The 9 sections of our route in eastern Canada (see below) all packed into one neat little photo.
Average milage is 1,100m per week – which may be ambitious going from past experience…. but the past experience has always included problems that I hope we won’t have on this journey!
Newfoundland will be place where we make up time as the plan is to stay no longer than 3 weeks, giving us extra time else where to do some back country roads.
Thankfully wild camping is common in most areas, however, it’s mostly done with RVs so we may have an interesting time finding locations suitable for a tent!
An interesting fact: Nova Scotia is a major blueberry exporter and from middle to late august various towns will be holding a blueberry festival which we hope to hook into for Sofia’s birthday on the 18th.
We are riding to raise awareness for autism please make a donation (Virgin Money Giving or Paypal links in the left column under menu)
I’ve spoken quite a bit about preparing Sofia for #Canada, and we have some great clearly marked objectives. We may only achieve them in part, but it will still be a big success for her.
Critical to this is going to be me. In the past travelling as been a survival effort for me. The critical aspect being getting her out & about & encouraging her to ‘see’ the wider world, to destress & if she learns a new skill or makes a development step then mission achieved & it was all worth it.
This year is different. This year my own mental attitude is going to be a model for her main goal on this trip which is to find the present moment of ‘doing’.
So in the coming 3 months (eek! It’s a little less now!) I will be pracitising being in my own zen & fortifying it as much as possible. This is not easy after 13 years of constant high stress & being entirely focused on her needs, but possible now she is at residential school so we are both now more independent of each other.
Sofia is very ready right now to develop this scaffolding for self management evidenced by her increasing awareness of her world. This year on the bike she is aware of vulnerability for the first time & expressed nervousness about going down hills. She is also starting to show signs of reflective thought/self talk. She was zero out of 10 at Christmas, she is now 1 out of 10. This is a huge step forward & now there is a crack in the door I want to fill it with the most powerful strategy I know that will protect her from mental illness in the future.
Please donate to help us raise autism awareness (£10 = 100miles)
Sadly Sofia heads back to school today – it has been a great couple of weeks riding almost everyday.
I’ve tried to do as much prepping with her as possible. One aspect of this has been discussing the need for her to have her own special interest to help stay focused on her surroundings and reduce any PDA (pathological demand avoidance) responses.
In Africa it was birds, animals and different flavours of Fanta. On this trip it is birds and photography (as an extention of her art) at the moment … the latter may be more of an issue as she doesn’t understand what it means to take a photo. Obviously she can perform the action and understand it is a creative modality, but it has no meaning for her at this point in the sense of not being able to internalise photography as a concept of creative expression – if that makes sense. So I’m hoping one of the staff in her house at school, who is a keen photographer, will be able to help her with this.
Conceptual understanding of the world in autism is a real struggle, especially where there is no intellectual disability because ideas can be understood/verbalised in an abstract way on one level, but conceptual understanding needs ideas internalised in order to take action on that information. With out that internalisation the connections between things have no meaning or value.
The main thing is that she attempts to take advantage of this trip for her own means independent of me and what I’m doing and pushes that agenda.
She needs a lot of encouragement to do this in the presence of others (me in this case) as she is constantly hyper aware of audience over and above her own needs. So this will be an on going conversation until we find the right note or even activity that will float her boat enough to over come this. This will work in line with ‘living in the moment’.
Tents have been a thorn in our side since we started travelling.
We went through Africa with a cheap dome tent that was heavy & we didn’t use it much so I dumped it in Zimbabwe and picked up light throw away ‘made in China’.
Then we went through Europe with a super light 2 man Vaude tent which was too cramped and Sofia especially struggled with this which meant the battle was on to camp – we did camp, but not as much as I would have liked due to the added stress on both of us. I love the tent though. It is easy packing and setting up, and one I (or hopefully Sofia) will use as a solo #traveller.
After that trip I discovered the perfect tent someone was using at the annual Overland Event. An Exped super light tunnel the only problem was that Exped had stopped production 15yrs ago and refused to sell me a spare.
All hope lost I got a cheap 3 man last year that at least gave enough bearable space for Sofia, only it is heavy (7kgs) and fills an entire pannier, so now we have a packing space issue. Otherwise a good tent that didn’t spark any major issues with Sofia so a big thumbs up on that front.
Canada, however, has to be a purely #campingtrip due to costs but now we have a lack of packing space, & at best there is no room for food negating one of the cost benefits of camping.
So today I started looking at tents again not thinking a solution was out there with only a year since last looking, when Vaude popped up with a super light (4.2kg) 3 man tent with standing room porch.
I can’t begin to describe the relief at finally finding a suitable tent. It’s like a weight of stress off my shoulders knowing that Sofia, who has been amazingly good considering her own battles, will finally have a tent that she will like and be #happy enough to stay in night after night or in wet weather hold ups, whilst meeting our packing needs.
The tent is £419 on sale, so we need your help! Please could you sponsor our tent with a donation (every penny helps!) – we would both really appreciate it!
Please donate to help us raise awareness for autism.
Canada preping on #Dartmoor ride. Ride – walk 2 hrs – then ride a distance.
Lesson learnt- not a good plan walking 2 hrs with biker trousers and boots! Not helped by me trying a kit variation involving keeping lining in making the trousers heavy to walk in. It was a good ride though, Dartmoor is stunning.
A big part of our #Canada trip is to slow down and ‘do’ more. Sofia really struggles with the concept of ‘doing’ and it triggers her pathological demand avoidance (#PDA) which is part of her #autism profile – this effectively means she refuses to ‘do’ that which she percieves is expected of her which is felt intensely and must be fought against and/or reinterpreted to her own liking. It is an anxiety state. From the outside this is often percieved by others as laziness, but actually it is anxiety driven.
Yet for her living in the future (aka in a state of anxiety) is more ‘relaxing’ than living in the present moment she tells me. A miss conception I hope to help her resolve in #Canada & hope in turn it will help her manage her PDA and enable her to do more. Because the frustrating thing for her is that it is not that she doesn’t want to go for a walk for example or draw the picture somone has asked her to, but she doesn’t understand why she can’t let herself ‘do’ these things.
How do I get her to do as much as she does with PDA? Constant negotiation and a huge amount of planning to ensure negotiations are successful. I don’t sweat the small stuff either, thats where the really big resistance is – in big stuff like travelling there is a fate à complis and serves as a distraction so small stuff can enter through the back door of her mind.
Please help us with a donation via our website (£10 =100miles) to raise #autismawareness