A couple of my closest friends are people who I met while volunteering in New Orleans. Daniel Baylis, whose sister’s family I stayed with in Victoria, is one of these friends. I met him at the start of his twelve-month journey around twelve countries on six continents. He is charismatic and an entertainer, but also an introspective and thoughtful. We connected immediately. He wrote a book about his journey called The Traveller, which I encourage everyone to read. You can find it on Amazon here. You can also check out his website, where he cataloged his journey and continues to update about once a month.
He sent me a series of questions; I am in the slow process of answering them. Here are some of the fun questions!
When you’re between cities, what does the typical evening look like for you?
Since I’ve been riding alone, my evenings have consisted of finding a campsite, making and eating dinner, and pitching my tent. If I’m at a campground and there’s still daylight, I might go for a dip in a river or lake, write postcards, or build a fire. I generally, then, go to bed pretty early. Right now, though, I am riding with my friend James and his dog, Abita, right now, so my routines are a little different. If there’s wood, James will definitely build a fire. He also often buys a beer towards the end of the day, so we might share a beer and watch the fire. By having some leisurely off-bike time, I have gotten to enjoy things that I wouldn’t have done by myself. Most spectacularly, I have been awake to watch the sunset’s full course every night. We also are up late enough to see the stars appear, and every night I’ve seen the Milky Way. We stay up later than I would normally and wake up later, also. It’s a change in routine and I hoping that when James and Abita leave, I’ll continue to build big fires and stargaze into the night.
Camping is great. When I know I’m not going to be at a campground, I try to scope out a place to camp before it gets dark. Everything about the logistics has worked out fine, but I will say that I am perpetually paranoid about wildlife. Lots of people have warned me about camping in bear country and I have had some less-than-fun experiences with raccoons while bike touring. Plus, many mornings I wake to the screeching sounds of ravens. I love camping, but I can’t say I love the wildlife.
After bicycling for 40-80 miles in a day, sleep comes easy. If I don’t sleep well, it’s usually because of wildlife or because I didn’t zip my sleeping bag up all the way and am cold. I typically sleep well–but I also am a deep sleeper normally.
What’s one creature comfort that you really miss? Be as vapid as you wish.
Pop music. I don’t know what the top 40 hits are right now, so I’m definitely losing my Jersey-cred every minute I don’t know them! In grocery stores and bars in New York City, top 40’s are always playing so I don’t need to go out of my way to hear the hits. Here, though, every gas station and restaurant plays country music. I actually like country music in the right setting, and this is definitely the right setting. I just really want to hear some Ke$ha.
Let’s talk about menstruation. How does it affect life on the road? (Heck, it’s an honest question that many women-folk might be wondering.)
It actually doesn’t affect life on the road at all for me because I have an IUD. An IUD is a form of birth control that lasts 5-7 years and requires no maintenance. Many women who have the hormonal IUD (which I have) do not have periods after the first six months after it’s been placed. I’ve been privileged that my insurance covered my IUD and that it has allowed for hassle-free mobility.
Another option while traveling for periods, which I have also used, is a menstrual cup. The most popular brand is the Diva Cup; it sold in Whole Foods and many natural food stores. I used menstrual cups for about five years before I got the IUD. Once you learn how to insert and take out the cup, traveling while menstruating is not an issue at all.
If you were a smutty pop song, which smutty pop song would you be?
Can you please name one piece of your gear after me? If so, please indicate which piece.
You can be my helmet. There. Daylis, the helmet.
Finally please select one of each of these polarizing choices:
Coffee or tea?
Coffee! I’m not addicted to it, so I just love the caffeine rush.
Mountains or ocean?
Right now, I’ll say mountains because I’m around mountains. But you don’t have to choose–Washington’s got both.
Pizza or burrito?
Tacos. Burritos are a joke once you’ve had some West Coast tacos with all the fixin’s
Bath or shower?
Shower. I don’t have the patience for baths. Plus, why would I want to wallow in my own filth? The real question, though, is river or hot springs. I like them both equally, I think, because of the way cold water regenerates my legs.
Skirt or pants?
Dress. I like to feel like a lady when I’m not on my bike, but skirts just don’t do it for me.
Hot and sunny or cool and drizzly?
Cool and drizzly. I am pretty heat-intolerant, and would prefer to warm up with a sweatshirt or by biking than to have the sun beating down on my back.