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.
We stayed a few months in Germany, where I treasured electricity and a kitchen.
Finally… chutney, granola, Sauerkraut and raw veggie drinks.
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.
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.
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.
We left Germany, left a house empty.
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.
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.
In a built up town flooding with tourists in summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have 3 apartments on Airbnb. The upper floor, called ‘Luxi’, because it is so luxurious.
The middle floor.
The lowest floor, which we named ‘the Retro Cave’, for it is so cool (also in summer).
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…
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).
Penyon de Ifach.
We meet with a newborn.
Sierra de Bernia. Literally out of our doorstep.
Embolse de Guadelest.
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.
The sun shines often. It’s all a little bit more back in time. But not much…
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.
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.
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?
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.
I have overnight stays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).