I am close to my 29th birthday now and I am trying to think about what I have done with all that time. Cycling down so many roads on this trip gets me thinking about how I ended up on this particular road. So much time spent in school, college, working, relationships and travelling. Yet if I was pushed to sit down and write about what I have done so far I could only jot down a snap shot at best. Life is just a collection of moments. Even looking back at what I did last Monday, I can only recall a few funny things that happened. I suppose I am happier now knowing that the moments are ticking by the way I want them too.
I got another Nat Geo mag today and it had the Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1: All humans are born free. Thats definely true for me and most Irish people. Yet why am I only starting to experience a true sense of freedom now, 29 years later. I grew up in just about as normal house as ye can get, granted the inmates in the asylum probably argue along those lines too haa. I dont feel the rigid structure of school and college was right for me but there is no alternative so ye have to go. I just never got into it, something was always just a little bit off. There is no doubt I had some serious craic in uni but that was definetly because of the crowd rather than the fine educational institute of DIT. Travelling helps increases the sense of freedom, cycling increase the freedom tenfold...
Now I have had to delete a pretty big rant I had spent a long time typing. Just stuff that I felt needed to be said. So once I put it down on and reread it, the therapy was done for me. So this is a vastly alterted post, not sure what the point is in even telling you. Maybe its just for me, to jog my memory of the post that could of been...
The things I have experienced this week have made me happier than ever. The places I have seen and the loving that I have done haaa. I feel like I am really starting to live on the edge now. Not on the edge of danger or of human endeavour haaa. On a different edge of my life. Living in the right place at the right time, all the time.
I have stopped in Madrid for a few days. Usual madness of backpacker hostel, madness that I am no longer involved in. I was chilling out in a Starbucks, not actually that bad for once, and I got chatting to Laura (Madrid) and Denise (Columbia). Awww they were loving the beard man, dont blame them either. Ended up going to the cinema with them but there was no dropping of the hand! Went to see My Blueberry Pie, cemented my love for Norah Jones, just simply smoking hot. I love the buzz of rocking into a city and getting chatting with locals. The anonymity of travel by bicycle is amazing. But whats more amazing is the open nature of strangers to chat or offer help.
How exciting is it to look at a map and be able to go almost anywhere on it. To spend a chunk of time in my tent at night picking out the most interesting route. Only to chose a turn at random in the morning just to see what might have been. I am truly in love with the random nature of my journey. Where ever I end up will be completely my own fault. The whole curiosity with the dead cat lark. I struggle to sleep with excitement even this far into the trip.
Mixed emotions about Madrid to be honest. Supposed to be resting my legs yet have found myself walking around the city for hours. Maybe I walked so long because its hard to find what is nice about Madrid. Dont get me wrong, I like it but I am not sold on it like Paris. I did a bit of museum stuff, just was not feeling it. It was an exhibit on 1914 avant garde and the great war. I did like a penciled sketch of a Belgium officer but that was about it. Nature trumps most art in my opinion. Its like watching a DVD on Planet Earth, or even a blu-ray disc haaa, it pales in comparison to real life.
Maybe I am yearning for the outdoors too much and not letting myself get into the run of things in the city. It is just packed full of christmas shoppers, possibly 50 million people today. They seem to have a weird christmas wig tradition here, very bizare and they also litter pretty fricken badly too. Everyone running around spending obscene money on obscene things, stepping over homeless people and averting eyes. Once your eyes have been opened its very hard to close them again. Its been a few years since I have really enjoyed christmas, probably since I left for Oz. Its hard to find joy when you know what poverty and hardships people go through, which I presume are multiplied at this time of year. The money spent over christmas makes me sad. The amount of disposable income we have and the choices we make in spending it. I think its why I didnt go to Malaga to meet Mary for christmas, combined with wanting to see Portugal haaa. Its all just wrong in my opinion, completely upside down.
Fingers of god pointing the way
Well there have been some sweet moments in the last week. Here is the highlight reel:
Another moment doubting the directions of a stranger. Why should I doubt them? Well when you ask how to get to Navaroñ and they point you towards a muddy track, doubts get raised. He looked like an extremely sweet old man, not dissimilar to Yoda. So I trusted him and went on a pretty wild ride through a slushy muddy track and eventually got to Navaroñ, which was a shit whole and I cycled right past it haaa. It will be a while before Celona forgives me for the mess I put her through but we did get a sweet spot to sleep.
A road = Tarmac, not mud
I had the quietest moment of my life. I had camped out in a nice little spot, I was hidden away off the road up in a little woods, just got the tent up when the weather got good. The sky started to poop down sleety crap and then it turned to hard hail. After a while we got the good stuff, big chunky snow flakes. After a couple of hours when everyone was tucked up in their warm beds at home it got real quiet. An erie silence like the kind you find in scary novels. No wind, no cars, nothing. At one stage I tried to pop my ears just to make sure I was not all bunged up. You could almost hear the flakes falling on the snowy floor.
I had my wild animal moment. I was cruising along the prettiest narrow valley of all time. It had a small stream which had probably spent its whole life carving out the valley for me to cycle along. It was cold, quiet and there was a bit of mist hanging on the side of the valley walls. Then thirty feet in front of me a big furry fox runs across the road and up into the hills and he stops just up off the road. I get closer, staring him in the eye, he didnt flinch, he just sat down and stared right back at me. I didnt go for my camera because the moment would be over before I had a chance to take a shot. So I slowed down and pulled in right beside him, he was only about ten feet from me and we just looked at each other for about twenty seconds and then he scampered off up the hill.
especially seeing the "river" that carved this
I had my Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moment (minus a hot girl on my cross bar). Wheeling along in the sun, yes Spain does actually have weather other than the snowy kind. Long flat land, sun beaming down, just the merest hint of a tail wind. So there I am, simple me, in the middle of a huge bowl like valley surrounded by the snow capped mountains I have been struggling over. Sitting on the side of the road eating a few strawberry jam sambos, an orange, a pear and coffee. Soaking up the suns rays, its amazing how much it can revitalise you. It was the first day in a long, looonng time I have been able to sit on the ground, so I did for a couple of hours and watched the birds dance around the sky.
I had my camping in an abandoned house moment. Spain is dotted with derelict houses and I have been itching to get into one and spend the night. The house had only the four walls left, so I pitched my tent in it and started cooking up dinner. Well holey moley when the sun went down I was treated to the darkest night sky of the trip. It was like something out of a Holywood movie, tucked up in my sleeping bag hanging my head out the door of the tent star gazing. Where the ceiling should be was just deep black sky with every single star out, I counted them and they were all there! Even the windows and doorway had a perfect night sky in them. It was just dead romantic, Celona agreed.
I had my easiest hill moment. What is the craic with the Spaniards and straight steep climbs eh. Finally I found a hill that had a glorious winding road up it. So I strutted my stuff all the way up in third gear, this hill climbing lark was finally easy. When I got to the top, I was stretching my neck out to see what the view would be like, it was absa-toot-ly breath taking. The scene in front of me was simply colossal, the biggest view of my young twentysomething life. Why do I feel it should of been harder work for it?
I want to squeeze every last ounce of energy out of this body before it fades away forever. To see my world. To bring happiness to others and somehow make a difference. To live every moment with real passion. I realise that this life is a one time offer. There is no coming back to do it better. There is no tomorrow, only this moment. Simply, I want to live...