All my life, I have never been good at balancing myself on a bicycle. When I was younger, I avoided the two-wheeled implement because I was afraid of getting hurt in the process. I was apprehensive at the idea of having myself be supported by only two-wheels. Believing that it would all end up futile, I never asserted the effort to learn how to use it. But I did try riding it once during my college years, when I was taunted by my friends to try it. As expected, I was wobbly on the path as I was having difficulties balancing myself.
Then came Nami Island. It has become a popular tourist destination in Korea because it was where the renowned Korean drama “Winter Sonata” was filmed. Prior to our South Korea trip, my friends have already talking about riding a bicycle there. Riding a bicycle in Nami is apparently in vogue due to a famous scene in Winter Sonata which captured every viewers’ fancy.
However, I put off the idea of riding a bicycle in Nami even before we went there. I told my friends that I was never a good rider, hence, I am not going to risk riding one. But my friends still insisted, saying that they themselves are not that great in riding bicycles as well. Nonetheless, my friends rented bicycles in Nami Island for the sake of experience, and naturally, pictures.
Envious of my friends, I asked them if I could try riding the bicycle. As expected, I can’t find my footing on the gravelly path. I nearly bumped on the pedestrians passing by the trail. I was totally embarrassed of my ineptness. To avoid further collisions with pedestrians, I rode out of the trail into the open fields. No tracks to follow, no established trails to travel on. And came the biggest surprise of my life! Out on the open fields, I was able to successfully balance myself on the bicycle.
It was truly a magnificent experience, riding a bicycle sans any worries of my quotidian existence. I never expected it to happen. Ever. I was beyond surprised. It just goes to show that there are still a lot about myself that I have to learn. But one thing baffled me. How come I successfully rode on the open fields where there were no established tracks while I found it a challenge riding on the well-established path.
As the cold autumn breeze of Gapyeong County brought me chills, a profound realization hit me. Who’d have thought that the cold autumn breeze, away from the scorching heat of Manila, awoke the philosopher in me. Before me, the bicycle paths of Nami became symbolic.
In life, we trudge on paths which were established and paved by people before us. Because of the ease and comfort of voyage, we follow these paths. Avoiding all kinds of complications, we don’t dwell on taking risks because our destination is certain. Why complicate matters when we can go by with ease?
But there are still some of us who stumble on these well-established paths. The path is easy and comfortable but how come some still stumble? It’s not that they are not good in following paths. They are discomfited by the thought of following a path others have laid down for them. While most of us think that we should take the main path because it led to the success of most, there are some who are thinking otherwise.
Refusing to be molded by the same path, there are amongst us those who risk enough to venture out of the main path. In the open fields, they experience a euphoria that the main path didn’t afford them. The open fields are filled with uncertainty but it made them breath uninhibited. It is there that they have found the liberty they longed for. Rather than following the main path, they pave their own because, after all, each of us is the author of his own destiny.
I am not saying that we must all get waylaid and start our own paths. I have to reiterate that although the main path is not ominous, it is not just for everyone. If you are comfortable enough with the main path others have paved before you, then for all intents and purposes, follow it until you have reached your destination. No one is stopping you. Always remember, “each one to his own”.
I admit that I am often stuck in the same quandary. Should I follow the main path or should I jump into the void and carve my own path? Whenever I am unsure, I just follow the main path. But biking in Nami opened up a percolating desire to walk out of the path others have paved for me. It is hypocritical knowing that I am still stuck on the same impasse I’ve been stuck on for years. But now I have realized that I must muster the courage to create my own path because, to be honest, I resent the idea of being molded into another person’s idea of me.
In the meantime, while the shroud that is obscuring my path hasn’t settled down yet, I will stick with the status quo. Maybe this is why I wrote this piece – to remind my future self to go after what my heart longs for.