In my mind I am an adventurer, an explorer, a seeker of the world around me. I look forward to the next big project. Whether it’s cycle touring, backcountry exploring, peak bagging, whatever. I cherish the long days on the bike saddle, or off the beaten path.
In reality I am a 38, soon to be 39 year husband and father working in the city.
I live in Richmond, a suburb just south of Vancouver BC. Flat. No hills. Just endless blocks of houses that make up the chess board of my city. I have lived here for most of my life. Over 30 years I have called it home. It is about the least outdoorsy community in metro Vancouver.
My younger years were often spent making my way to the North shore to hike in the local mountains. Mt Seymour, Cypress, Squamish area and such. All of which (on map) are not too far from home. Close enough to get out day tripping on the mountains and be home for dinner, or the nearest pub to home.
Unfortunately geographically there is the entire city of Vancouver to drive through before I can get to the North shore. This means that every time I want to escape the city and clear my head in the mountains for a day, I literally have to drive right through downtown Vancouver. This creates a situation where my escape is dependent on the timeframe of rush hour traffic. Jesus. Rush hour dictates my freedom. This is ironic. Right?
So what does this all mean? Time. Time is of the essence. It is crucial that it be maximized. It means that at times a compromise is made with heading to the hills. Realities of my life situation (currently potty training my son), selling our house, buying a house, proximity to a major city, and time restraints requires choosing days to be “maintenance” days. Days where I can’t freely jaunt into the backcountry for a bag night on the trail, or a cycle tour of Vancouver island. But rather days to get out and explore, if even for just a few hours.
Now this is not meant to come across as negative. In fact, quite contrary. This is the understanding that things don’t have to be all or nothing. I am not a paid athlete, not sponsored to galavant on mountainsides. I work full-time and am trying to raise my son right, all well balancing the domestic life and the adventure life I hold so dear.
So “maintenance” days, to me, are a version of adventure. My adventure. A chance to get out and flex my skills, get the heart moving. A microcosm of my lifestyle. Late night drop in sessions at climbing gyms with little to no energy are a regular occurrence. Mornings when my wife is cool with me escaping to hike around local trails solo, while she works the potty training magic with our son are absolutely golden, and I try to make the most of them.
So while the prospects of bigger projects are just around the corner (namely the mastery of potty time as well as the selling of our house, and all that that entails), time will remain of the essence, and maintenance days shall be embraced. Even if that means driving through downtown rush hour traffic.