On the path to Must, from New York to San Francisco
Why I Get Ready to Cross the United States by Bicycle
“ Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.” elle luna
One month ago, during the writing of my article “Choose Must at the crossroads”, I was at the crossroads. Aware of the existence of this Must, I was afraid of the unknown, the uncertain and the risk which imply to follow it. Without realizing that I already intended myself for it.
Have you ever been confronted with a decision which you were afraid of taking? Because it looks like you so much that it is too different from it from others?
01. Trust the signs
3 weeks ago, I left a note on one of Thomas Despin’s instagram posts. In 8 months, Thomas traveled 5.000 miles by bicycle, and he crossed 15 countries. He is the creator of Startup Cycling : he meets startups founders on the road ! From a comment to Skype talks, his boldness, his values and his story caught my attention.
Witness of my craze, he told me “ you should come!” without even knowing me, without knowing that I was taking this proposal seriously.
I would have been able not to listen to this sentence, but it would have been an insult to intuition. This project is at the crossroads between what I like doing (traveling) and what I do (writing) and will allow me to strengthen my creative and personal experiences to reinvest them in a professional project.
I felt so much excitement as concern. It’s curious as to go towards the Must generate an irrational and visceral fear. Our decisions the most aligned with our “must” take us away from a conformity and expose us then to criticism and to difference.
The story of our life is the story of our fears. Do we choose the life where they overtake us, or that where we overtake them?
02. Value the coherence
Why to maintain the fear when we can feed the imagination?
My path is not linear. My appetite for life, people, surprise and experiments has never found its balance somewhere else that in the movement and the diversity of experiments. In a society which alarms us of the lack of employment, place, opportunities instead of teaching us creativity, imagination and risk, constancy is openly valued and coherence is untold.
My instinct blows me to join Thomas’s project, when my mental calls upon reasons which are wrong: I have never met Thomas, I don’t cycle and I have two months to leave a company, be ready, and fly away. But beyond these constraints which soon won’t be here anymore, living my life with coherence seems to me more essential than to build my professional career with constancy.
I believe in this experience as an opportunity which is given to me, at this moment of my life, to follow the personal and professional path that I create these last two years: deepen my reflections on the startup culture and to create content about this.
03. Be loyal to yourself
We owe only a thing: the loyalty to ourself. Not to society, neither our relatives, nor our friends, nor our colleagues before being loyal with ourself. I believe that when we have access to information and the mental, physical and financial resources to go towards our Must, it is of our responsibility for taking this road.
An accomplished life will not be measured by the professional obligations which we shall have filled, but in the moral obligations which we shall have held. To be loyal with ourself is the best guarantee to pay attention then to others.
04. Trust the flow
I am working for a company for months now. These past 10 months were the calm which I needed to avoid the source of discomfort and to dare to plan for the future without having a sense of fail.
10 months ago, my desires and my creativity were beyond me. I didn’t know how to refrain this appetite for life.
I perceived a binary choice : to be overtaken by ideas or to become creatively blind.
Today, I focus on the writing. The success of my projects will depend on my ability to learn and to create relevant content.
Two years ago, my journey in New York revealed my interest in the startups ecosystem and the ambiguous relation between being an entrepreneur as a job and being an entrepreneur as taking action towards the life you want to live.
What better symbol now that to begin this initiatory journey from New York? What better place to continue to learn that San Francisco, cradle of this entrepreneurial culture?
Today, I can feel that fear is the proof that I am heading in the right direction and that a little bit of madness is a driven force.
For 3 weeks, I spoke to Thomas on the phone twice a day. One month ago, I didn’t know him. At the beginning of April I’ll meet with him in New York and we’ll cross the US to San Francisco by bicycle. We don’t know each other yet but we have a share belief :
“ To wander well, few things are required : a common ground and a clear mindset, mixture of joyful humors and loathing of established orders.”- Sylvain Tesson
I remember Oussama Ammar ’s talk, co-founder at TheFamily, who explained that to be partnering in a project is worse than getting married. I remember that he told that in order to consider a commitment of this scale, travelling together on a boat is a good test. What this bicycle adventure is about? No matter, as long as it learns us.