We are, only too often, all too used to the peculiarities of modern life that we know as normal – and for that, we are in all the greater a need to actively make ourselves at home.

At the beginning of last week, I was still in Beijing, finishing my teaching contract and visiting the last of the city’s Buddhist temples I decided to write about (looking for projects with which to make myself at home there); at the end of the week, I had given a presentation on why one should do so and walked (if “only” 60 out of 120 km) in this year’s edition of the 24H Burgenland Extrem event.

The very possibility to easily go and live in another country, the facility of worldwide flights, the ease with which information on so many a thing can be found, the free time and photography tools available, the comparative lack of violence and danger in many a place, the fascination and willingness of many a person to participate in extraordinary events… it all makes contemporary life comfortable, full of chances – but perhaps only too much so.

Just working there, even Beijing is hardly exotic. It’s just a drag.

Case in point: ‘Stay indoors’ they say when the air quality gets really bad – and this is what a simple Smart Air filter looks like after a half-year’s use for just a few hours each week:

Smart Air Filter

Smart Air Filter, 6 months later…

Adding some deliberate projects to engage in, as I mentioned before, it was (and has been) a lot more interesting.
Such projects can be done everywhere, though.

Having come back to the Austria I never quite felt so at home in, in all its familiarity, it was time for just such a project, a second go (number one was a complete tour last year) at the 24H Burgenland Extrem(e) Tour.

This year, I didn’t feel quite so good and didn’t get some gear I wanted to have for it, but I wanted to give it a go, anyways.

After all the bad air in Beijing, even with a bit of a cold (or after-effects of the air quality?), wintry landscapes with a bit of snow, blue and cloudy skies, clean air, and people sharing the interest to “Live. Love. Move.” seemed just the thing to get back to making myself at home here.

The Pannonian countryside showed itself from its wintry, changeable side, though:

At the start, it was just slightly cold and pretty dry, enough so to think that this would be the least extreme of the tours so far.

There was not much of a sunrise to be seen, but it was there, red and nice among the clouds.

A little later, a bit of a drizzle started and still seemed pretty comfortable (but already made me stop taking pictures).

And then it had changed into a downpour that went on for hours, only interrupted when it turned from rain to heavy sleet and then into a veritable cascade of snowballs.

The last 5 km to Apetlon turned into a march through rain and snow, with gloves that weighed a ton because they were sodden with water, with water sloshing in the shoes, thoughts of death marches running through the head.

I could have gone on, I thought to myself, but there’s a power in turning towards sense and heading home – and since my wife is waiting for me here, this is much more home than it has ever been.

The clean air was still good, being back with my wife makes it abundantly clear to me that the adventure I mainly seek now is to be with her and make her happy – and with the importance of gear this tour showed again, it’s the perfect transition:

Next up, after all, is another visit to the ISPO to see what’s new in the world of gear with which to make oneself at home.

Afterwards, it will be time to continue with ordinary life, but also with making it extra-ordinary.

You’ll see.