Most of the time the bike adventure I’m on is an introvert’s dream. Yes, we are out in public but we are also biking with headphones 90% of the time and don’t need to talk to anyone. When our day of riding is over it is easy to just set up the tent and retreat into it. We almost never need to socialize with people. Unfortunately, this often keeps us in our comfort zone.
I think there is great value in getting out of your comfort zone, and for me that means talking to people and saying “yes” to their offers of kindness. There have been many times that people have offered us water, beer, food, or a place to stay, but my first instinct is to say no. I think I often doubt the sincerity of strangers, I assume they are just being polite and don’t want to truly help us. I feel like I’m being a burden on them by taking them up on their offers. I need to remind myself to say “yes” to people as often as I say “yes” to adventures.
Take, for example, what happened yesterday. While we were refilling water at a gas station a local man approached us and started chatting. It is pretty common for strangers to approach us and ask what we are doing, most communities are not used to seeing a gaggle of bikes and gear slowly riding down the back highways of their community. So, we chatted for a bit and then he returned to his car and left. A few minutes later he returned and he asked us if we had a place to stay that night. I told them (his wife was in the car too) that we just planned on finding a secluded spot on the side of the road, he then offered us their spare bedroom for the night.
My first instinct was to say “no”, but I decided to go against my gut and take him up on the offer, and I’m really glad we did. We had a great time chatting with them at night, we got a fresh shower and a warm bed to sleep in, and they even shared their warm breakfast with us (a rare treat!). It was clear they truly wanted to help us and share, I think most people do. It makes me feel bad for all the opportunities I’ve passed up because I was nervous about accepting someone’s gift. In fact, Gifting is the principle of Burning Man that I have the most trouble being on the receiving end. I seem very comfortable giving, but receiving feels selfish.
Oh well, another thing for me to be aware of and try to improve upon. Time to rewatch the below video about gifting.