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On my first bicycle trip, I left Jasper with a too-heavy trailer and made only 35 kilometres the first day. When I reached camp, I was so tired that I set up tent, ate an energy bar, and fell unconscious on my thermarest. I awoke later to the brilliant Milky Way–traditionally a “navigation chart” for travelling through this world as well as the great cosmologies and spiritual traditions. The next morning I was consumed with doubt — could I really complete a 5000 kilometre solo trip through British Columbia? Four months later, I rolled into Lake Louise, Alberta completing the route. The trip and its conclusion paralled the roads taken: lots of ups and downs, detours, change in plans, fears and strangers that became friends, unexpected encounters, smiles and tears, joy, and moment-by-moment grit and gratitude.


At City Mill Hardware

For my sabbatical in Hawaiʻi, I chose my Brompton folding bicycle as the main mode of transportation. With few exceptions, I use the bicycle for getting to-and-from classes and meetings, shopping for food or apartment furnishings, running Zander, exploring the neighborhoods, or getting take-out meals. Walking, occasional use of a ZipCar, and bus are secondary choices–and often not as convenient as the bike.

Bicycling constantly exposes me (and Zander) to the natural environment–wet when it rains, struggling against the winds, careful in the dark (even with lights), and hot, sweating in the sun. We also become entangled with the “local scene”–the woman who does sudoko outside her apartment always looking for help; the couple on their lanai who wave as they enjoy their daily coffee; dipping my head under the ulu



(breadfruit) hanging low on the tree; recognizing flowers (plumeria, mock orange, white ginger, or night-blooming cereus) by their fragances–or lack of; or tracking the sun and moon rising and setting on the horizon. Reading street signs is like a “whoʻs who” of Hawaiian history and a constant opportunity to practice pronouncing Hawaiian words. Wednesday and Thursday evenings are shopping at two local farmerʻs markets: Zander surveying the vendors from his perch between the saddle and handlebars and delighting in the attention from other shoppers!

The Hawaiian word kuleana often comes to mind. English translations rarely do it justice, and English words struggle to capture the interconnected, spiritual, ethical, and relational qualities integral to this concept. Even as I think I am beginning to understand its breadth, I am not sure, as a haole (foreigner), I can truly understand the fullness of its meaning. Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) writers begin with broad contextual phrases: an understanding that begins with participating in  context-based responsibilities and positionalities located in interdependence of people and place (Goodyear-Kaʻōpua (2013). Specificaly, kuleana connects with responsibilities, obligations, reciprocal and respectful relationships. Kuleana is about the proper way to be amongst humans, ancestors, unseen forces, ka ʻāina (land and ocean), animals and plants, and the universe. Importantly, it includes the concept of privilege as in it is a privilege to be in a position to share one’s gift, to contribute, and hold a particular position. When kuleana appears in conversations, discussions and stories revolve around how individual lives nourish the community, how we honour our ancestors and and gifts, how we contribute to the well-being of the whole. As far as I understand, it is a concept that begins and ends with an embodied way of being enmeshed in each other.

As a haole and daughter of an officer of the occupying military, my reflections include a deep understanding of how my birth at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu, travels to Hawai’i as a visitor and tourist, and interest in Kanaka Maoli practices are all haunted by the harm experienced by Kanaka Maoli through illegal occupation, land reforms, and privileging wealth over relationships and environment. My contemplations around kuleana are infused with a desire to allow Indigenous worldviews (especially Kanaka ‘Ōiwi) to change what I think and who I am. I am still piecing together the embodied and enacted meaning of kuleana, but cycling creates a space-time for me to reflect and be entangled in everyday human lives and natural/built environments that call out for kuleana. Surprisingly, these are often momentary and mundane encounters.

I live near two private schools, a seniorʻs home, two medical centres, and two off-on ramps to the freeway. The traffic can be horrific with blocks of cars inching along and dole-street-trafficadjusting for parents dropping children off at school, ambulances, or older and slower pedestrians. Typically just before and after school, three traffic cops, a host of mothers helping children in and out of cars, parental chauffers, and alert drivers keep people safe and the cars moving at a steady pace. I, too, merge, measuring my cadence, become part of the alternating pattern, and use hand signals and waves to thank drivers who see me safely through. It is a dance of taking care of each other. It is a subtle pattern that makes a tedious routine more comfortable–often bringing smiles.

