Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

Ode to Uncertainty

Wednesday, 22 May, 2024

If the departure doesn’t scare you, it means you’re not going far enough.
Daring is easy for the brave; they point their finger on the map and jump right in.
But for most of those about to depart,
it’s always a mess to tame their emotions and calm their fears.

Wide awake at four in the morning,
pondering what will become of us amidst the African savannas or the Mongolian steppes,
doubts whether that sleeping bag will be warm enough or if we’ll freeze to death,
a thousand test rides on the bike, back and forth, along the home route to see if everything holds and everything stays in its place.

Welcome to this chaos of uncertainties,
but don’t forget that if you’re in this situation,
it’s because you’ve already overcome the hardest part:
you’ve decided to live your dream.

It all starts a long time ago, when you heard that name for the first time,
listened to a story from a friend,
or saw a photo while scrolling through Instagram.
Then you interrogated Google to learn more,
followed by blogs, vlogs, forums, and finally,
full immersion in books, geopolitics, and maps.

Now just uttering the name of that destination
is enough to quicken the pulse and open the floodgates of imagination.
By our nature, this would be the moment to look at the nightstand,
open the drawer, toss this wonderful dream inside,
and lock it up with a combination lock, doing everything to forget
the number sequence by shuffling them in our head with various excuses and victimhood.
It’ll be safe for years, until the ravages of time destroy the structure,
and it will be too late, but not for regrets.

Well, you’ve just busted open that drawer and decided to embrace its contents;
the hardest part is done.
But now we must decipher the unknown as much as possible
to match the allure of the new with the anguish of uncertainty.
To feel as prepared as a Spartan in battle is essential to prepare as best as possible,
because unlike the Greeks, we don’t have an oracle to ask about the future.

We’ll start fantasizing about every possible mechanical breakdown
and how to fix it, stuffing tool bags like a workshop,
and the home internet connection won’t be enough to watch all the tutorials on YouTube.
We’ll go over all the clothing, and the drama will unfold over
how many pairs of underwear to bring and the fit of the enormous sleeping bag.

Then it’ll be up to the tent and the sleeping pad,
heavy and durable or lightweight and expensive?
We’ll spend endless hours convincing ourselves
that every choice made so far is the best one.
It’s fascinating how the mind will remain attentive to these dynamics,
deluding itself into thinking it has some control
over what will happen because once the dice are rolled,
it’ll be up to fate to do the rest, but even aware, all this calms us.

Finally, we’ll devise the infamous plan B,
an indisputable panacea for every tension and a spectacular escape from every problem.
All set, and off we go.
Indescribable joy at the baggage claim when the bike
appears from the oversized door,
and what happiness to see the cardboard box almost intact.
A taxi or a bus to the start, or assembly right there, and we’re finally starting to pedal.

From the first meter,
the adrenaline from no longer depending on others is astounding,
from the government official who issued the visa to be there,
to the girl at check-in who could have refused to board the bike,
and all the struggles in preparation.
All that no longer exists;
now there’s only the desire to pedal to reach that place.

On average, everything will go great for a few days,
and we’ll be on schedule, then suddenly “BAM!” and
we won’t even need to resort to the famous plan B
that tucked us in on troubled nights because
it’ll be obsolete and inappropriate.
It’s not an accident, a flood, or a locust invasion,
but simply the realization that we can create what we like.

Without this debut, another plan would have been unthinkable,
but now just a long look at the horizon is enough to be drawn to another track,
or to a story of a wonderful place heard at the village market.
Like skaters on frictionless ice,
it’ll be child’s play to pick up the sextant and map to rewrite a new journey.

We’ve trained to push the pedals and to outsmart fear,
and it’s only thanks to our meticulous preparation that
we’re now free to go wherever we want,
and the letters of the alphabet wouldn’t be enough to classify
all the future plans we’ll put into action because knowing how to travel is exclusively this,
being free to go wherever.

So let’s build an altar to that fear that made us study so much,
that kept us alert to every possible obstacle,
that kept us and will keep us focused on our dream.
At this point, I feel sorry for the fearless who put certainty before doubt,
who underestimated the unforeseen and exalted audacity.
They’ll yield to compromises for the sparse ranks of knowledge,
to them only a fallback, a bus ticket, or worse, a return.
Long live plan B, long live uncertainty,
long live even anxiety, indispensable allies
of every dreamer with no more nightstands.