After the Long Cycle Tour

A year in retrospect: I left Paraguay, tailing the trail of Geo, whom I married. Trying to combine a husband, a house, a truck and myself is a different cookie than traversing the world on a bicycle.

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We stayed a few months in Germany, where I treasured electricity and a kitchen.

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Finally… chutney, granola, Sauerkraut and raw veggie drinks.

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Recipe for Life Changing Bread and Masala Chai.

Staying put in a sturdy abode meant I was able to order and receive real books by postal service. I took them out to the woods, already rather soon needing to avoid the stronghold of a house.

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Geo wanted to move out of his house, wanting to downsize, embrace a simpler lifestyle and get out of gloomy Germany, although the summer of 2018 was a splendor of sunshine.

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I was already out of society, and intended to stay away from mumble jumble but a little more stability and regularity than being constant on the move with a bicycle would fit me.

Geo exchanged ideas and words for actions, and bought an Iveco truck, made it ready to live in and off we were.

At work (Geo 99.9%)

We left Germany, left a house empty.

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We drove to Spain in our converted truck, where we parked the Iveco in front of a huge whitewashed sort of palace. The house of my husband’s parents. Two weeks later the parents left and we were asked to take care of the house.

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Needless to add that I was not utterly happy, having ignored living in houses for years. Geo moved out of his house a few days ago, certainly not to exchange it with a palace-alike habitation.

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In a built up town flooding with tourists in summer.

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We pondered and talked. Decided to convert the enormous house with the best view possible into a place to rent out. Let other people enjoy this house while we could move into the Iveco truck. How exactly? we did not know yet.

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Inevitably, luxury is something the human species gets used to. A bucket shower is a luxury compared to a cloth rinse, let alone the lavishness of an overhead hot shower. Veggies and fruits were bought at the fresh produce market in Benidorm, of all places. I sat more in a car than on the Brooks bicycle saddle. We both adjusted more or less. But not everything was comfortable, during the winter months we had freezing cold climate and spend much of our time in front of a mobile gas heater in a small room.

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No one lives in the winter months where our house was now situated. It was only us, and some stray cats. It appeared to be more quiet than any stealth camp spot along a track, since no one drove by.

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For more than 3 months we worked many hours a day on the house. Finally I was working for my living and it felt good. It felt justified.

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I cleaned, sorted, and arranged. I decorated the house with stuff available, trying not be part of consumerism. An easy task since the house offered a bounty of stuff. Photo’s were made. And now, we’re running an Airbnb hotel. It works, and being in touristy Costa Blanca helps.

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We have 3 apartments on Airbnb. The upper floor, called ‘Luxi’, because it is so luxurious.

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The middle floor.

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The lowest floor, which we named ‘the Retro Cave’, for it is so cool (also in summer).

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It worked so well that suddenly I was bound to the house more than I wanted to. Well, I’d cook and bake some more…

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Once a week, we would visit the fresh produce market. After the market, we would enjoy a menu del dia, and then return with a car to our new home in a deserted area, coming to life only in summer. I started to wear earplugs on such days, as the sounds of so many people together would drive me nuts. The several sources of music, active television screens, flickering lights of decoration and game machines and traffic and somehow, also all the energies floating around me in a city made me not wanting to return there.

We’re out for walks. The surrounding is rather stunning. Usually we take Geo’s preferred trails (non-existent paths).

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Penyon de Ifach.

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We meet with a newborn.

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Sierra de Bernia. Literally out of our doorstep.

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Embolse de Guadelest.

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Although Spain has already a much more tranquil folk, people are even more calm and friendly out of tourist season. Yet, the Costa Blanca and the towns in particular are a melting pot of people. The Spanish are attentive, helpful and the Costa Blanca is made up out of many foreigners. Benidorm a highlight of hideousness. Cycling and rock climbing favorite sports. Mountains and tourists all around. There are a lot of pensioners too, spending their last and beautiful years at the Costa Blanca.

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The sun shines often. It’s all a little bit more back in time. But not much…

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While I met Heike in Germany, she asked me: ‘So now Cycling Cindy does not exist anymore? How sad.’ Of course, she could not have meant that Cycling Cindy is my identity. I don’t derive my sense of self from a blog identity. But indeed, I do not cycle very much anymore.

