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USA 2: Florida, Not Kickbiking because of Inflammation of Tendons (or Corona?)

A magnificent experience in the woods of Florida. I never knew how spectacular a seemingly boring patch of woods could be. Hundreds of photos prove my wonderments in times of Corona. All one needs is time to see beauty.

March: upon checking in at the airport of Guayaquil, Ecuador we were asked whether we’d been in China or Italy. Entering the USA we’d seen noticeboards warning for Corona virus. It’s a far away business for us, Corona, though not for our relatives in Europe, it seems the virus has gotten a hold there. It seems they all comply with what the government asks them?

Geo repairing his kickbike

Making a fire with little pieces of wood

While spiders seek shelter

DSCF6615

People speak of ‘self-quarantine’ and ‘stay home, save lives’ and ‘stay healthy, stay safe’. All I care about is my ankles. I have developed so much pain in my, by now, swollen ankles, that walking is out of the question. Kickbiking can not be done anymore.

Tendonitis apparently

Like fallen leaves, is how I feel now

For a week I have my feet in a higher position.

The patch of forest we are in is small, situated between a path where cyclists and walkers trot. Florida once must have been one enormous forest, now, much, of course, is bulldozed for housing schemes. Pest control businesses, tree specialists, garden architects and real estate agents are feeding on the American Dream. I see many big houses made of wood, a hollow arch and some columns to give the owner a boost. At least one car port, a boat, a RV under a roof, a large patch of manicured green grass, a few remaining trees and an alarm system is what characterize Florida.

On my way to the toilet

The creek at our patch

Here I sleep

The back of our camp has a private ‘Health Park’ where we fetch water. One dead-end path trails nearby. We are relatively unseen, that is, if we keep our fires and profile low.

Small fires for food

feet up, cooled and reading on

And so I sit.

I sit

Waiting for my ankles to heal.

Please, heal

They heal very slow, if at all. I am not taking any medication nor specified threatments.

Will it heal

One can wonder

Seeking compositions

I wonder, how boring this forest is. There is absolutely no life going on. ‘I can’t even make pretty compositions’, I complain to Geo.

I make creativity work

Boring, huh. Or not...

But the creativity is raging, so I duck down, mostly on all fours, and seek beauty where none seems to exist.

Got ya!

I seek and I find

This always caught my eye

And then, a whole new world opens.

I just have to look to see

An almost every day view

Incredible beauty is uncovering before my very eyes.

Hello, little friend

And hello, you too

A curious little fellow

Oh, you are beautiful

Aside from spiders, who are tiptoeing the blanketing of leaves, I discover frogs. They are small and agile and it takes me very much patience to chase them. It hurts my ankles to squad down and follow their quick jumps. Each frog tries to out-jump the lens which is poked in their tiny face. I keep chasing them, having not much else to do.

Thank you for posing so well

Yes, I still got you in my vision

But after 20 minutes the crouched position I sit in, hurts my ankles really much.

Always a sound of some little creature

At the creek

Seeing the sun in everything

Small becomes big

See that green

However quick these little creatures are, in the end, I win. Or so I feel like. The frogs seem to be afraid by the lens so close in their presence, but after countless jumps they seem to ponder: ‘Obviously, I am not being attacked, let me wait a minute and see what this chasing is all about?’ and in that very minute, I take my chances.

I see Geo in our forest

Green

Their camouflaged beauty. Their perfect creation. Their tiny eyes.

Incredible

The fluidity. Their transparent bellies.

See

The apparently carved bodies. How their fingers hold themselves.

Finally, I got him to sit still

I see God in them.

Never-ending incredibility

From every angle a frog is intriguing

After the frogs its the lizard’s turn.

Don't be shy, its just me

The lizards seem to have the same thought pattern as the frogs: ‘Who or what is this creature so close to me?’ Perhaps they marvel at the shiny disk, the lens of the camera, so near to them. At one point however, the lizard seems to really gauge up the situation and, as I see it, he poses perfectly still.

