Dreaming, Then Doing

I chose to name this ride, because for me, cycling 2,000 kilometers in 30 days across an entire country wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill experience. In actuality, I’m not sure I had any business trying to pull this off. The longest tour I’d ever done prior to this was for three days, and roughly 200 kilometers. I’m not a cycling expert. I don’t know that much about bikes, how to maintain them or repair them. And my bike is a 2nd-hand one I picked up in Munich five years ago. I think it’s a good bike, but I don’t suppose it’s anything top-level or fancy. Then there’s my mental health. I often struggle with anxiety and depression during normal travel experiences, and here I was, a guy prone to loneliness and mental health challenges, deciding to get on my bike, alone, in Denmark and keep going until I reached Austria. I wanted very much to make all this happen but I was also quite concerned about whether I could do it.

So I named my ride. “Biking the Euros.” And I made a website. “A Connection Story.” Admittedly, it’s all a little over the top to create an entire website just for a 30-day bike ride. But, again, for me this was something quite big. Something I wanted to put my all into, and something I’d hopefully be very proud to have accomplished when it was all said and done.

As I sit here, Saturday morning at my hotel in Cologne, having a coffee and taking a break between multiple trips to the amazingly huge breakfast buffet while chill “easy listening” tunes play from speakers in the breakfast room, I’m thinking back to the genesis of this ride. I’m thinking about the days, while in Mexico this winter, I spent dreaming about the ride, planning for it, naming it, building my website. There were so many days back then that I questioned this ride. I continued to build my site and make my plans and dream, but at the same time I’d often wake up in the morning, somewhat anxious, thinking it was too audacious to attempt something like this. It took me a long time to finally start talking about it to people, and then even longer to finally declare to myself that I was actually going to do this. As much as I told myself during those days, “It would be okay if you changed your mind and backed out,” I still felt some pressure to follow through. I think I would’ve felt some shame, after doing so much planning and naming and website building to then just give up and decide not to do it. I felt this way, quite strongly, back on Day 1 of my ride, after leaving Flensburg. My anxiety was high. As was my doubt in myself. A huge part of me wanted to give up before I’d barely started. But, again, I felt pressure, after building this thing up so big, and to have given up at that point would have been too hard to bear. It’s somewhat stupid to have these feelings. Again, who really cares? The world would have gone on had I stopped my ride. People in my life would have understood. But, still, I guess it’s human nature to be concerned about what others think. It’s human to not want to be thought of as a flake or a quitter or a dreamer who can dream but can’t really do. And I also knew future me would be quite disappointed had I thrown in the towel.

I’m remembering back to the planning and the dreaming. And the naming. This trip, “Biking the Euros,” is a dream within a larger dream. That larger dream is to use this trip to kickstart a grander project I’m calling, “A Connection Story.” That project is much more nebulous. It’s not nearly as easy to define and describe as a bike tour across Germany to raise awareness and money for mental health. I don’t even really know what “A Connection Story” is yet or what it could become. For now, I’ve at least done enough brainstorming to have given it a tagline – “Finding beauty through courage, hope and connection.” (Thanks to my kids for helping me with this.) It’s about discovering the beauty of life. And about making connections with our wondrous world and the people in it. And it’s about doing all of that with the courage that is often needed when one is dealing with life’s struggles – loss, illness, emotional challenges, addiction, grief, etc…, etc.., etc…. That’s about as far as I’ve come so far.

Connection is at the core. That’s the driving force. Making those lasting, beautiful, awe-inspiring connections. With nature, with ideas, with music, with art, with passions, with purpose. And, with people. What comes of this “project,” damn if I know. But I like the idea of it. And the dream. Maybe I can make something of it. Maybe it remains just an idea. But, for now, my biggest source of pleasure and pride is knowing that I’ve begun the “doing” of it all. I’ve taken the hazy, vague, loosely-defined dream and I’m actually engaged in the “doing.” We shall see.

I have made a location change. I am now currently in the village of Boppard along the beautiful Rhine River. I expected to get back to this post last night, but I got completely wrapped up in football as Germany was playing in the Round of 16. They won! Yay!

I’ll write more about my day yesterday in a future post, but because I don’t have a lot of time right now, I’ll post what I’ve written so far and get to the details of my Saturday ride in the next day or two. I won’t go into detail here now, but I will say that yesterday was one of my favorite days of my tour so far. The sun was shining. The Rhine River was my companion all day. Several cold beers were enjoyed along the route. And, as I mentioned, Germany won and I was able to enjoy the victory at a public viewing at a stunning location along the Rhine and then later, when the rain came, at a super cool local pub.

This morning I rode in the rain, from Andernach to Boppard, but now the rains have cleared and I think I’ll have mostly a dry ride from here on out. I’ll be staying with Warm Showers host, Audi, tonight in another Rhine village, this time the village of Bingen. The rain wasn’t fun. I guess it never is. But it reminded me of my first several days on the ride and of the fact that I’ve had a ton of sunshine and dry weather over the past two weeks. So, I’ll deal with the rain when I have to and celebrate the sun when I can!

12 thoughts on “Dreaming, Then Doing

  1. Laura Guadalupe Carreon

    Este es uno de tus mejores post, uno de los más auténticos, íntimos y que acoge este hilo conductor, “connections” con mayor claridad.
    Creo que la verdadera batalla siempre es con uno mismo, no nos sentimos suficiente, no nos valoramos, nos exigimos por pensar que así podemos encajar o complacer a los demás, pero esa exigencia, no existe en el exterior, por el contrario, afuera, la mayoría de las veces tenemos una red de apoyo y soporte, que continuamente nos recuerda nuestras cualidades y que algunas veces decidimos no escuchar.
    A lo largo de esta ruta, hemos leído como esa red de apoyo, está vez, creada por personas extrañas y algunas anteriormente conocidas, te acompañan e impulsan en tu viaje, en tu aventura, porque te lo he dicho, es admirable ver cuando alguien tiene la agallas de hacer algo que tal vez muchos soñamos pero no nos atrevemos.
    Gracias por permitirnos ser parte de esta historia, que estoy segura llegará a su final, y probablemente nos adelante algo de la segunda temporada.

  2. Karla Harriman

    I’m proud of you Chris and all you have accomplished so far … I hope you are proud of you too … so enjoy hearing about your adventures and about all the people and connections you are making with those that cross your path… rain rain go away come again another day
    Pedal on my friend and enjoy the warm shower and more futbol fan fun

  3. Andrea

    I really do enjoy your posts and my daughter asks to read them now too. We were in Ireland a few weeks ago when we witnessed our first futball game on tv in the pub. There was an intriguing excitement – one that makes me want to go read your blog you mentioned that will explain it more. But it was that moment I realized that’s part of your adventure with this ride so I got to share your story with our friends. I think it’s so brave and I enjoy reading about your journey each day!

    1. Christopher Kreie Post author

      What a great thing to hear Andrea. I absolutely love this!!! Thanks for thinking of me and for sharing this with me. Say “hi” to your daughter, and I’ll do my best to refrain from too much profanity! hahaha

  4. Elizabeth (Hoy) Linares

    Love reading your posts, and how you’re sharing your adventure with us! Also love the idea of connections being the source of inspiration for what’s yet to come. Keep going Chris!!

  5. Karen Mandt

    I enjoy your postings ! So fun to hear about your adventures , the ups and downs , etc..
    It is inspiring to watch someone act on a dream and accomplish all that you have .. keep on cycling ! 🚴🏾


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *