It’s the freedom

There’s a lot to be said for package holidays to an all-inclusive resort, though most of what I’d have to say about such holidays wouldn’t be particularly flattering. Oh sure, you don’t have to worry about getting there (other than getting to the airport – more on airports a bit later) and once at the resort, you’re in a self-contained bubble, with the biggest decision you’re faced with is which sun-lounger you’re going to try and grab first thing in the morning.

And yet, for all it’s supposed benefits, such a holiday leaves you captive, however gilded your cage may be. Think about it – you don’t get to decide when your plane departs, nor which route your coach takes to the resort. In all likelihood, you won’t leave the resort at all, and never get to experience the real version of whichever country you flew to.

Regarding flying to go on holiday, please, please tell me you’re not planning on flying anywhere? We’re in the middle of a climate emergency, and flying for fun is the last thing we should be doing. Why not explore other options, like railways? Sure, if you needed to go to Australia, flying is virtually the only option open to you, but the question is simply this: do you actually need to go? I’m not you, and I don’t live your life. I’m not trying to tell you exactly how to live your life, but I am asking you to do your utmost best to fly as little as possible.

For some, especially those with young kids, package holidays can be exactly what they were looking for, but I much prefer the freedom of cycle touring. You can ride at whatever speed you want, along whatever route you prefer. You can even change the route at any point, and you’re free to stop as often, or as seldom as you want.

See also  Use your noodle

When driving, even on country lanes, most of the time you won’t even see that flower growing in the hedge, let alone have the opportunity to stop, and smell the flower. You won’t know the heavenly aroma of cycling past fields of bright yellow rape-seed flowers, or experience the joy of cycling past the fragrance of an expanse of wild garlic growing by the side of the lane.

Cycle touring is a special kind of freedom, one that most people have never experienced. If you throw wild-camping into the mix, you have a holiday with more freedom and flexibility that what you’ve ever had before.

Some people find that level of freedom scary at first, and that’s understandable. At least to some degree, all of us have become institutionalised, and that’s bound to have a significant impact. Once you get over that initial discomfort, the sense of freedom will be truly liberating! Go where you want, at a speed you’re happy with. Keep your days short, or long. Stop when you want, for as long as you want. The choice is yours.

If you’ve never been cycle touring, read some touring tips, consider going with an experienced friend, or even on an organised trip (I’m aware that’s moving into package holidays again, but as an introduction, it’s worth doing), or pick an existing, tried-and-tested route. Once you’ve experienced the freedom that cycle touring offers, there’s no going back.

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