We all do it. Sheepherders, bro-grammers, Yanomamo Warriors, archaeologists, your Aunt Johanna, the dude with the weird ear that pumps gas on Lombard across the street from the Fred Meyer—everybody, all of us, we all do it.
“From a place of comfort in the now, we agree to do something that we know will be painful, in the future. And we do it for myriad reasons.”
- We think we like pain.
- We gloss over the imminent pain and focus only on the good stuff like exotic foods and the chance to fart a few thousand postcards.
- We think we need a challenge.
- Peer pressure.
- We like telling stories and that’s where you get stories. Out there in the shit.
- A Type-Two Fun addiction.
- We’re paid to.
- Adventure, whatever the fuck that means these days.
- To impress in the pursuit of a love interest.
- Et cetera, et cetera.
The point is, whatever the reasons, we all do it. Sometimes we even pay for it. In fact, we almost always pay for it. With money, sanity, our time, and all kinds of other shit we seldom squander because they are finite resources we consider precious and hold dear. To recap: throughout our lives we all pay—over and over again—for the pleasure of fucking ourselves up. It’s a thing. In fact it’s so much of a thing I don’t want to talk about anymore. It’s boring and you already get what I’m saying. Because like, you wouldn’t even be here reading this if you didn’t have an active interest in paying for pain. I mean, we here at Yonder (for equality purposes) try to run the whole spectrum of the Epic Scale and all, but even easy AF bike-packing causes discomfort. For example, that day in Virginia when we rode to the river for tubing and to eat the World’s Largest Pizza, well it was hot and I personally got bitten by a shit-storm of mosquitos. Also my phone didn’t work in that campsite. Which, when you think about it, we spent a lot of time in the campsite without service.
“Hey there’s no shame in my game, those non-internet-having hours, of which there were many, was a form of pain for me.”
Again, all that masochism hoopla is a given. Moving on. To the second part. The part that comes after (the royal) we have agreed and committed to the doing of something exceptionally stupid. The part called Pathological Underestimation. I don’t know if PU is as ubiquitous as the propensity for pain thing, and maybe that’s why I wanted us to talk about it, to flush it out, to see if it, too, is as common and universal a thing as the first thing, but whatever the case, what I do know is that I am, me, personally, a big time offender. Consistently, invariably, always, 1000% of the time, no matter how hard I try, no matter how much experience I have to draw from, regardless of the research, in spite of generous contingency allowances, and on and on and on, I get it wrong every time. You know what, it’s almost funny. Almost. Except I’ve been doing this adventure shit in one form or another my whole life. At first for fun and because I was compelled to. And lately, as in the last ten years, because it’s my job. Speaking of which, the route for this trip was fluid up until the veeeeery last moment. Going into to the Route Planning & Finalization meeting in the lobby of Rooms Tbilisi roughly eleven hours before our Delica minivan bomb trolley departure to Svaneti we had a rough-but-solid outline for our trip. We had a start. Actually, we had two starts. And we had a finish. Actually, we had three potential finish options. And we knew what day we were likely to finish on, either Wednesday or Thursday, we just had to pick one.
I chaired the meeting. We sat on a sofa: Brian on my left, Kyle on my right, Tazer across from us in a chair. Laptop open, we began the process of commitment and solidification. Sure, sure we left some options open, in this biz contingencies are a must. But you know how it goes, we had to get dropped off specifically somewhere. And we had to get picked up just as specifically somewhere else, and while a window of an hour or two is normal in these situations, we had to narrow it down to a single day at least. Anyway, the planning went really smoothly. An hour later we had this itinerary (reproduced verbatim for the purpose of integrity):