The Resilience Spectrum – where are you on the scale?

Bike trip end of day 3 of 7…100_0971

I think it was as my kidneys felt like they were going to explode out the side of ribcage that I thought about what I was actually doing.

100_0970I was cycling downhill at a good pace after having just finished a fourth mammoth climb for the day at km 70. The reference to my kidneys was because the road I was riding on is more of a volcanic mountainside than a road but it is technically on a map and called a road.

So the summary of the facts at that current position as I rattled down the ‘road’ not being able to feel or control my hands, feet and kidneys I put together these realities:

  • My arse was coming off a 35km torture from the day before as I cycled and carried 20kgs on my back without panniers, trailer or any other form of cycle touring gear
  • My bike is a 20 year old Japanese mountain bike bought for $80 in Kampala
    • It is a ladies bike (small frame), has no suspension and gives me 15 gears to use
  • I don’t have any riding equipment like clip in shoes or padded bike shorts
  • I’ve decided to cycle from Kabale to Kisoro in Uganda and then to Rwanda and 500km around this new country to me
  • Rwanda is known as a land of a thousand hills – I can certainly agree with that

100_0972So in brief I am riding long distances on inferior equipment in some of the hilliest terrain on some of the worst roads BUT I LOVE IT and I am certainly taking on the Polish winter mountaineer’s motto of: ‘positive suffering’!

However the people and villages I pass in this part of Africa still face much greater challenges each day and not by choice. It is the learning I have received from them and their resilience and resourcefulness that inspires me and makes me continue to incorporate their mentality and get-on-with-it-happily actions (forced I must add in their situation) in to my own lifestyle.100_0960

I enjoy being caught in between two worlds –

  1. The developed world where I am considered a nutter who is riding a crappy bike, without padding on my arse on some of the hilliest and roughest roads around; and
  2. The developing world, where I get looked upon as a nutter who is wasting energy and doing this for fun when they have to face greater challenges, each day, forever and without choice

100_0967So what does this all mean… – not much but if it did, it shows we can move ourselves along a resilience spectrum where there can be a good place between forced resilience and resilience by choice.

I think the more resilience we have the more complete and useful we are to ourselves and to others. When resilience isn’t there we make such a big deal out of trivial and small problems and when there is too much resilience you have to face not having enough to eat, can’t access clean water, have no health services and no means to make an ends.

The developed world has a lot to learn in resilience as it usually only comes naturally to us when forced upon us like in natural disasters.

100_0910I kind of hope my stupidity (my idea of fun) can be a stepping stone for people to understanding and put it into perspective of those who live their entire lives in A LOT more hardship and without choice as I ride pass them with my kidneys ready to jiggle down to my feet.

Luckily I got to ice my sore arse with my cold water bucket shower in the evening 🙂

The people hand carving this mountain had nothing and do some of the most physical work you can't imagine...

The people hand carving this mountain had nothing and do some of the most physical work you can’t imagine…

About Living Geo d'Arcy

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
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4 Responses to The Resilience Spectrum – where are you on the scale?

  1. Tom says:

    Just to finish off your sentence – So what does this all mean… It means you’re a nutter – but luckily a nutter that we can admire. Thanks for your Christmas message on the answering machine – it was to listening to it with the boys, look at your pictures and get out a map and look at where you have been riding. (There questions was – How did you pay for the flight to get there? – there were pretty jealous that you got to ride across Africa and camp out every night.) Enough with the excuses by the way. Padded shorts???? womens bike seat??? Only 14 gears??? jezz and I thought you would be used to teasing after the efforts of Sully and I during our teenage years. Hope to speak soon and love from us here in Berlin.

    • lunny06 says:

      Nice comments Tom – cheers. Nice to hear the boys are keen to get out and see the world… they will love Africa some day!

      Definitely need a cup of cement complaining about bike shorts and only 15 gears and most roads being a smooth dream to ride on!  

    • lunny06 says:

      Thank you and I hope you mean inspiring from the people I talk about (I’m sure you do!).

      They are the daily motivation that pushes me further, higher, faster, longer and happier, and not out of empathy but out of pure inspiration for the amazing work they do each day, without complaint and often without the basics in life as well…

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