I have begun to see kuleana as an outward perspective that focuses attention on what is and what can be contributed to life at that moment–even traffic! The more I contemplate and look for it, the more opportunities appear. I realize how intertwined I am with the world and how every action has a ripple effect. Bicycling viscerally places me within this net of life forms and energies: a lost key found where I dropped it next to a bicycle rack; people who offer water to Zander; students in class who generously share notes and study time; the cashier who reminds of me of sales or loyalty cards to save money; the gardener who shares a papaya from her tree; fellow cyclists who are homeless stop to help or provide hints on thrift stores. Cycling provides space-time to understand on how little I need or how to choose activities that nourish the land, sustain others, and honors the genealogy of Kanaka ʻŌiwi. And a day filled with cycling leaves me relaxed, active, and content. As Zander and I are slowly knitted into local communities, I pay careful attention for opportunities to contribute to their lives and futures.

Notably, kuleana circles back to things! On long distance bicycle trips, I learned to reduce what I carried; too much stuff makes it harder to pedal and slowed me down. This sabbatical is restructuring what I need materially and having little actually provides a sense of freedom and relaxation. And this opens up more space-time to be, to focus outward and contemplate my intersection with others, time to play with Zander and others. Although I am not convinced of the accuracy of my interpretation, simply struggling to understand another worldview and its spiritual and ethical implications has already shifted my sense of self–and how out-in-the-open-cycling contributes to a life of service, acceptance of the privilege and responsibility, and care for the ʻāina and others met along the way.

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In the verdant Hawaiian valleys, a balance must be struck betweeen removing invasive species and epiphytes and supporting native and food bearing species while providing space to wander amongst them. It takes time to understand the relationships since an “invasive” species might, in a particular instance, enable a native species to thrive. This was the world I entered in a small patch of tropical flora behind a friend’s house in Pauoa Valley. Lychee trees supporting avocado trees; bamboo forests obscuring ancient trails; vines swirling around trees and plants on their way to the sun. To enhance the health of this small patch required daily attention.

So, careful observation, listening to multiple stories, and taking time before action is a wise course of action. A great metaphor for moving to a new place, adjusting to a new climate, starting a new project, or learning to play at a dog park! August is a not month in Hawaiʻi–tropical storms bring rain and cool winds followed by “dead” air and heat. We are up early (5:30 a.m.) to enjoy a cool morning walk or run. Then Zander wilts and hides beneath my desk under the cooling breeze of fan until late afternoon. I find time to work or do errands–slowly adjusting to the heat or running in and out of air conditioned stores or offices.

Each day, I have accomplished one or two tasks of arranging my life in Hawaiʻi: thereʻs the bank account, state identification, bus pass, locating farmerʻs markets, desk lamps, getting registered for language classes, and finding agility classes. It is amazing how the heat saps my strength and the time it takes to find a place even on a bicycle. On the other hand, it is amazing how many helpful people I meet, how fragrant the flowers are, how

Zander and Jackson

Zander and New Friend

many birds and animals are present in the middle of the city, and how cooling the rains are.

Then, the sun sinks and the temperatures drop. A group of women and their dogs show up at the dog park next to our apartment at 6:30 p.m. Zander is slowly learning to “play” with the other dogs rather than constantly jostle for dominance. Yet, each night as we return, the relationship slowly morphs into new forms of play and enjoyment. Other evenings we go for bike rides around town–he in his seat on the bike.

Iʻve met with the director of the Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation. In addition, I attended a symposium on their translation project with the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives. They are translating a collection of letters from the aliʻi or members of the ruling class of Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians) that are part of the Mission Housese archives. The panel was simply amazing; each had been translating specific letters that supported dissertations, books, or journal articles. The perspectives and insights are radically different from the classic American historical perspectives. As much as I was excited and intrigued, it was daunting as well.

The daily routines of walking Zander plus walking or bicycling as my primary mode of transportation has been a blessing. Not only do they all allow me to pay close attention to my surroundings–the various birds, slugs, cats, mongoose, flowers, plants, cacti as well

Hawaiian House

Hawaiian hipped-roof, wooden plank house, lava rock foundation

as meet interesting people, notice how many people (drivers and pedestrians alike) who are generous and courteous, variations of architecture, wondrous gardens, and much more. All of this brings home the transitory nature of life–the older buildings giving way to the environment, dying flower petals on the ground. Each of these have a beauty of their own and a reminder of the wisdom in allowing things to follow their own lifespan. And finally, negotiating traffic as well as life requires movement and balance.

