articles, or podcasts. There are some songs but I never listen to any of them.


The first thing you have to understand is that living with no fixed abode is work. Not capitalist work, where you do what you are told for money that will let you tell others what to do, but real work, human work.

Human work is finding shelter.

Human work is clothing yourself not for style but for protection.

Human work is finding food.

And human work is meeting other people, exchanging information with them so that you can do the other human work.

This kind of work is endlessly fascinating and challenging. Moreover, it occupies your thoughts fully as you try to figure out the answers every single day. And on a bike the places are different and new, the seasons are different and new, the weather is different and new, the land, the sky, the people, and even the beasts are new.

So no, I’m not bored and you would not be, either. You would be tired or hungry or happy or scared or frustrated or elated or sometimes plain old beat to shit, but never bored.

There’s a phrase for all this. It’s called being alive.

When I got to Ashland my cousin Evan generously offered to drive me to Medford. I decided to ditch the heavy laptop for an iPad and so he took me to BestBuy. It was the longest I’ve sat in a cage since I can’t remember when.

You know what everyone was? They were bored.

Bored with traffic. With the endless queues at gas stations because there’d been a run on fuel due to the fires. At the store people were bored with the big box and bigger screen teevees. With routes predetermined, outcomes already decided. With lives that were caricatures of life. Not oddly at all, the homeless people weren’t bored at all.

Who thought this system up, and more importantly who made us accede to it? Who said that boredom is excitement, that dull, unhealthy, monochrome routines are fun?

With nothing but planet earth and a bicycle to explore it with, am I bored?

Not me.

And for the price of a few pedal strokes, not you, either.



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7 thoughts on “Do you get bored?”

  1. I see what you mean. In my home life I have an IV from my phone with 650 song mixtape to fill empty space in my mind.

    Back in the younger day of all day rides through the Santa Monicas it never occurred to me to use that IV, and I thought it weird when your fellow bike blogger mentioned plugging in during rides.

    In my rides I was existing in happines as you kinda put it. This all comes round to making a lotta sense .

  2. Going backpacking in a few weeks for a week, and I look forward to the long days of walking to the next camp site. The hopefully very cool evenings, and sleeping on my own fukpad for a 7 blissful nights. Hopefully Massachusetts isn’t in a long extended drought, and I can warm myself with a nice little camp fire. We shall see.

    1. I hear bike touring can be fun and easier on the back and knees, especially if you have some gear in the garage from that epic tour you took in the 70’s!

  3. “I used, when I was younger, to take my holidays walking. I would cover 25 miles in a day, and when the evening came I had no need of anything to keep me from boredom, since the delight of sitting amply sufficed.”
    -Bertrand Russell

  4. I would love to go high altitude alpine backpacking. Unfortunately none of my friends will consider such effort or pain. Even my sciatic nerve doesn’t want me to carry a 50 pound pack up mountain switchbacks. I could hike with a mule, ending up talking like an old prospector.

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