It seems only logical after reflecting on last year that I look ahead to 2018. I’m not one for “new years resolutions” but I think everybody has certain goals that they would like to achieve or make some headway towards, and that’s as far as these “objectives” go for me I would say.

Cycling

I have already planned this year’s main cycle event with the lids. This has happened with a level of promptness and efficiency we’ve never seen before, even with me on board! Not only have plans been made much earlier than usual but we also seem to be doing it in a much more organised and logical way. This is very out of character.

I have explained the thought process involved in planning this trip here.

This year’s trip will be mostly Italy, working our way to Rome starting at Nice, France. I think this trip alone will be an achievement all on it’s own. Together, we face many challenges;

  1. This will be our longest ride together. We have been known to have a few tiffs along the way and the longer the ride is, the longer we have to endure each other’s company and the more likely there will be feuds.
  2. This will be our highest ride together. Although there will be substantial climbs througout, at the very beginning we will have 3 days of nothing but climb. This will be tough to get up and might even face us with challenges the higher we are.
  3. This will be our furthest ride together. We will be covering more miles on this trip than we have done together before. This will cause problems for Gal’s bad knees and offer plenty of opportunity for exhaustion, especially with those climbs. Luckily, with the longer time period we’ve planned, the daily average is lower than usual. So we can either take it slow and have really easy, short days; or cover the usual amount despite the hills and have more opportunity to have rest days in little beach paradises or explore the places we visit rather than simply passing through them and tick them off the map as we fly past daily life there.

I will also be travelling India for two weeks. This will reduce the time I can spend on bike trips. But I am very much looking forward to exploring India and as much as I love cycle touring I’m looking forward to having to cycle for a change. India will be a first in many ways. My first ever backpacking adventure, my first “travelling” type trip without my bike and my first holiday together with Hannah.

So I don’t expect to be able to achieve as much cycle touring as last year. But this doesn’t get me down because I know the main reason is that last year was possibly the best to date. But then I wasn’t expecting it… so you never know what is round the corner. I will try to do more weekend trips away to make up for some of the lost time cycle touring.

So essentially, my goal for this year is to finish Italy without anyone killing each other, and find more mini weekend tours to do at home.

Camping

The number of days sleeping outside last year totalled almost a quarter of the entire year, I think 23%, which is essentially a whole season. Aside having almost made it to the end of January without camping or cycling once, I feel like there isn’t much I can do to improve on last year other than trying to beat last years number. That being said, recently I’ve learned to be less obsessed with facts and figures and more focused on quality and fulfillment.

Rather than trying to necessarily beat last years total, in 2018 I will aim to do something I’ve wanted for sometime which is spend an entire week camping without going home. Still going to work but the rest of the time; resting, relaxing, sleeping and cooking, will all be done outside. There are some obvious challenges I expect to face with this but I’m hoping that the benefits will outweigh the difficulties.

I don’t want to camp for “more days” but to find out what I want from all of this. I never really know other than a sort of a test run for long term cycle touring, but in reality the cycle tours I do are much more useful for that, so there must be something else I’m looking for. The search to be offline, off-grid and semi-self-sustainable maybe, I don’t know?

Photography

This is starting to be one of the more interesting changes in my life despite being the most recent. Already, in the first weeks of 2018, I have been speaking to bands, club nights, venues and festivals for opportunities. All this will help me build up my experience and a portfolio.

As well as pursuing photography professionally I want to stay focused on what I’ve always loved about taking photos. I will start the challenges in the Photocrafty book as well as playing around more with my vintage analogue cameras. I would like to try and incorporate my analogue work professionally with bands. Where I don’t see them working so well in the live setting it would be fun to work off stage and behind the scenes.

One final goal is to work towards exhibiting some of my work. This could be a solo show or as part of a group exhibition. I understand there might be a lot of ground work and research needed as well as a personal search into where my photography meets my heart.

Ah yes.. all this and  don’t bloody lose anything!!!

Despite feeling like I don’t have enough time, I’m constantly picking up new things to try. While these aren’t as important, they’re always there on the backburner. Learn French, meditate more, start yoga again, read more (finish Shantaram before going to India), practice mindfulness, do 100 pushups a day for a month, learn to play trombone, join a band, learn to fly a drone, lower my cholesterol, be more focused, spend less money but buy more things for my bike? learn cinematography, video production and editing.. I wonder sometimes why I push myself so much.

For now, I will just have a cup of tea and go to bed.

Saddle Life x


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