now blogging at Black Dog Barking

Hello dear reader,

I have set up another blog where i’ll be making updates from now on: i decided (somewhat on a whim) to ride a bicycle around Australia to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and addiction. You can follow the adventure at Black Dog Barking, and i would really love to see you there: the more the merrier, and the louder the din we make about this epidemic of psychological (and spiritual) ill-being, the better.

Much love,

Ryan Bodhi Abhijan (Bodhi)

timmmmmmmmmbeeeeeer

I just heard a large branch or small tree falling in the bush behind where I’m camped. Of course I put my head out and looked at the bush directly behind me, as though such an appraisal could identify potentially fatal limbs or trunks, but anyway, i thought, “If it’s my time to go, I wouldn’t be unhappy that it was at the hands of nature.” I’m living the way i want to live, and to die living what I love would actually be kind of an honour.

where the wild lands are

What does “wilderness” mean to you? Is there any true wilderness left in Australia? If so, where is it? The coast around here in Mallacoota is called Australia’s Coastal Wilderness, but they’re logging in the state forests and pulling abalone out of the sea. If we “civilise” everything, where do we go to escape from ourselves and get back to a truly natural environment?

co-incidents

Coincidence is not fate, accident or luck, as the dictionary would have you believe. It is incidents colliding, collaborating, colluding, to show you that yes, you are on the right path. Seeing these signs as mere coincidence undermines the fact you were sufficiently aware to see the correlation between two seemingly random events, or incidences. Trust your judgment, and follow the signs.

apocalypse dreaming

I had a frighteningly real dream about the apocalypse last night, and wondered if dreams are a way of our subconscious fears expressing themselves to our upper-consciousness. What do you think? The worst thing was that I had a passive-aggressive friend with me, telling me where Massive was and that I needed to escape.

mechanarchy

I am feeling truly blessed to be getting some much-needed TLC for Massive from a talented and passionate bike mechanarchist in Mallacoota … repaired rear derailleur, new bottom-bracket bearing (a cycling milestone for me) and and and and and … a three-piece chain-ring set to replace the two-piece set I was running … so we can chew up even bigger hills, steeper gradients, and generally increase our accessibility to the sort of off-road riding that will characterise this tour. Oh, and a dynamo hub so that my energy will go into charging my phone and powering lights instead of just going into the ground.

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boiling brook

I am currently on the legendary Snowy River, between Orbost and Marlo in Victoria, experimenting with drinking boiled water – if I’m not squirting by tomorrow, I will feel a lot more confident about doing this when I actually need to. My next leg is Marlo to Mallacoota through national parks and state forests where, I was advised by the parkie, this need would be actual, due to the distance of the route and its relative remoteness. Fingers crossed that I don’t poo in my tent tonight.

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After waking up sober yesterday with James Brown and the sun shining, i rode to work and enjoyed the feeling of cold wind up my shorts …

don’t laugh!

Okay laugh!

I did, out loud.

Who are we to judge where pleasure comes from? The simple pleasures, like a cold wind up your shorts on a near-autumn day, are often the most inexplicably enjoyable. I will remember this, next time someone asks me why i’m so committed to going around commando.

Later that morning i made a wisecrack to a stranger about footpath traffic jams, surprising myself mostly—when i’m on top i’m a chatty guy, and i love making strangers smile on the street with unsolicited running commentary of our ongoings. It was an i’m-back moment.

Before work I bought a tub with wheels and a lid, to upgrade my composting system—lugging soggy boxes and never disposing of them wasn’t working. I collect scraps from the cafe where i work as a cook, and turn them into rich soil. Turning a steaming pile of compost on a mid-winter morning is a deeply satisfying thing for me, and harnessing the process of decomposition to create living soil is a rich living metaphor, like a lotus growing in the mud.

After work i moved some things to my new place with a lovely man friend i’ve made here. We got a little boozey and shared some green, inspiring conversation ensued and i was wired, so on the way home i rode around awhile, found the trials park in the centre of town and played. I nearly broke my ribs there last year, so i’m wary of the jumps, but i got my endo on and practised manualling, riding on the back wheel with the front wheel in the air. It was a pleasant reminder (for a cyclist whose primary riding is commuter style) of why i love to ride, why it’s such a valuable resource for me in times of depression and anxiety. Getting that balance right and feeling the machine move along smoothly underneath you while you carefully apply pressure to pedals and brakes … getting the balance right on a flowing piece of singletrack and feeling the machine bouncing along beneath you while you careully pick through rockpools and swooping gravel bends … it forces you to focus, and on the singletrack it forces you to breath … which is meditation right there. I feel like a chump sometimes, riding around on a mountain bike in a pair of cheap Globes i found … like an adolescent, perhaps because i’ve forgotten what is now a good time to remember from what’s his name … Wells, H G Wells …

Later i burped the back wheel trying to bunnyhop a curb, and inflicted a pinch flat the likes of which i have never seen, two big splits about an inch-long each. Having grown complacent from not getting a lot of flats lately (thank you goo, and marshmallow tyres), i wasn’t carrying a spare tube. So i patched that shit and got the tube to hold air, which felt like manifesting a minor miracle with my hands, right before one of the patches blew a seal and i walked home, yep … waiting for two patches to stick gave me enough time to sneak in a bit of roadside meditation that went down a treat, and i walked home exhausted and happy, until morosity got the better of me and by the time i got to bed i was stuck in a loop of making up highly unpleasant potential conversations with people i either don’t like or who i presume don’t like me.

Exhausting, no?

This is my mind, from celebrating wind on my balls in the morning to imagining all the shit i’d like to say to some of the ‘arseholes’ i’ve met lately in the evening. It was a big day, but shit, sometimes i flip between these two extremes within moments on a dull day. A big part of the reason i’m getting help to deal with some of these old patterns is i’m tired, oh so tired … when counsellors ask me if i ever feel suicidal, i say no because i don’t, not really, but i can sort of sympathise with the idea more these days, as an expression of some unbearable existential tiredness.

So i’m getting back on the horse—the horse that pulls the wagon? Literally, as in i’m going for another night ride with my housemate, and, ya know, figuratively.

Don’t look now, but i think i just saw my new housemate talking to our neighbour over the fence. #humansinthewild