Comox Valley, Canada - Polarsteps

Hi friends, Thanks for bearing with us as we figure out this tool (while simultaneously packing up our entire lives and starting this bike trip). We wanted to try blogging with Polar Steps because the organization of photos and entries on a map made the most sense for slow travel over land. Some things to know: -The tracking dot looks like it's live, but it usually won't be-- our movement is being tracked by a tablet shoved in a pannier, and it only updates when we sign onto a wifi network. This is good news to us-- we'll be doing a lot of sneaky camping and don't want to publicly broadcast our exact whereabouts. -The mileage automatically logged here is based on as-the-crow-flies leaps between places where the tablet grabbed our location-- so it's inaccurate. We have simple bike odometers tracking our mileage accurately, and we'll include that when we post (we're otherwise not stats-oriented, so you won't know how many vertical feet we climbed up a __% grade, but total mileage feels nice to keep track of). -We'll post when we can, but it may often be infrequent-- we're spending a lot of hours pedalling and then passing out at the end of the day, probably in the woods at the side of the road, and won't have continous internet access. We'll be taking lots of photos and writing in our journals, and we'll document here when we're able. -Because we're using multiple devices, this will probably work in a non-linear way where we go back to a previous step and add more photos/videos/notes. Our overall plan is loose and open to inevitable change, but roughly, we've planned to potentially be moving through the world on our bikes for the next few years: an idea we hatched on our way from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific coast in 2015. Cycling is slow and we'll be planning one or two steps at a time; for now, we're heading down to Victoria to say goodbye to lots of dear friends, and then we'll be travelling toward Newfoundland with the intention to then hop the ocean and keep going. ~Sara hey there everybody, This is my first entry since the beginning of the trip; shifting out of farm life - a lifestyle that is very intentional- back into travelling over the landscape on a bicycle has been a whirlwind , and at times a waterfall, of emotions and feelings. This trip was first talked about during our first bike tour back in 2015 and has been a focal point that Sara and I have planned both of our lives around, as well as together, since then. Leading up to this trip felt easier in some ways and harder in others, similar in most ways and at times very different. For a start we both have different bikes for this tour; both steel frame 90s mountain bikes, fitted with butterfly handlebars, masquerading as tour bikes. A far better knowledge of bicycle mechanics has us leaving with any tools we may need, on bikes that are fully tuned and an understanding on how to fix 'em. Something completely lacking on the last tour.... needless to say, having this knowledge feels much better. Our previous experience has us with a sense of what to expect and how to do this. The first night of stealth camping on this trip felt very comfortable, something that has taken me a while to get used to because i expect baddies to just pop out of the woods or from over the hills. Getting through the biblical proportions of rain on day 2 was a reminder of the far shitter, colder rain days I've endured and that perpective accounts for so much. These rain days also have me appreciating sunny days with appreciation and an awareness of my moods.... and how something as simple as kindness or a kitkat bar can go along way. The thing that makes this tour so different from the last one is that our lives are going to be on these bikes for not just a few months but, knock on wood-lucky stars, for a few years. Packing up our current lives into storage boxes or , moreso, getting rid of items was a bit of a process of letting go. While loading up bags of stuff for donations it really stuck me after i leave this world this is what is likely going to happen to my material items; dispersed one way or another back out into the world somewhere. Nothing is going with me . It was also quite the process of having feelings attached to items; this really decided what I considered keeping and what I was willing to let go. A good number of things I sat on and in the end decided to let go because there was a limited amount of room for transport. Afterwards I did feel a great deal of relief once so many items were gone and I didnt have to be responsible anymore. Packing up the bikes and getting back on the road felt so familiar and such a natural state to be in immediately after we started cycling. There is such a sense of feeling free while on a bike, even if it just a small trip to work or just across town. The freedom felt on longer rides, or tours, is like nothing else i have experienced. The responsibilities that come with being tethered in one spot are not there; I feel a small escape from the capitalistic system this way. Especially with the generosity of those who will host us. I am immensely privileged to even be thinking of travelling in this manner . The largest costs of living- rent, gas, insurance, etc- will not apply for the next few years. This is also the only manner in which i feel i will ever be able to see the world; I am never going to make an excess of money. There aren't too many things that I could do for the exchange of money that would not feel like my soul is being sucked, my time stolen, making lots of money usually = heavy exploitation of some sort and i don't ever want to not be my authentic self. You also can't eat money. Travelling on bicycle also opens one up to experiences and interactions that would never happen otherwise. One is immersed directly in one's environment; whether that is with the natural world or a city or people there aren't barriers. We had read quite a number of blogs, books and followed individuals who have done what we hope to do: travel the globe by bicycle. These people seem to mostly be straight, cis couples or solo cis men. There have been amazing accounts of solo cis women we have read and followed who have done this despite the misogynistic world we live in. The only other queers i have read about are two trans women who cycled the UK ( with a trans pride flag mounted to thier bikes) and maybe a couple of cis dutch women (they never mentioned being queer openly on thier blog, but there are definitely vibes). We are both very aware that the world is misoygynistic and not always queer friendly (trust me, I know this from experience and canada isn't an exception) but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do this, it just means doing this trip in spite of these factors. I am honestly not sure how I - a non binary trans person- will be read in various parts of the world. I know from travelling in morocco (where queerness is illegal) people are still kind and very hospitable but....just dont talk about it. But that is not so different from certain types of people here in canada. Even then, the couple of locals i met and connected with in morocco were safe to be open with. Sara feels confident, and is very sweet in sayng, that she feels my personality has/can disarm people who may hold that prejudice. So yeah, here goes nothing. So, if you are reading this I hope you have fun following us along on our journey! It is such a pleasure and a treat to have you witness this! enjoy! Ssdgm, Kini (they/them)
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