Obidos to Aveiro - contemplating Freedom during 191km
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
On a journey like this one, there are many life lessons you can teach yourself, if you listen to your thoughts and let them go wild. That's why I am glad that I have my companion Komoot leading the way and sending me down quiet country roads when possible (on our Monsterhikes in Australia my mate Rowan occupied that job).
Today, I cycled across a huge motorway bridge (on the footpath, but still nerve racking) and along a very busy road. I had to be very focused (mainly so I would not freak out when trucks whizzed past around me) and did not think much for a while.
The first days' ride to Obidos was tough with many hill climbs, so I chilled in a hammock yesterday to keep my promise about taking it slow in the beginning.
On my way there, I checked out the world renowned surf waves at Nazare and was out of luck - no waves. I joined the Estrada Atlantica and pedaled through rolling hills along the rugged and beautiful coastline. The landscape is a mixture between coastal shrubs, burnt down vegetation and beautiful pine and eucalyptus forests. At times, I felt transported back to Australia, where I spent many weeks driving up, down and across the vast and beloved outback and coastline.
Today's highlight I first thought was the beautiful laguna I discovered along a dirt track. Then, I started to think about fresh fruit and all of a sudden popped into a farmers market in Tocha. Freshly stocked up and pretty happy, Komoot sent me down a beautiful cycle path along a river covered in water lilies.
As if that was not enough, the Ericeira Bike boys directed me past Bruno's family restaurant and prepared a box of Aveiro's delicious 'ovos moles' for me (they are all gone now!). I ended the day with a sundowner at the beautiful Praia da Costa Nova. This is how it could continue every day!
A couple of days ago, I met Francois who cycled from Australia back to his home country Belgium. He was one of few people cycling across Saudi Arabia to get into Africa, which extended his trip by about a year and a half, and probably made his life take a completely different turn. He called me and my bike 'Hybrid' (my Kona I guess because it's such a cool mix between a bikepacking and classic bike touring. Me - hm ...?).
Being hybrid must mean being flexible and adaptable? - I take it as a compliment!
During these times there are so many things to be pessimistic or uncertain about. But thinking back to those privileges I mentioned before and what to do with them, I can translate them to what is good for me now, rather than focusing on the things I am lacking in my life and am unsure about at the moment; I am healthy, so I can do something like this bike trip, and meet friends and family along the way. I have been able to leave an impact in the community I live in Portugal, and it would be awesome if I could also achieve this with some people I am speaking to here.
Certainly, some of us are in better spots at the moment than others (thinking of you all that are still in lockdown now for example!). But no matter what, there are so many ways to look at what we can make out of the situation we are in (by that I don't mean that everyone has to cycle around the world - you may find it hard to find the right pannierbags anyway!).
So why not be a little bit more hybrid like that Kona Rove; acknowledge the options there are to shape our life's. If you find it hard to decide, because you don't really know what you want, pick one that aligns with your values, and take accountability for it (If you think you are already in a pretty good spot and have chosen the right one, wow, even better!). This is kind of what freedom means to me.
It definitely is not always easy. I, for example, am a Leo, and a very sociable person. I am also often alone, because of the lifestyle I chose. Generally, I love being myself, but I also have a wish to belong, and that doesn't always mix well. I want to take full accountability of the choices I make, live in tune with my values and be fulfilled and happy and going on this journey is a great opportunity for me to reflect on this.
What do you think makes you a happy and free person? Hit me up if you want to share what you discover (Like I say, I am sociable, and therefore always up for a chat :)
Thank you again for following my journey! Tomorrow, I will make my way to Porto, where I will indulge guilt-free in all the food that I heard so many good things about! Rove On and Love you All!