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Old 03-20-10, 08:56 AM   #1
nancy sv
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What do you do when you're in a funk?

Ok, OK - I know I'm living a dream. I know I am extraordinarily lucky to have the opportunity to bike around the world with my precious children. I know I have absolutely no right to complain...

But darn! I just feel like crap right now. I feel like I've been dragged through the mud, spat upon, kicked viciously, and discarded for dead. I feel like nothing - absolutely nothing - is going our way. And the worst part is that I'm blaming Peru for it all since it started at the border.

I know, intellectually, that this isn't Peru's fault. I know, intellectually, that there are wonderful people in Peru and great scenery and all that - but I'm just not seeing it right now. All I want to do is run back to Ecuador with my tail between my legs.

My boys are so determined to cycle all the way to Patagonia in order to break the record, so I'll keep plugging along, but I am hating it. Seriously - this sucks. What kind of things have you done to get through these funks? I know I'm not unique in going through this stage!

thanks for your help!
Nancy
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Old 03-20-10, 10:02 AM   #2
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Can you stop somewhere for a few days and NOT be a family on bikes, but instead be a family? You may just need a few days off the bike.
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Old 03-20-10, 10:31 AM   #3
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That's what we thought we were going to do here in Trujillo. There is a very famous Casa de Ciclcistas here, so we decided we would spend a whole week here. We needed to rebuild the bikes, but figured that would take two days max. The rest of time I wanted to spend reading, playing at the beach, visiting the pre-Incan ruins outside town, etc... But that hasn't happened.

The two days we planned for maintenance ended up being two days of working on the bikes and THREE WHOLE DAYS sitting around waiting for the mechanic. Literally - we've been sitting there outside his shop waiting for him to show up or waiting for him to finish with another bike (that came in after us, I should add). Just sitting. We couldn't go anywhere for fear of missing him and we couldn't do anything. We couldn't go to the beach or the ruins. I couldn't work on the website. In short - this week has been even more frustrating that the rest of Peru - and it was supposed to be our break to rejuvenate us!
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Old 03-20-10, 10:41 AM   #4
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First of all, while cycle touring can be wonderful, the lows are also a lot lower than in "normal" life. Also, cycle touring as a vacation and cycle touring as a way of life are two very different beasts to tackle. You're out in the world. You're vulnerable, and the lifestyle is not always easy. Yes there are wonderful days, but it is also really, really unbelievably hard sometimes, and a hell of a lot of work. I wouldn't beat yourself up too badly about feeling in a funk!

Slow down. Get off the bikes. Don't journal, don't update your website, don't upload photos, don't cook dinner, don't camp, don't navigate, don't plan. Rest. Take a break. Splurge on something nice.

Be together as a family without a goal for the day.

What gets me through the tough times? A lot of positive things, like Tyler encouraging me, friends and family encouraging me, memories of good days and the logical assumption that things will get better. Also ice cream, hot showers, a real bed, and sleeping in.

I really hope things get better for you soon! I'll be sending good vibes down to Peru for you!
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Old 03-20-10, 10:44 AM   #5
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Thanks so much! It's good to know I'm feeling normal! I think I probably just needed to vent - now that it's out I can start getting over it. That's my hope anyway.

I will be flying to New York City from LIma a couple weeks from now and i can't wait! It'll be soooo good to get back to the USA and STARBUCKS! (Even if it will only be for a week or so...)
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Old 03-20-10, 10:48 AM   #6
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Hello Nancy,

Why do we get into funks anyways? A funk can occur when life happens in a way contrary to the way we think it should be happening .... and us resisting what's going on.

Resistance sucks the life out of you.

I can't tell you what to do, or how to do it, but I do know you have the capacity to get through this. If you didn't. .. . . you would never have made it this far in your journey!

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Old 03-20-10, 10:48 AM   #7
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nancy i never in a million years thought i would see the day that your complaining about been fed up.
your my hero nancy hard as bloody nails i mean that in a nice way,
ah your just having a bad time right now it will pass and you'll wonder what was that all about.
dig in nancy we all know your good at that ,think happy thoughts .
im sitting here a thousant miles away thinking about you and your family and what a fantastic journey your on .
keep safe.
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Old 03-20-10, 10:50 AM   #8
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Almost missed this one!

Hope you get rejuvenated QUICKLY!!!!
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Old 03-20-10, 11:10 AM   #9
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Any extreme lifestyle needs healthy time away in order to truly enjoy such a life. It's good to hear you are going to NYC - I think your much needed rejuvenation will stem from there. I agree with what those above me have said. You need time completely away from the touring life, as if you were to take on a completely different role for x number of days or weeks. I have no doubt in my mind after such a break, you will be all the more likely to want to dive back in, head first (it always seems to work that way).
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Old 03-20-10, 11:25 AM   #10
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From one teacher to others: consider this a teachable moment in how to deal with adversity even when you feel that your last nerve is frayed.
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Old 03-20-10, 11:56 AM   #11
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Nancy, I've followed your trip from the beginning, and really been worried with you during your days in Peru, based on the experiences you guys have had since crossing the border from Ecuador. I loved Peru when I visited a couple of years ago, but the coast was definitely not my favorite part -- and your photos suggest you have not had much great scenery to help take the sting off the sand, criminals, wind and bad drivers.