Its the same guy, I think

My turn to be captured

I see you

A new guy in town

I start to make new friends when Geo is out to either fetch water or buy groceries. Regularly Geo has to kick 30 kilometers to get items we need. My new friend, I forgot its name by now, is poisonous green and shows its bulge underneath its throat. I am elated when the lizard is full forced trying to impress me, or scare me, or perhaps in for mating with a same sort. And I limp around the tree he’s posing on.

The uprooted tree

How interesting and I don't seem to be disturbing much to them

Need for creation

Morning spectacle

True wonder

I feel I get to study their miraculously patterned skins. The elasticity of the bulge under their heads. The ribs that seem to poke through their thin green covering.

Poser

At times some of the lizards are studying me too. I think it is possible to befriend them.

Are you checking me out

Unseen I am seen

He or she is seeing me

Hairy creatures land on the books I read. I always have my camera besides me because the forest is far from boring by now.

See through miracle, if you think about it

They are fast

Reading brings much insights

Including hairs

The woods at night felt totally different from walking there in daytime. The place was operating under the principles at work at night, and those principles didn’t include me*. I meet with a possum, seemingly abruptly disturbed by my presence, as I am unexpectedly venturing towards the kitchen area at night.

Magnificent nevertheless

Besides all that wondrous activity, I say to Geo one day: I have the feeling the Corona affair will force shops to close here as well, can you please get me material from Hobby Lobby?’ And so Geo kicks through characterless Gainesville, picking up a solar panel (since we have so little access to electricity), Indian Wagh Bakri masala tea, new Bibles and a bag full of embroidery material. A day later the Hobby Lobby is closed, along with all other ‘non-essential’ stores.

Thank you my sweetest

Funnily enough, liquor stores and pharmacies are always open. And while the hospital crew choreographs tacky dances, the television makes believe they’re working their dancing butts off.

Hardly visible too

Hardly visible (2)

Someone is curious

After a week I start to loose hope that my poor swollen ankles will ever get back to normal. On Geo’s advice I start a week treatment with Ibuprofen. Within a week my ankles are back to normal.

With more to do, I click less

This is a new guy

I take full advantage of him

Within 2 weeks I can kick short distances. Soon I lift the burden from Geo’s shoulders to fetch water and groceries.

Out on the road to get groceries

I meet with roadkill

Out of our camp

And on to the road

Staying in the woods start to become burdensome. Its not that we care for the Corona much, though we are in a sort of self-quarantine, such a new fashionable word. We are more concerned about our visibility. Stealth camping for a night, or two, is a different matter than stealth camping like a homeless does.

Thanks for assisting

Jalapeños

Cool growth

Bugger

Close up spider face

Velcro

When one starts to settle as in living life abnormally normal, than one does not want to be seen. Each time one of us exits the patch of wood, we need to assure we are not seen by anyone jogging, walking or cycling past when we emerge.

Geo's home

Has to be done

We must keep our fires low, especially now with the Corona affair, fires are forbidden, since each and every fireman needs to be alert for the virus. Somehow. I guess the fireman needs to hose down the virus? Of course, we surely do not want to risk a forest fire in Florida. Having no valid USA health insurance by the way.

Bushbox

Pleasant shady

Falling trees is another risk. Branches crash down on nearly a daily basis. When the sound of a collapsing multi-story building is to be heard, it turns out to be a crashing tree.

After a while they get accustomed to me

I fear the day a police or some official will turn up, either alarmed by someone having placed an anonymous phone call to the authorities, or a neighbor being frightened by smoke fire. Either way, I do not want Geo to pay American prices for not abiding the rules.

Grumpy old man

Because when a single tomato at Publix costs $2, how much more will a fine for trespassing, fires and vagabonding be? Apparently, being homeless is an offense in Florida.

Impressive

Yummy

Wine holder

Getting into and out of the woods brings both of us mental stress. When I start the minimum of a 20 kilometer ride to get our groceries, washing our dirty laundry in between, I feel truly homeless. Mostly because my nails are continuously dirty. Each swing of my arm loosens a remarkable odor and washing our underwear in the sink of a Walmart toilet feels not quite right.

