As some of the readers here know, I’m planning to do a trip to Iceland. More specifically to cycle around the island. It is not something never done, or impossible. However, the closer the date of setting off approaches, the more doubts and uncertainties arise for me.
It is healthy to challenge yourself. There are challenges that are slightly beyond your capacity to cope and there are others much further out, into the unknown. The smaller ones we can do almost daily and grow. The bigger ones require much more energy, focus and planning, and we do them in larger intervals. (Google examples are regional championships for athletes and the Olympics). But we don’t need to be athletes or challenge ourselves only professional terms.
Why is a challenge healthy? Personally for me it brings life back into perspective. A challenge exposes the weaknesses one has and gives them an opportunity to see if they are going to quit just because things didn’t turn out as they should. Doing so on a daily scale is rewarding as it slowly builds our confidence and we start to take bigger and bigger steps.
However, it is foolish to approach the larger challenges without preparation (both mental and physical) and planning. In the example with the athletes they compete in regional championships to develop the skills to mentally control themselves under pressure. The daily physical trainings help them move closer to the place where they don’t need to think so much but execute the routine.
Nevertheless, whatever level of training we do, fear always comes in at some point and brings doubt and insecurity along. I spent a long time planning my trip and preparing physically, working through the ankle injury and gaining enough endurance and strength, testing my kit and researching the environment I would face. And still, just until recently my mind was full of doubt and even fear as I felt unprepared. Little problems keep coming up, I even broke my wrist just few weeks ago, personal issues and weak health. I think this is a more common process than people care to share.
The trip is happening, I have the tickets. I’ve decided to put myself in the situation and then deal with it. But it is not a foolish random act, I’ve trained, tested myself, prepared my kit as much as I can and I know I have done enough. Now it’s just about facing fear and keeping on.
P.S.: There will be more articles about the trip. Let me know what you are interested to here more of – the gear used, impressions of places, food, weather, preparation, etc.