today I had the wonderful experience of riding the train from Oakland to San Luis Obispo. I’m meeting up with my good friend Mike, who right now is on a train here from LA, and tomorrow morning we tackle the 200-mile ride back home.
Travel in general, and trains specifically, are great for reflecting. Staring off into the beautiful mountain ranges, with the sun in the background, I realized that 10 years ago I was living in Central America and planning for my first ever bike tour. I had just graduated college, was stoked on living life and had places to be. So many new experiences were awaiting and I awoke every morning with an excitement for the future.
A lot of this excitement, in retrospect, comes from going. The simple act of getting from one place to another. One of my best memories of Belize is the first view you have when you exit the airport. BAM! Another country. My first time in Latin America. Ten years ago I also went to Chiapas for the first time and the bus ride through the mountains of Southern Mexico is still one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
I don’t have a philosophy per se, but I did make the conscious effort about 10 years ago that my political focus was going to be food and transportation. Why? Because everyone eats and everyone travels. Both are inherent political acts (denying they are is political!). And you know what? Both can be super fun! When my students complain about not having time to cook I ask them if they have time to spend with family. Or time to learn a valuable skill. If so, you have time to cook. Recognizing that eating and traveling are political acts is one thing, making them fun and awesome is another.
So here I sit in my favorite coffee shop (which I have been to many times, though I often forget the name) 200 miles from home, stoked to ride back. Like my trips across the country, I’ve traveled the California coast by plane, bus, train, car and bike (would love to walk or kayak, get in touch if you’ve got ideas!). Guess which is the most fun?
I get asked often to help people come up with training plans. It’s hard for me because I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. I ran 10 miles last weekend in the Berkeley hills and I was struggling…then I realized I hadn’t run since the Calico 50k. Oops. I had just forgotten to run.
My training advice is this:
Find physical activity you like.
Do it often.
Keep it fun.
Find unorthodox ways and places to do it.
Sign up for events that are over your head.
When it gets boring, find something else.
Now, unsurprisingly, I’m off to the local vegan Thai restaurant. Whatever you are up to tomorrow, enjoy it!