As a cycle tripper, people often ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of trucks or robbers or snakes or whatever?” Lions and tigers and bears, essentially — mythical fears.
The question often surprises me because I think my greatest fear is enslavement by fear.
This dawned on me this morning as i was commuting from the lake where i’ve set up camp, to Kerang where i come to work.
I remembered the question and thought, Sure i’m a little bit afraid of those things — i have a natural and healthy wariness of them. But i cycle because i value freedom, i camp because i cherish nature as a cathedral, and i trust people because i’m a philanthrope — i love humanity.
The alternative, which i experienced for a decade in publishing and i guess the twenty years before that, is no longer tenable to me.
The alternative to freedom is the enslavement of fear.
No thanks! I’ll try my luck with the lions and tigers and bears.
I have changed my plans again, this time to stay in Greece for a few more months because i have a sense of home here, now. Something shifted when i decided to stay, which wasn’t as much a decision as it was a relinquishment, a letting go of some idea i had about the future.
I was going to Thailand and India via Australia, China, Laos and a few other places in between: back to Australia to get Mulga Bill Massive, my poor neglected touring bike, so i could cycle around in search of another community.
But around the thought of leaving Greece there was a feeling of an anxiety, which fell away when i knew i wouldn’t yet have to go back through Istanbul, Dubai, Adelaide, just to get my bike and ride to Byron or somewhere. I need community, communion, and here i have it, now, so why leave? Leaving a community in Greece to go in search of a community elsewhere is like going into a shop with a dollar and asking to buy a dollar.
When i realised this, the anxiety fell away and relief emerged, bright and luminous as the stars appear to be when you get out of the city for the first time.