Why traveling (thoughts from 2013)

Sometimes I need to air my thoughts, analize my views, write them down. They are personal, yet I publish them for everyone to read. It’s part of traveling. Traveling is not always blissful. It’s life… here are my thoughts.

U can't buy happiness but...

Cinderella was never born as a princess, unless it was a nomadic one

Things never goes according plan. That much I have found out long ago. And I ain’t making plans anymore. Besides, best things happens when you get rid of any plan. I think it makes you more flexible too. I try to make the best of any situation I am in to. If this all doesn’t sound very mindful enough, then I can add that I like to rise with the sun, talk to animals and can be amazed by a flower. Even more funny so, I get my periods at full moon. Being so flexible and mindful would suggest I can adapt in any situation I am in. Fact is, I can. Isn’t that about accepting and surrender? But what is it damn difficult to change days where I cycle an average of 100 kilometer a day to nothing. What is it unimaginable hard to live a life from outside to locked inside. Day’s from complete unknowing to weeks so predictable. From hard work to doing nothing. I wanted to come home because my mother’s faith is that she’s got cancer. All of a sudden. Unexpected. Unplanned.

Ask yourself why you do what you do?

For the fourth time in almost two months I’m swapping continents. From Cameroon to Amsterdam, from Brussels to Tbilisi, from Batumi to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Diyarbakir.

Why do I fly so much while all I want is cycling?

Why do I fly in the first place? Firstly because cycling from Cameroon to Amsterdam and on to Georgia is a very long way, a route which I am not too much interested in. Besides, it’s way more expensive than flying. Secondly I don’t dare yet to depend fully on the universe alone and keep cycling into the vastness of the unknowing.

All I know, a feeling strong as a believe in something as visible as the sun under a cloudless sky, is that I want to be outside and be alive in this wonderful world. I sometimes say that there’s not much interconnectedness between people in our average day to day life, while, like me, working in a fashion shop. This is, however, not true. As for me, working in a fancy clothing shop, I often felt a therapist for people who went through cancer, who showed me their amputations of breast. People came crying. Customers bought after they talked intensely. Others came to give me reiki, right on the spot. The shop was outfitted with panels to rebuff negative energy. The water had a filter to energize us all. My colleagues and I had a great time together, so much that our customers came to visit us and brought chocolate and pastries. I liked working there. But all had one focal point.

Traveling.

Traveling as in living.

Is traveling restlessness? Perhaps it is. Fact is that I find rest in traveling, in cycling to be precise.

Could I be a shepherd? Would I be born as a nomad, could I live restfully? Or would I rather wanted to be a saleswoman in a fancy clothing shop in Europe? I am born in a wealthy country and I prefer to live like a nomad. Is living a quiet life necessarily a settled one? Is a nomadic life ever a settled one? Am I copying the life of a person who’s born with blood running through his vessels of an ever wanderer? Being born in the Netherlands leave no option for such life, yet it’s the one I prefer. Can I truly love and enjoy this, also when I have no back up in a bank account in Europe? Am I only a fancy cyclist copying a nomadic life style, taking an airplane here and there.

Is it that I haven’t found my ideal place to settle? Do I want to settle? Is settling the same as having found peace? Why do birds migrate?

‘You can not travel for ever and ever. Face it. You’ll have to settle some time,’ says a friend with whom I cycled a couple of months.

Do I really? All I know is that a basic life style is what I prefer.

A tiny whisper on my shoulder appears and ask me: is it really so, you are healthy now, what if you get sick and have no money in your account? Do you still prefer a basic life style then? Things that make me understand the meaning of life are based upon the most simple events. The tiny whisper leans in: are you sure Cindy? Your basic needs are all coming from one source, your bank account in the Netherlands. How real is living with an almost extinct group of people if they work hard on their lands to get their food while I have money in my account? Yet I felt one of them. Because they threaded me as if I were one of them. We were one, and the same.

‘And you like money’, is what the same friend adds

I agree, I like money. With money I can cycle, without money I can’t. Fact is that I try to get on with as little money as possible. I believe in the universe to provide. But, apparently I believe not fully in it. It becomes a true journey the day I set out with no money. As for today, I haven’t got much, neither do I save for the future. I have very little belongings, my most expensive purchase is my bicycle. I earn money for one intention only. I haven’t got a house, nor a car. I haven’t got a mortgage nor a retirement fund. I have chosen to travel and since I discovered the bicycle, I am hooked. But how true is the life I choose? How true is the life many people did not choose? How real is life if you are aware that something is missing? That you haven’t done what you really want? That you missed out on something. You regret. You wish you had done it differently! None of these feelings do I harbor.

I am aware that I am born in a well off, stable, non violence country, with very good options and a well taken care of government. Yet I venture out to countries where such basics are not to be found. Me, with my safety-net underneath me, love to live the life of an explorer. Like I am Columbus myself, trying to find new lands to capture. Well, I do capture.