I don't have a lot of great advice, other than to say that there are better days -- better roads, scenery, food, and everything -- ahead of you. I do think you would extract some value of what you're going through now if you find time to write it all down so you can refer back to it when you (successfully) complete your journey. I just finished Barbara Savage's great book on her round-the-world bike tour and I was struck on how much detail she had retained from some of the grim parts of her trip (it was the kind of thing I think most people would suppress when the trip is over). So get it all down in words somewhere, so you can get it back in the future when you want to talk or write about this part of the trip.

I don't know if you guys have chosen a route through the rest of Peru yet (after Lima), but I do hope you find time to visit the Inca highlands as a break from your journey. I guess that Macchu Picchu is closed for now because the rains washed away the rail track, but you, John and the kids can get a lot out of a visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley (Pisaq, Ollyantantambo, etc.).

Hope things turn around quickly for you --

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Old 03-20-10, 12:11 PM   #12
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Don't give up Nancy! Letting go of control is hard when things aren't going your way. When you truly stop resisting the hardship you perceive you're experiencing, you'll immediately gain the perspective needed to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Try to remember that you willfully chose a path full of challenges. Try to remember that at one point you believed those challenges would be meaningful to you. When Tara or I are lacking in discipline, I say this like a mantra: "Life isn't about what you want right now, it is about what you said you would do."

You can do it!
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Old 03-20-10, 02:27 PM   #13
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Many, many thanks to all of you. I've read and reread all your comments and you all have so much wisdom. Peru has been tough for us - damn tough. Ever since we crossed the border we've been battling one thing or the other and I think I'm just simply tired. Pure and simple. And I might be getting sick. John is sick today and that usually means I'll be getting it too.

Right now I guess all I can is put one foot in front of the other and plod along. I know this coast will continue to be really, really hard and things won't improve until we get up to Cuzco after about 4 or 5 weeks of hard riding. I've determined that I will not give up at a low - if we call this trip off it will be when everything is going well.

Thanks again for your words of wisdom. I'll just let the tears fall for now and forge ahead.
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Old 03-20-10, 02:34 PM   #14
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Another really frustrating part of this is that I can't be honest in my blog. I did really let it out in one post - and lots of Peruvians who are following us were really hurt by my comments. So here I am, trying to sugar coat everything in my writing when what I want to do is scream and shout, "THIS SUCKS!" How do I find a balance there?? Right now, I'm simply not writing or writing about trivial stuff, but I don't know how much longer I can do that.
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Old 03-20-10, 02:52 PM   #15
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You aren't the only one to occasionally get in a funk on an extended tour. I also had that happen once or twice, particularly when I transitioned from an area that I'd enjoyed and gotten used to as well - into one where several things seemed to get worse.

For example, after spending most of eight months cycling Australia I flew into New Zealand just before the holidays. Somehow it seemed like the roads were narrower, busier and there were more little hills. In hindsight it wasn't that bad but somehow the combination of the transition and some quiet days over the holidays didn't help.

On a long trip, I'll have those occasional down or worse times and locations - though it somehow needs to be part of the overall mosaic that goes with cycling across continents. I'm goal oriented enough that in those locations I focus a bit more on how far I'm going and how I'm getting through than other times when I settle back and live more for the moment. I'm at least as happy *not* taking as many rest days in the more obnoxious places as I'm getting past them quicker.

As far as writing in a public journal and being conscious that local people you meet are reading. I do some of that too, occasionally filtering things knowing that it feels good to write it out but being a little careful how I describe visits and encounters with people that may read things later. For me it was sometimes less of an issue since I was sometimes writing a journal on paper and then deciding later what I actually typed up and posted in the blog. So it is in my original notes but not posted on internet.
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Old 03-20-10, 03:36 PM   #16
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This may seem way off but I suffer from depression from time to time and I hated antidepressants so my Dr recommended B vitamins. Apparently the stuff found in B vitamins help fight the funk and seeing as you're traveling you may not be getting enough in your daily food source to make up what your body is burning up. If your near a drug store try and find a B vitamin complex or a multi vitamin that contains the B vitamin group with fish oil. Now keep in mind that I'm not a Dr and can only advise on what helps me.

Best wishes....
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Old 03-20-10, 05:38 PM   #17
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What I want to know is what do you do if you are out on tour and get really sick? We have a nice warm spring day around hear yesterday and today and I had the day off on Friday.

I was all excited that I would be able to go out for a ride after everything being covered in snow for what seemed like an endless winter.


Friday morning, I was just in kind of "a funk" and really did not feel like going anywhere so decieded to stay put.