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The answer to old age is to keep one’s mind busy and to go on with one’s life as if it were interminable. (Leon Edel)

Against all conventional wisdom and the odds, I am re-inventing myself as a scholar at the end of my career and within sight of retirement–beginning with a sabbatical in Hawai’i studying the Hawaiian language and working with 19th century Hawaiian-language newspapers at the University of Hawai’i Manoa. Surprisingly, this adventure includes many different kinds of risk–much like my bicycle trips. And, of course, I am taking a bicycle for transportation!

After many second-thoughts and doubts about health, the career implications of a radical change in research focus, and the obstacles of taking Zander, I took a “leap of faith” and applied for a federally funded research grant. It was a long shot, but the application was fully funded; my last sabbatical before I retire was approved; and my house was rented three days after it was listed. It seemed like the universe was responding with a resounding YES!! On the other hand, my ferritin level dropped to zero, cataracts were diagnosed the week before I was to leave, and a flurry of unexpected work deadlines led to a hectic eight weeks before the departure date. Just because something is meant to be does not mean it will be easy or without obstacles.

And yet lessons learned from bicycle touring have been a source of strength. Since I was renting the house for the year, I used the opportunity to re-think what I really needed both to store while I was gone and to take to Hawai’i. The list has changed since I now have other health considerations and Zander’s well-being to consider; yet it was amazing how much we could give away. On the other hand, the large suitcase, folding bicycle, and kennel plus carry on (a small backpack and ukulele) reminded me of packing for a river trip! The first few days of any trip are filled with excitement, trepidation, and “re-shaping” the body for change (whether the hills of mountains and long miles, noise and bustle of airports, or schedules and patterns of other people and cultures). A sense of wonderment, gratefulness, and laughter transform all of these into life’s lessons.

Zander RoxyOur three days with my brother and his family come to an end tomorrow. Zander valiantly tried to woo Roxy, their little dog, but she was having none of him. However, they both tolerated each other in search of treats in the kitchen. The sun was warm and ocean breezes cool in the evening — with three days of rest and time in their pool. A wonderful way to begin the sabbatical and Hawai’i adventure.





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The first day of the trip is always filled with excitement and trepidation. Mine have always been a test since I never really train for them and am always not yet in shape. This year the iron infusion has not fully kicked in and Zander adds another 17 pounds to the load. So, the day had its ups and downs like the road itself


Steep hill just after the round-about that reduced me to pushing the bike

Three detours looking for the trail in rain and hail

Legs failing, feeling hollow, hills felt like mountains

No pets allowed at two hotels, Zander unhappy on the bike

Thoughts of giving up, doubting the plan


Cold rain and hail left Zander shivering

Impatient driver cut off my left-hand turn

Rutted shoulders, pot holes had me swerving

Fear and uncertainty cloud my commitment


Sailing through Bayers Lake looking for the trail

Spirits rise as I reach Timberlea

Hills come slowly but the top comes nonetheless

Small roadside park with stream and new green shoots of life renewing

I’m so hungry I eat two plates of Chinese food for dinner

Zander licking my face as I exert more effort up the grades

Stopping more often to ensure Zander’s happiness


Maintenance man kindly assists in getting bike and trailer into the room

Construction workers awed by biking alone and willing to stay in a hotel when cold

Like a slot machine the coke machine gives me extra change

Yellow, blue and purple flowers waving along the route

Maple trees coming out of dormancy strut their red leafs and yellow blooms

Warm shower feels good on cold feet and tired muscles

Warm soft dog fur curled against my skin at end of the day

Two guys ask for a ride as I pass by; I respond: “Cheap but very slow!”

Clouds lifting, temperature rising, rain passing


Some bicycle tours are about mileage per day, conquering mountain slopes, or “never walking.” This bicycle trip explores what Zander and I can do in Nova Scotia within the limits of who both of us are. We will keep you posted.