The intense emotions, the primary needs. The experience is magnified as it were. The journey is always much more than a change of scenery, culture or nature. Wherever you go, the journey is inevitable in the depths of your soul. Not everyone is aware of this, many people think that I only push the peddles of a bicycle, but it is a discovery of self. It is actually a long meditation, not one where you are constantly in, but much longer than if you are not traveling on a bicycle. At home, in a sedentary life style, working, there is so much around that distracts (rules to secure the future). However, people who are aligned, understand why I do what I do. It’s addictive, cycling. The magnified feelings and moments you experience while traveling makes it difficult to return to a former lifestyle. Perhaps growth makes it always impossible to return. That’s why it’s being growth…

The word survival sound loaded but questions like, ‘where do I sleep’, ‘what do I eat tonight’, ‘where do I get my food’ are an every day seizure. I have to be self-sufficient. If I don’t choose for hiding in the bush or forest, I have to ask people to let me sleep at their property. Knocking at doors. Calling for attention. It is a great exercise for an introvert born person. It’s a thin line between asking and give nothing in return except humanity. Being alone on such journey makes it all the more a plunge into surrender. Being together you bask in the knowing of the other, you create your own little island into the world where you are, with your own language, your own habits which are understood and accepted. Alone you must inhered both male and female. Being together my masculinity may lie down and lean back.

Isn’t every travel one’s journey alone?

Why can’t I be at ease where I am now, at home?

I can list many reasons. One of them is the constant flow of distraction. The world as how I am living in it, and with me many of you, is a constant stream of needs, wanting, musts and have to’s. Cycling along our roads is a constant message of buying better cars, getting your funeral organized, booking a cheaper flight, getting your children safe by arranging your testament. Not much difference as how people do such things in far off places and high up plateaus. The only difference is the way how. More simple. A style I prefer. I hardly can live a simple life-style in the Netherlands, how could I: start boiling my rice in our garden on my omni-fuel Primus stove. I could start living in my tent, but it would be slightly ridiculous if a huge house stands behind me. I could start to enjoy my beautiful decorated bedroom, and oh! I do. I appreciate it all. I sincerely do. But I miss the simplicity of nature. The quietness. The lonesome stretches of road in front of me.

Am I escaping responsibility? Am I afraid of settling in one place and feel caged? Does it confine my copying of a nomadic lifestyle?

Life on the road makes every cell in my body comes to life. I can focus on the most basic things and swipe away all the rest. It’s like I am eating a delicious wedding cake without all the adornments, a cake placed not a silver platter but one an endless earthenware one, cracked on the sides, unknown whether it’s washed and clean underneath. A cake presented by a person who speak no language known by you, except that the eyes speak the linguistics of the heart. No words are needed. No explanation is required. It’s the word from human to human, one in this world. Stepping stones to another life unknown. Following the language told by the heart. I am traveling because my heart tells me to do. Watching the eyes reflected in the pitch dark glass tilt-window above me shows eyes knowing she’s on the right track. The track set out by a nomadic heart, now and then confined in a luxury cage called house. I do believe in reincarnation. I was one of them, those crazy nomadic people!

Living in caves. Finding shelter in nature. Being embraced by it’s pure love and glittering stars. The pointers of each and every life. There’s so much richness to find, if I only dare to let it fully go. Meeting people, being strangers, opening up like a crate of mango’s just after the beginning of the season. So many different people, all we are is one.

The inevitable downside of this much traveling is that I feel myself an alien in my own country. The contrast with where I feel at home and where I am born is enormous.

Adds to it that I haven’t got a job because I am on a cycle-tour and I feel helplessly superfluous. Like my wings are cut. Cycling on the neat grid of Dutch cycle paths is just not the same as the immensity of a Western Sahara road. Cycling through the Netherlands is all of a sudden a mini-world, with everything micro and infantile rules and no where an empty space as far as the eyes can wander. I miss the roughness and inelegance of a life raw and ingenuous. Countries like Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and India still harbor where I feel complete at ease and at the same time feel life running through my veins, where nature, culture and scenery interact with it’s inhabitants. Cycling in the Netherlands makes no sense, as I cycle to go somewhere. The road is my journey, the destination merely a step forward.

Yes, a life this much traveling is irreversible. That is, if it’s suiting you. Or, is the life which suits you, always finding you when you dare to follow your dreams and strong desires?

No, nowhere is a place perfect. Drop the concept of perfect and it becomes more so. I just love to cycle. This comes most close. And while my mother, still a healthy body and mind, found out she’s got cancer, I returned home at once. And here I am… longing to my wandering lifestyle, a nomad captured in a cage. The wandering goes on, on advise of my mother, and the money this semi-nomadic cyclist like so much will be spend on tickets to go and come back when necessary.

Insh’allah my mother will stay strong and live a long life…

September 2013

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