Well good thing because things got progressively worse throughout the day. I won't go into any gross details but it was ugly, really ugly. I am still not feeling 100% a day later.

I could not help but thinking, what had I been on tour? I'm just glad I was in the comfort of my home. I can't imagine what it had been like if I was in a hotel room or worse out camping.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:35 PM   #18
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Spinnaker - it really depends on the situation. there is no one answer about what to do when sick because every situation is different.

I wrote up a blog entry a while ago about that issue: http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=69
And this is a day just last week when three of us woke up sick in the middle of the desert of northernn Peru: http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=1297
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Old 03-20-10, 09:41 PM   #19
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Nancy,

I'm glad you feel comfortable in this place to vent. I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable in letting it all hang out in your blog, but at least you can scream "THIS SUCKS" here. A healthy thing for sure.

My son had some serious medical issues a few years back and I can well remember a few times when I thought the hard days would never end. But one phrase that helped me get through was, "This too shall pass." When you are in the thick of crappiness it is easy to get in the mindset of thinking it'll last forever, but it won't. A turning point will come in the near future and then you'll say to yourself - I can do this, it'll be okay. May that point come soon for you, until then remember, this too shall pass.

hugs, Erik
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Old 03-21-10, 09:04 AM   #20
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I keep thinking that Eric! I keep thinking things will get better tomorrow and then tomorrow comes and it sucks just as much as yesterday did... This is the longest stretch of YUCK that we've dealth with - it's just a non-stop, unrelenting battery of crap.

that being said, I am bracing myself for more of the same until we head up into the mountains. It'll be around 3 week of riding (but I'll fly to the USA in the middle of it so it will be another 4 or 5 weeks total) but we'll just keep those feet going around in circles and will get there. Slowly, but surely.
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Old 03-21-10, 09:53 AM   #21
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Yes, indeed.

Short answer - - Chocolate, lots of it.

Long answer - - I have been sitting under a scraggly black spruce in the pouring rain in the Yukon - which really offers no protection - combined with having pipe problems - and have wondered, "Why am I doing this?"

What usually works best is finding a little time for respite if the funds permit. It doesn't have to be super luxurious, just a little pause with some amenities.

PS - And make the boys of all ages do all the errands, too.
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Old 03-21-10, 10:54 AM   #22
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I was 2/3 of the way through cross country trip last week and got very sick. I tried to continue 3 separate days and each time couldn't do it. I ended up in an emergency room hardly able to breathe. So I spent a lot of money flying home, shipping the bike etc. I am very disappointed to not finish but am feeling better at home and plan to finish next winter. But I still feel like maybe I should have toughed it out. Not an easy decision either way. But I am thankful for all the strangers that helped me out and probably saved my life.
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Old 03-21-10, 12:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
I will be flying to New York City from LIma a couple weeks from now and i can't wait! It'll be soooo good to get back to the USA and STARBUCKS! (Even if it will only be for a week or so...)
If you are highly invested in making a certain destination in a certain amount of time, you need to suck it up. If you are interested in having the best possible time and are willing to extending your trip or fail to make a certain destination, do easy days, take a break, treat yourself, add some variety to your life, etc. You could easily park your bike for a month in Peru and see some amazing stuff. Do what matters most - you can't do better.

You can find Starbucks in Lima, BTW, at the mall in/near Miraflores. I spent some months in South America and remember feeling overjoyed at finding Starbucks in Lima. I don't even visit Starbucks at home but it was heaven. I found decent coffee surprisingly hard to come by in Peru given that they are a coffee growing nation. Instant coffee =
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Old 03-21-10, 06:34 PM   #24
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If you are highly invested in making a certain destination in a certain amount of time, you need to suck it up. If you are interested in having the best possible time and are willing to extending your trip or fail to make a certain destination, do easy days, take a break, treat yourself, add some variety to your life, etc. You could easily park your bike for a month in Peru and see some amazing stuff. Do what matters most - you can't do better.

You can find Starbucks in Lima, BTW, at the mall in/near Miraflores. I spent some months in South America and remember feeling overjoyed at finding Starbucks in Lima. I don't even visit Starbucks at home but it was heaven. I found decent coffee surprisingly hard to come by in Peru given that they are a coffee growing nation. Instant coffee =
We actually have plenty of time - that's not the problem at all. We want to arrive in Tierra del Fuego in 10 - 12 months and it's only about 5000 miles away. We could take time off the bikes, but we find our time off even more frustrating than our time cycling!

That's hilarious about Starbucks - I never go there when I'm home either, but am really looking forward to a frappuchino! Maybe I'll search for it in Lima when we get there, or maybe it'll be my NYC treat!
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Old 03-21-10, 08:17 PM   #25
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Is the rest of the family pretty happy, or are you all in a funk?

I don't have any advice for you, but I hope things go better for you soon, and you find a way to get out of your unhappy headspace.
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