October 3, 2018
Balancing Biking, Working, and Life in General

Balance is key to making a journey like this succeed. This trip isn’t just a vacation. As I bike down the coast, I’m continuing to build a remote software consulting business. It’s important that I maintain a balance between biking, work, and keeping up with my friends and family. Fortunately, I’m used to remote work, so this isn’t a completely new experience for me. I’ve backpacked through Asia in the past and managed to keep working then too.

A super big work day for me looks like getting up at 6:00 am, packing up camp and eating breakfast by 8:00am. Hit the road by 8:30 am and having to find a spot to take a call or deliver some files usually by about 11:00 am. I’ll then spend several hours huddled outside a McDonald’s (like right now) to get some work done and resume biking by hopefully 3:00pm and keep going until 7:00pm. On these days, I’m often setting up my tent in darkness. These are the longest days and the days that balance is crucial.

All of my clients know I’m on a bike trip and they’ve been largely supportive. They’re aware this trip might lead to some rescheduled phone calls and adjusted deadlines. For a couple clients I’ve slightly reduced hours, but that’s been replaced with more personal projects, so I’m just as busy. A few have asked for packages with all of the code and files I have, you know, in case I literally fall off a cliff.

I think my balance has been pretty good so far, but that doesn’t mean everything has been easy. There is a huge learning curve as I rethink how I do everything. It’s interesting to recognize what’s happening and observe how things fall into place. When I’m on my bike I’m usually thinking about some type of work problem or mentally troubleshooting.

The pressure is very real to keep up with all aspects of my life. I want to get enough biking done, but I also don’t want to fall behind on my business or new projects. Work, miles, and my general well-being all seem to compete for my attention. In those moments, a little voice sometimes creeps in my head and says “you’re not good enough” or “you’re not capable.”

But here’s what I keep reminding myself: This work stress would be there whether or not I’m biking. Pressure from deadlines exist when I’m sedentary as well. In a lot of ways, this bike trip is actually improving my mental clarity and creativity. The patience I’m learning from my mind and body as I bike is creeping into everything else I’m doing.

When you’re struggling up a hill, you can’t defeat it with aggression. You have to conquer it with a love for your body and appreciation of what it can do. All of my current interactions and efforts are stemming from that place of love and tenderness. Now that I’ve discovered this shift, I’m never letting it go. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a completely “normal” lifestyle. Some type of journey or elongated exercise will be part of my life forever.

But finding a balance on this trip isn’t only about working and biking. It’s also important to me to be in communication with my friends and family. If I’m not having a work call from my bike, I’m often talking to friends or my parents. I put just as much effort into an email to my mother as one to a client. Honestly, I miss people a lot more than I thought I would and crave to have some experiences with them.

This wouldn’t be possible without the supportive people in my life and they’re part of what keeps me going. I appreciate their comments and engagement and definitely plan to continue updating everyone on my trip. Keeping your life feeling balanced can be tricky no matter what. Overall, I don’t think this tripping is ruining my balance, but helping it. I’m learning how everything can naturally fall into place.