A Different Kind of Job

Today while cycling through miles and miles of rice paddies with a slight headwind whenever the compass pointed west and a bright blue Thailand sky without a cloud to mute the blazing hot sun, I had plenty of time to think about the past five weeks of our “journey” into retirement. I concluded that cycling is a lot like work. Here’s a typical day:
6:30 am – Wake up – (Feel extra happy if our room has a hot water pot and I can make a cup of coffee)
7:30 – Leave the hotel with our bags fully packed, our bikes loaded, and breakfast already eaten. (Just kidding…7:30 is always our goal but our record for leaving is 8:20 when the sun is already baking hot, and we still need to stop for breakfast.)
9:30 – or earlier depending upon the sun – Coffee Break at one of the cute Thai coffee huts on the side of the road. Check emails – the wifi is usually good here – or make a phone call to America.
10:00 – ride for as long as our bodies can take the heat.
11:30 – Lunch time and rest (hide) from the sun. I usually read.
1:30 – 2:30 ish – Ride until our bodies scream for shade. (Sometimes we’ll get caught in a refreshing rain)
2:30 – Coffee Break – Today we split an Italian soda and then poured three more cups of water over the remaining ice so, in effect, we drank a liter of water. (Our 4th liter of the day.) Then, Eric took a nap and I read a book.
3:30 – Ride to our final destination. One advantage to riding north is the shade from the trees falls across the road.
4:30 – 5:30 – Shower and do laundry – I never anticipated the quantity of soaked, sweaty clothes nor the time to get them ready for the next day.
5:30 – Plan tomorrow’s route – This also takes much longer than I’d anticipated. It involves lots of maps, calculating distances, locating possible hotels…(I’m trying so hard NOT to camp in a temple.)
6:00 – Find some dinner – Tonight was a simple walk to the only restaurant in town, but sometimes the food search means hopping back on our bikes, navigating, and looking for food at the same time.
7:30 – Read, watch TV which means American television dubbed into Thai, or,when we’re lucky with wifi like tonight when our room is located 10 feet from the modem and download speed is fast enough, watch a movie.
9:30 – Bed time – except in my case where I slept though tonight’s movie and now I’m wide awake and writing a blog.

So we’re traded one full-time job for another. As I see it, the main difference between cycling for a living and getting paid for a living is that with cycling, we don’t need a gym membership.