I have a problem to confess: I’m really forgetful about something. I will start feeling a bit down, like I’m not doing anything exciting or doing any interesting travel or challenging myself. Sometimes I add to that the fact that it’s winter and I can’t possibly go outside because I don’t like winter. And so I end up doing something I think is best called “toxic dreaming”.
Do you ever do this? You feel bad – in my case like my life is getting stagnant, predictable, and not challenging at all – and then you come up with all manner of solutions impossible to implement right away or even take the least action. I’ll end up coming up with ideas like “Maybe I can cycle across Canada sometime.” and then feel sad because at this point in life there’s no way I can get that much time off – and it might even be winter when I come up with it. Or I’ll come up with an idea for an epic trip: “Maybe I can rent an Airbnb in Bangalore and work out of our office there for a couple of months” and then shoot that idea down because airfares are high and at least at this point in life it isn’t a really practical option. Or maybe I could do a trail marathon somewhere warm like Arizona! Right, that costs money and I’m not able to run right now. Instead of a productive mental exercise generating a viable solution, it’s a ticket to a downward spiral.
The best alternative to that is to remember that not every exciting and fun project that takes me out of my comfort zone requires a week of 100 km bike rides or a $1,000 airplane ticket. It can be as simple as what I did a couple of years ago…
It was a very grey day in April – the kind of day it seems like winter is never going to be over. It was just above freezing, and it felt like the winter would just stretch on forever. And then, for some reason, it occurred to me: I could do something here.
I packed a pannier with a few things: Camp stove, coffee, french press, pre-packaged curry meal and cutlery. Then I bundled up and headed out. I rode about 45 minutes away to the end of the Leslie Spit – an outcropping made of landfill in Lake Ontario. But don’t let the word “Landfill” fool you. It is one of the treasures of our city with beautiful vistas and more species of birds than Algonquin National Park. In warmer weather it looks like this:
I rode out to the very end of it, A rocky space as far south as you can get in Toronto and sat at the edge of the water below a lighthouse. In the 5 kilometres I rode out to the end of the spit I didn’t see a single person and even the sea birds were laying low. The view from my spot was pretty nice:
I lit my camp stove and watched the water as my breakfast cooked. It didn’t take long for it to heat up despite the cold weather:
Once my breakfast was made, I put the water on for coffee. I hadn’t had my coffee yet!
Energized by the fresh air and sufficiently caffeinated I wandered around the end of the spit for a while exploring whimsical rock sculptures made by previous visitors. Then I climbed the hill to see the lighthouse and look down below.
You never know what you find when you leave your comfort zone.
After a few more minutes I got back on my bike and rode home, my mood changed. I didn’t need to travel half way around the world or outdo myself on a long bike ride to have an excellent day. I still forget this every now and again, but now this is here. So if you see that I’ve forgotten it again and am lamenting that there’s nothing fun to do, email me a link to this would you?