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Yet, the lifestyle of cycling is embedded in me. To maintain such a lifestyle is not so easy possible when living in an actual house. A house takes away pretty much of the outdoor style of living as there is no need to be careful with electricity, light is always available and everything is just comfortable. But in comfort does not lay happiness, contentment nor satisfaction.

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But how does one combine a lifestyle of living outside with a house cum hotel and a husband who made us a truck to live in?

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Meanwhile, the pressure of escaping the house and its confinements grows. Geo and I walk together in the hills behind the house, a house we both don’t really want to be in.

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I have overnight stays.

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But walking rounds is not the same as living outdoors. I may copy the cycling life by erecting a tent, making camp fires and baking bread but a few hundred meters below me is a town where I can buy it all.

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I try walking my husband’s hiking trailer. I set out a general direction to walk to. Geo brings me with the car into the hills and I start walking. I now walk instead of cycle. I make about 10 kilometers a day, carrying a minimum of food supply. Soon I notice the load of the trailer is too heavy.

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I get frustrated! I don’t want to be bolted to a house, where I can’t feel the only thing which seems real: outside.

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Perhaps I want a combo rather impossible: an outdoor lifestyle, running a hotel, working to balance life and at the same time avoiding the house.

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Geo and I are now sharing our life together, which I find a beautiful precious happening. My way of living and his desired way. Our combined way. But all that in a setting both new to each of us. In fact, two entirely new combined ways. Was cycling the world challenging at times, it seems peanuts to me now.

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Sometimes the many possibilities in life make choices difficult!

Big night isn’t it? A happy conclusion to a slightly bumpy journey. That’s really the point isn’t it, for all relationships, the journey. It’s not enough to stand still. There’s gotta be… progress. Movement towards something. Because the really frustrating thing is we could be madly happy. And not to go after that, and not to take the risk when it’s so close you could almost reach out and… touch it. The great and terrible thing about life, there’s just so much bloody… potential. All of which is almost certainly nonsense, and I’ve no idea what I’m talking about.

Douglas Ainslie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

June 2018 until February 2019

p.s. I love taking a hot shower now and then, consuming coffee’s with milk in an authentic restaurant, go to the herbalista for essential oils and to Alvinder Singh for ayurvedic toothpaste and order on Amazon. I am also quite content that I sleep on a 2 x 2 meter waterbed, under a down blanket with a down pillow (we named it the Princess Room).

21 responses to “After the Long Cycle Tour

  1. Cindy — Thank you for sharing this intimate view of your life with Geo and your interior journey from “Cycling Cindy” to life with him. The Freewheeling Freelancer is also trying to get out of house he does not want after living on the road. Like you, I may not be able to return to a completely free existence with my bicycle, and your post helps me deal with that.
    May you and Geo enjoy smooth roads and tailwinds, on whatever vehicle you choose.
    JT

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi JT,

      I hope the post was not intimate, as I tried to avoid too much personal stuff.

      Who is the freewheeling Freelancer? Are you that?

      Anyway, thank you for showing appreciation for this post. Nice to hear you liked reading it.

      Are you cycling now, and why you may not be able to return to a free cycling existence, if I may ask so?

      I have much more coming up concerning ‘coming back’.

      Thank you for wishing Geo and me smooth roads and tailwinds. I wish you the same. Happy rolling (in case the bicycle comes to an halt for you too ; )

      Regards Cindy and Geo

      Like

  2. Be patient. Be kind to yourself. You have made such a change to your life. It takes time. You can’t spend years on the road, with the freedom of your bicycle, without feeling a sense of loss. I still miss my three and a half months! Transition is never easy – but you are finding ways to straddle the outdoors with the indoors.
    How long do you plan to stay in Spain?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Helen,

      You are right. I notice now, when I stop wanting to be somewhere else than where I am, it get’s better. And when I am somewhere else on my own, I miss Geo, so that is no solution. When I am somewhere randomly with Geo, I sort of miss a home to do what I really want to do (sewing, designing). I am now focusing on our Airbnb and the creative part without wanting to escape the house.

      I think it is important to make a stand… and we did: we stay here until … a certain date…. and that is what it is! Deal with it.

