Shipping my insecurities home



A member of a backpacking forum said that you pack your insecurities.  I’ve found this to be true particularly in cases of nebulous travel where you don’t exactly know what’s going to happen and you tend to pack for “what if.” 

What if my gear or brake cables snap? 
What if the temperature drops to 20°?
What if I can’t find a store that sells fuel for my stove?
What if I get bored?
What if I need to carry water from a stream?
What if I need something but I don’t have it?

These are all questions I answered by packing more and more stuff.  Part of me knew that I was taking more than I needed, but the other part of me said “shutup, that hill isn’t going to climb itself!”  Now that I have more than 2,500 miles under my belt (feet?, ass?) I had the confidence to reevaluate what was actually necessary.  The result is the above picture. 

Through a combination of smaller frame bags, moving stuff around, throwing stuff out, and most importantly shipping stuff home I was able to get rid of both my front panniers.  The rear panniers are also easier to access without unpacking everything on top of the rack.  Hopefully this will make for a better ride.

I’m still carrying more than I need.  Which I’m fine with because I still feel like a cycling noob.  As I go farther and experience more I’ll understand better what it is I’m doing and be able to travel less encumbered.  That feels like the start of something profound or at least a trite anology, but I’ll leave it to the reader to figure it out.  Not because it will make it more meaningful (though it probably will), but because I have a 12,000ft high mountain pass to cross and I’ve procrastinated long enough.

5 Responses to “Shipping my insecurities home”

  1. Dave's Dad says:

    And so Gibbs discovers that cycling across the USA is much like life: mailing home the crap you don’t need and hanging on to the really important stuff. (The package arrived today.)

  2. Staples says:

    This has easily become my favorite blog on the internet. Makes one want to train to do something like this as well. Cohen and Jeff and I are consistently discussing the latest posts and the progress you’re making. I’ve been caught more than once checking this from work each afternoon. How cold has it been in the mountains so far? Have to imagine its pretty frosty already this time of year.

    • Gibbs says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog and that its taking you away from more productive things. Its actually pretty warm this week. The coldest night I should see is 35° and during the day its been 70s.

  3. Jonathan says:

    We biked down taller mountains, how hard can going up be?

    Keep on trekking (that would be funnier if you had a Trek bike)

  4. Steve C says:

    looks good