It's August 3rd, I'm preparing to leave my ramshackle house on the North Cornwall coast with the firm(ish) intention of having the adventure of a lifetime in the Pacific North West of the USA, Tibet and, rather fancifully, wherever the wind blew me afterwards. I'm apprehensive for a multitude of reasons but the prime candidates are;
a) "Cockkkkkkkkkkkk, I haven't done enough preparation to ride 700 miles in the Oregon wilderness"
b) Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, I've made some pretty big promises to some super talented people and I'm not sure I can deliver on them.
c) "I'm 39 years old, am I really about to spend my life savings, meagre as they are, on a fairly half baked adventure?".
d) "Why, in God's name, don't you just go surfing?"
e) Simply a non-descript; "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!"
But still, I got on the train from Truro and now I'm sat writing this in a wonderfully 'Nepali' internet Cafe in Pokhara with a severe case of 'man-flu' (I may be dying) a week after completing the Annapurna Circuit, self supported, on my mountain bike.
If I was simply reporting the stats I'd be abe to say that, "yes; I did ride 700 miles of Oregon backcountry singletrack", "yes; I got myself to Tibet and experienced the most alien and challenging of cultures" and "yes; the wind blew me to Nepal, one of the most incredible places on earth, where I rode my bike over 5400m Himalayan passes". This however would be the very epitome of only telling half the story. I'm ashamed to say that apprehensions a) - e) above were well founded and still haunt me to this day (in fact they've been joined by f) - z) now too!), in short I'm fully fying by the seat of my pants.
One thing I have particularly struggled with is the creation and publication of content. For almost all of the awesome companies who supported me this was the only thing they wanted in return. Now, I am wary of seeming to make excuses here and I'm leaping from subject to subject, but I feel it might be important in terms of context to say that I'm on this sabbatical primarily because I'm suffering with mental health problems, more accurately depression, anxiety and severe difficulties at work. It's this last one"difficulties at work" that I feel bears most relevance in this situation and to get straight to the point; for the last 3 years at least I have suffered with a shaming, paralysing feeling of procrastiation in almost all aspects of my life. In particular the production of written content. In short, I've made a large, pencil shaped rod for my own back!
One awesome thing that I have (re)learnt over the past 4 months is how to 'gun-it' again. How to, in the face of only worsening odds, simply go for it, hold on tight and wish for the best. From bombing near vertical Nepali scree slopes and telling beautiful women that I think they are beautiful, to riding on with broken ribs this has worked as well as it always did. So far!
With reference to the "written content" I speak so shamefacedly about there is hope. I have, for the first time in many years, been keeping a journal for pretty much the duration of my time away from the UK. It is these scribbles and childlike sketches that have nudged me to take one of my biggest 'gun-it' decisions...........
I'm going to write a book. I'm going to practice here of course, on those 7 of you (AKA Mum) who click on it. So, here goes, thanks for reading this far and welcome to; - a year with my wolf - by Dom Ferris
Namaste (when in Rome eh!),
Ps; I want to thank Alex from ReStrap bike packs for lighting a fire under my arse. These guys are a small business and Alex stuck his neck out to support me. In short I hadn't been keeping to my end of the bargain and I had the cheek to ask for more support. Alex made it super clear what he thought of that and as much as it stang, I am hugely grateful to him for doing so. I hope that the posts (and book) that follow go some way to repaying them and all of the people who have supported me.
Thanks also to these guys for their support and patience;
Cotic Bikes, Finisterre, Patagonia, Taunton Leisure, Trek Bontrager UK, Plastic Freedom Leisure Lakes Bikes, The Refill Store, Shed Cycle Service, Indie Kitchen, Primary PC Solutions, River City Bicycles, Extravagant Yak Travel, Wandering Wheels, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, the Trash Free Trails #trashmob and my Mum!