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Learning to be Present

What was I thinking? Even reading the the books of Anne Mustoe and Dervla Murphy, was I crazy to set out from Jasper across the Canadian Rockies for my first long distance bicycle tour? Couldn’t I have started in the Netherlands, Denmark, or Holland? But I wanted to travel slowly physically through the lands of Canada where I had immigrated. With some training and an overloaded BOB trailer (only later would I learn to carry only what was absolutely necessary), I left the Wapiti Campground quite slow and wobbly and questioning my decision, my strength, my mind. Each rise seemed harder and I was slower than I had ever imagined as I stopped at every excuse. The rests began to teach me how to treasure moments

moments to snack and enjoy each nut or piece of dried fruit and the chocolate chips.

moments to linger in awe as a moose and her calf crossed the boggy grasses and riverlets

Practical mother grazing on food, conserving energy, and plotting efficient routes from place to place

Calf bouncing/bounding around or running from spot to spot, sometimes grazing, sometimes stuck or hesitant to jump a stream.

I stumbled and wobbled into Lucerne Campground only 35 kilomtres west of Jasper with only enough energy to set up the tent, cook a little food, and fall into my sleeping bag. Even as I felt bet I reached the first campsite with barely enough energy to heat my food, set up my tent, and crash for the night. Even as I felt better in the morning, the next day was even harder and I fantasized over and over again about catching a ride home, giving up this crazy dream. In tears and shaky, I pulled off at the roadside park to view Mt. Terry Fox–a Canadian who had cancer and ran some 5,373 kilometres across Canada to raise funds and awareness as he fought cancer. As the water and snacks slowly coursed through my system and stabilized muscles and mood, I began to sense the life, spirit, and energy of Terry Fox who understood how all of us have journeys to walk, crawl, ride, endure, and enjoy. As tired and discouraged as I was, i understood that I would not give up until I had finished the route. I also began, unknowingly, my journey into mindfulness. As someone who has myasthenia gravis, I am limited by how well my muscles function in order to breathe. No sprints, no racing because I must stop when I struggle to breathe. So, going up inclines is always a struggle since they often happen after a downward rush. If I don’t adjust my cadence, I will quickly deplete my lungs before the climb really begins. It would take many hills and miles before I could accept and work within the limits of my lungs–slowly, enjoying the view, the objects along the shoulder (ranging from diapers to pens, to parts of vehicles, to the occasional coins or dollar bills), the smell of the trees, the feel of my legs in an even, steady rhythm moving me along my route. Over time I would embrace the hills as a chance to rest deeply in movement and the lands around me and stay simply in the present moment–sniffing the air, one leg and then the other circling the bottom bracket, listening for birds and vehicles, sensing the wind and heat/cold on my skin, and scanning for flowers, bears, deer, moose, birds, and hazardous objects.

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Hello world!

Being with bicycling, yoga, poetry, leisure, and the world.

For most of my life I have worked hard to do, be somewhere and someone, change my body, get somewhere in the world, and change others and the world. It was a grand and glorious trip and yet there is so much I overlooked, missed, dismissed, and judged unimportant. Something dynamic around intersections, lines, people and many varied types of leisures–yoga, computer gaming, urban Aboriginal hip hop, heavy metal music cultures, bicycle tourers, photography, and agility training.

In 2004 a dream came true as I began to travel by bicycle around the islands of Oahu and Hawai’i and some 5000 kilometres in British Columbia well after the age of 50. Kindred spirits like Dervla Murphy, Marg Archibald, and Anne Mustoe had inspired me to see the world slowly, on my own power, and so the world etched itself on my physical body. I took a pocket book about yoga to address sore muscles only to find that both the slow cadences of cycle touring and yoga poses enhanced and deepened a meditative mind about who was the I of me, my place in the cosmos, and the blending of me with the world. Cycling–attentive to the world, living out in the open, caressed and pummelled by weather, natural forces, and beings.

Bicycling and yoga tuned me to the spaces and forces around and within me.

As a professor of leisure it is probably not strange that bicycle touring weaves itself through my life and intersects with my research and teaching, my desire to connect to the world as it is, and

Leisure is an often overlooked aspect of life now riddled with judgments, work practices, achievement, and consumerism. Historically and philosophically leisure has been multi-faceted: Dionysian celebrations, daily socializing and games, intellectual approaches to citizenship, large public events and spectacles, and deviant practices. The classical history of yoga suggests another understanding of leisure–quieting the mind and non-attachment to the ego-self where being with what is nourishes peace and contentment.

Daily cycling rhythms allowed me to taste this contentment as self blended into movement and the world/people along the route and led me to ponder these intersections in my life.

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