The Journey is the Destination
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Anyone who made a guess where they would be 5 years from now back in 2015 must have been wrong! My plans for this year (and my life come to think of it) probably changed more than ever before.
I was on my way to Portugal for a week-long holiday to visit my friend Robin in his valley. I unexpectedly lost the job I was going to move to Spain for after my holidays, a job I had invested lots of sweat and blood in, which was a huge blow to my confidence. I thought a good alternative to working was travelling to India for my friend Maddy's wedding and becoming a yoga teacher. I also wanted to move to Argentina, and maybe fulfill my dream to cycle across this continent that has called me for so long. Instead, for the first time in almost 3 years, I just stayed where I was. I learnt how to build things - from platforms to horse stables, I grew veggies to feed an ever-changing crowd of people, I looked after animals and learnt the art of self-defense. I went out of my comfort zone almost every day, understood again what was important to me and got over the trauma so many of us have gone or are still going through at the moment. Robin invited me to his place where nobody sets expectations and where I could really listen to myself.
Robin, his kids and horses at Buglandvalley
Between all the things that have been going on there over the last 6 months (building, Jiu Jitsu retreats, school holidays, growing the animal population from 3 to something over 10, etc), I learnt to actually slow down. I spent hours in the kitchen and the veggie garden, hanging out with the kids, cuddling the dogs, walking the donkey, or sometimes just sitting, doing nothing, listening to the birds, and breathe.
There are two true luxuries in life, which I both currently have: time and space. Sometimes, they are a privilege, sometimes they are something we work for.
I often remind myself of the many privileges I own; I was born in Germany at a time where there was no war, pandemic or economic crisis. I am educated and had the freedom to choose what I wanted to learn and at which pace. I am an Australian citizen. I am healthy, and the only thing I could think of that can at times place me at a disadvantage is that I am a woman. I could feel bad about having those privileges, but that does not help anyone. Rather, I feel that I should really make the most out of them, so I can live a life in tune with my values.
I love travelling overland. Just before my 30th birthday, I finished a bus trip from London to Sydney. No matter how much I like living in my new home, I still have my sense of adventure and wanting to move. I therefore embarked on a journey cycling from Portugal to Germany today, to start my new decade out on the road.
Bruno and Marco from Ericeira Bikes
I made part of my cycling-across-south-america-dream come true and bought a gravel bike from Kona. I met the amazing guys from Ericeira Bike, who not only live just around the corner from me, but are also the best Kona-Europe dealers (definitely Karma!). They have very patiently spent hours kitting out my bike and me in record-time when everyone in the world seems to buy everything that's bike related at the moment, making preparing a 3500km trip in less than a month a truly challenging experience. They have earned many beers for when I get back!
My intended route is:
Ericeira (near the village Sobreiro) - Santiago de Compostela - Bilbao/ San Sebastian - Bordeaux - Marseille - Lyon - Geneve - Basel - Frankfurt - Cologne
Some of you may wonder why I am starting a blog on my new website about a bike trip; shouldn't I separate work from play? I want to use the time and space on my journey to think more about the opportunities that have presented myself this year. To me, my professional and personal life are very related, and you are very welcome to follow my journey.
Day 1 - setting off after last minute preparations from Bruno and Marco's shop
Am I not just showing off while others are stuck in their house? I hope you don't see it that way. This is not intended as external validation, I rather want to share my story and maybe show just another possibility of what to do if you can choose, how to spend a big birthday, how to maintain social distancing, or (hopefully) an interesting read about things I see and think about along the way. Besides, I have a feeling that many people are not very keen on cycling for 4-6 weeks straight?!
I am visiting friends and family along the way; if you are looking for some socializing after months of isolation and think I should come and say hi, please give me a shout!
Everyone is the master of their own life, and we can make a lot out of what we have. Sometimes we see the choices we have, sometimes we don't. We should all have the right to feel empowered and not fear to do what makes us, and others happy. If with anything I do, I can contribute to anyone's feeling of empowerment, I would consider myself a very happy human.
And now, I will rest my legs after reaching my first stop - Lagoa de Obidos after 77km.
Tomorrow, I go Roving!
Lunching with my Kona Rove