      We are trying to sell the house, so we won’t be here too long. When you are coming near, you are welcome to visit : )

      A house… is not for me Helen. I feel like I am being seperated from the outside, which is only nice when it is cold and rainy and windy.

      Much regards Cindy

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your post. I see the problem but unfortunately I haven’t got a solution if one even exists. The trouble is that life has so many options now a days. In days gone by one was very grateful for a house, for a car, for a job etc, now things are much easier and I think we have forgotten about the past. I think this is partly why we like to rough it, to feel the reality minus the cushy modernities but a times we like the cushy. Just stay present to what is and be grateful for it all if the best I keep telling my self. Sometimes successfully other times not.

    Maybe do a short tour every few months to feel the outdoors more vividly. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree with all you said, and you said it beautifully and right on, but one thing, the last. A short tour every few months is not a solution for me. I find it difficult to deal with short term travel. For me, it must last months on end will I enjoy it, I get unbalanced very quick and learned that stability is best. So, I do again agree with you: stay present and be grateful for what is. It’s so easy to want what is not and the wish to be somewhere else than where one is.

      Greetings from Spain

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, touring does that, we feel the raw simplicity and we again become grateful for the hot meal, for water a little spot to rest in for the kindness of a shelter during a storm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes and yes!!! But it becomes silly when a few hundred meters is all you can buy or your house. At least, I feel silly, to bake bread when I can carry it up. But, whatever silly, I do it because I like it. And as you said: we need that raw material in a polished easy life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I know what you mean. I am not sure it is intentional any more at the people level but supermarkets do that all the time to put local grocers out of business. Look we have it all so why travel from shop to shop and cheaper (for now). They use pricing and convenience. And then we become slaves to their game. Working to buy to eat. If you grow it you are free, if you make it you are free. Food afterall, grows for free so why is it such a big part of peoples expenses? It enslaves them to need work to get paid to buy etc. Very simplistic, I know, but true in essence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is certain that some food items are so incredible overpriced, while others are actually too cheap. It is often a very unfair happening and I wonder who get rich by it? Or how cancerous it is? Though I must admit that going to one supermercado for everything is convenient, because I am also so busy (which in itself is non sense too) that going to several is just too much inconvenient…

        We prefer therefore going to the fresh produce market so we get veggies relative close to the source with income going to the people who deserve it more, I think?

        Same with the organic shop.

        Oh, would it not be fantastic if our living area’s would have no supermercado’s but only, like many places in India or Yemen, shops for only diary, grains and meat, etc. These shops are disappeared mostly in Spain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s only polished because in their FB updates they don’t ever post about their 9-5 in the cubicle locked away from the sun and nature, about the work conflicts, about restructures and the constant need to reapply for their position thus the constant threat of loosing their job. The constant need to study and apply for higher and higher more stressful positions to build their careers etc. They only post about the after party or the weekend dinner at a restaurant because they are too exhausted to have fun making and sharing delicious healthy foods at home. It’s a smoke screen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What you describe is high end smoke screen, yet the high end traveler does exactly the same. Hardly do we read about boredom, loneliness or being tired of it. It has to be great, fantastic and extraordinary. ALL THE TIME! So boring : )))

        Liked by 1 person

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  6. Hi Cindy, I believe we share the same mothertongue ( I’m flemish), but few people speak that obscure language, so let it be english.
    I’m following your blog since 1 or 2 years because I like your pictures, your writings and your concept of life.
    I’m 70 and my partner and I finished last year a 31.000 km cycling journey through Asia. Even at that age, it was a live changer. It changed our vision on what you need to be happy, on people, on the world, on values. The cycling option stopped because our age makes it really difficult to go for Africa or South America. Or perhaps we stopped for the same reasons that you stopped.
    Anyway, I had that old Unimog that we used for some short journeys into Africa and also as bedroom while we rebuild an old barn in the middle of France. Last year we decided to test it as a winterhouse and we lived 5 months in it while travelling though the south of Europe and Morocco. We interupted that journey in January-february to go for a cycling tour in India. We are now back in France and do a complete overhaul of the Unimog because it will be our house for the main part of the years coming. We plan a long journey end of this year through West Africa.
    The reason why I write this comment : I read that you are based now in Benidorm while rebuilding your truck and we had some wonderfull days in March on a cliff near Villajoyosa which is closeby. I realised that we are having some similar experiences, with a 30/40 years difference in between. Just funny.
    My partner, Karin, writes a blog on FB, “2 hobos in Asia” even it covers now our Unimog travels in Africa.
    Perhaps one day you’ll cross that yellow Unimog and then you’ll know you must stop and have a chat.
    Cheers,
    Karin and Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michel and Karin,

