Why 3: Piercing the veneer of outside things

Sand Storm
Si and sand- Peru’s Northern Desert



Why does anyone leave the comforts of home to live on the road; regular warm showers, soft beds, abundant and varied food, the soft comfort of girlfriends, the warmth of families, and the banter brought out by a few pints and good company? Why leave it behind in search of the unknown?

Why did we choose to spend 18 months cycling 30,000km around the world?
Some days the answer seems so obvious, and some days… I have no idea.

Here’s some powerful prose from Shackleton‘s account of 18 months of bare bones survival in the Antartic which made me think.  

We had flung the adze down from the top of the fall and also the log book and the cooker wrapped in one of our blouses. That was all, except our wet clothes that we carried out of the Antartic, which we had entered a year and a half before with a well-found ship full of equipment and high hopes.

That was all of the tangible things; but in memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved, and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory. Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in all his splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.

Other answers to the question “Why?” can be found here and here


3 thoughts on “Why 3: Piercing the veneer of outside things

  1. Guys,
    Do you know Robert Service’s poems? Seems Shackleton was a fan…

    “Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
    groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
    Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
    “Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
    Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
    Have you seen God in His splendors,
    heard the text that nature renders?
    (You’ll never hear it in the family pew).
    The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things
    Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you. ”


  2. Alistair, I’ll have to add you to the twitter account. Friends of Service and MacNeice are not so very thick on the ground.

    I was just going to say, Fearghal and Simon, did you know about James Bowthorpe?: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/cycling/article6433066.ece

    Spotted the article at the weekend. I think I’ll be following http://twitter.com/globecycle.

    One by-product of your trip is to inspire with little daydreams us babblers who never do anything very adventurous. I think that’s a quantifiable good thing.

  3. Yes Daydreaming is definitely a quantifiable good thing: ) Even better when it turns into a measured plan : )

    @Al thanks for the tip, we’ve a few weeks off the bike now, a perfect space for some poetry and inspired daydreams.

    @Julian yeah I came across his expedition via Al’s twitter feed, fair play to James thats one ambitious task, we’ve only managed to crack 200km once in 9,500km, and he’s planning to do it for six months straight!! Jaysus.

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