      How nice to read your message! My husband knew immediately what an Unimog was, but I not. I had a look at at Karin’s Facebook and it looks fantastic! Is there much room for sleeping? Or perhaps ONLY room for sleeping? We will check out that spot in Villajoyosa, although the whole coastline of Spain is so terribly built up. But well, the sun makes up for that.

      Thank you for your compliment! I think you did the best thing possible. Age is not an issue, as long as the body is willing and independent from artificial needs. I am so glad to hear that you and your partner cycled and that your view changed so much. Well, it has to, when one is traveling like you guys did, it HAS to change. Beautiful.

      May I ask whether you cycled before such a long journey? And if not, how come you decided to cycle? Or did it follow up the backpacking experience, as it did with me. Now I am done with cycling, the truck is such a great follow up. Geo, my husband and I are going for another motorbike trip through South America again.

      Your Unimog is awesome!! When we see one driving, we honk to you guys! Is it an old vehicle? Where could you buy this? Ah, so many questions….

      Much regards Cindy and Geo

      Like

  7. Hey Cindy and Geo, Villasoyosa is probably not a good idea during these months. Probably crowded. We were there in March, during the week, but on the weekend a lot of mobilhomes arrived. So we left.
    A nice place that is accesible by your truck (from El Cantal) : PN Cabo Cope y Puntas de Calnegre.

    we started cycling when I hit the 60. Before I had travelled alone on a motorbike from Alaska to Panama during the final years of my mariage. I shipped the bike back to Europe. By the time I divorced I had no cash to ship the bike back to colombia. I met Karin, who widowed very young, and she sugested to take my bicycle to SEA, where she had travelled and were I never had been. I started in Laos and Karin joined me in Bangkok. And we never looked back again.
    The last 3 years we went electrical and we got the best of 2 worlds. But you lose part of your freedom because you need to recharge. No problem in SEA. But not doable in South America.
    And now the Unimog. Great feeling of freedom. Even in Europe we camp in amazing places. I bought it 10 years ago from the Bundeswehr, very cheap, through an auction on VEBEG.DE

    See you on the road.

    Karin & Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michel and Karin,

      What a beautiful story. The beginning is unfortunate for both of you but that you found each other and that the relationship is working out so well, both loving to travel, well… that is quite something!

      How fantastic that you could buy the Unimog that way. My husband said they are very sturdy and strong vehicles. Our truck is big, too big actually and we feel that freedom is limited with such a vehicle. We can not go everywhere and it is visble from afar. But still, for me it is quite the best of both worlds since I dislike a house and cycling and camping had stopped.

      We will not go to the place you mentioned, but thanks anyway, it could have been something indeed. But we are both not the biggest fan of ocean and I doubt that there will be no, or few, people?

      Spain, in general is eihter too crowded or ‘dead’, in my opinion. Though we both LOVED Tabernas!

      Much regards, also to Karin,
      Cindy and Geo

      Like

  8. Enjoyed reading the story of you’re new life. Walking with a trailer is uncomfortable, i once met i man who was walking to Rome with a trailer and he had it difficult. I think carrying much luggage is easier on a bike. On the other hand high in the mountains you won’t come with a bike.
    Looking forward to new story’s
    Gert

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gert,

      somehow I think your name is Gert, but I am not sure?

      Yes, walking with a trailer is something I am not going to do anymore. I could not stock up with food, and when I could I had to carry it all day with me. And then I would haul all this stuff for only a mere 10 kilometer. In Spain, where nothing really is that far off nor it is incredible beautiful. I mean, would it be fantastic in surroundings, I would sacrifice the discomfort of the heavy load.

      A bicycle is the way to go!

      New stories are coming up, now with a truck. Regards Cindy

      Like

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