My nails are always dirty from beneath

Doing laundry

Reading church messages

The Bible belt

I love fresh smelling clothes

Traveling allows you to determine life with a different measure. Living a travelers life is wholly different altogether. I carry wads of dollars and an expensive new camera, I bring back Nordic salmon and organic coconut sugar yet my smell and dirty look does not match.

I am going for a little ride sweetie

Cold mornings turning quickly warm in Florida

A chair sort of

Each morning I sit at a makeshift chair, a fire going, chai at hand. While reading and embroidering I enjoy the slow brightening of the serpent green forest. Its a spectacle of the most boring sort, but since I have noting else to do, its a great live show nevertheless.

I love the forest

Serpent green

Reading and wondering

It seems colors turn brighter each week

Once my ankles are able to carry my weight, we start to make our temporarily home more comfortable. Even Corona-proof. Though we are not able to stock-up on toilet paper, Geo buys enough canned food and basic staples to get us through a few weeks of possible oncoming difficulty. We are in touch with Walt, he and his wife Leslie would have hosted us in New York City for 4 nights. We looked forward to this Warm Shower meeting, by now canceled. Our outside news comes mainly from people like Walt, though I refuse to believe that a society made dependent will be left helpless overnight.

Our toilet spade is being repaired with dental floss and power glue.

Healed and sealed

I asked Geo to pose with dirty hands

We try a Dakota system but fail.

Dakota fire pit

I go for a more comfy outfit, and start wearing Geo’s pair of trouser. I clip the back of the waistband together with a safety pin.

Blending in

Geo built a chair and two toilets. We notice how much we feel the need to start our own home.

Chair, self made, all natural

My private toilet

Beautiful chair

I rearrange my Big Agnes tent about 6 times, always finding a safer spot with less branches prone to crash on my sleeping head.

I created paths so walking goes without sound

Geo's abode

Makeshift bathroom

Just the two of us

I finish embroidery projects by the week.

Keep hanging in there

Inspired by Peruvian jungle

I am sitting a lot, resting the ankles

Embroidery piece

And when a particular smoky fire alarms my mind, we decide to shift camp another few hundred meters to the back. A beautiful uprooted tree will do perfectly as my kitchen. Geo need to dig a new cool pit, built a new chair and arrange a new fire pit.

very small fire yet it produces smoke

Roasting an eggplant

Daily making good meals is a pleasant thing to do

I start to bake bread, since I have more energy and still oceans of time. In fact, it is a relief not to break up camp each day. A relief not to seek time for contemplation. A relief to simply enjoy camp life. We both rather disliked the constancy of having to find camp spots, searching for food and water. Perhaps because the surrounding did not give anything in return? So far, Florida has been out of proportionately boring to us.

Baking bread on a small fire

Quite a good bread

How to make bread

A rainy day and more to come has us decide to put up a tarp above the kitchen. Together with the tarp above Geo’s tent and my own little tent a bit further, I see an ever sprawling homeless settlement.

A tarp above our kitchen

How can we explain the grid of paths, come to existence by brushing away the fallen leaves.

Paths leading us to our tents

Would an official also praise our toilet pits, the separation of gender even?

Main tent and exit

Breakfast

Sort of bread

Bon Appetit

Hello there‎ little insect

What would he think of the uprooted tree in which I have made my kitchen cabinet?

The uprooted tree

We have a pit for daily groceries, the earth and bark covering keeps our veggies cool. Outside temperatures rise to 34 degrees.

Beautiful bark to keep cool

Second pit for coolness of food items

Building of cool pit

Work to do

We have a pit for dirt bags, so squirrels and possums can not get to it. We have a pit for emergency use.

Review Bushbox Stove

I love mushrooms

There is a bath-room sector. Not often enough used, though temperatures make us sticky and dirt pastes between the creases and underneath nails, but fetching water is not the easiest of tasks.

Tree hair to keep the washed feet clean

Bathroom

Bathroom stuff

We have a dish-wash division too. Geo has made a lead to get in and out of the forest, because, though it is small, we keep losing our tracks. We are always disoriented by our own false security of knowing our position.

The good old brand

Unbelievable but we hardly find our own camp

So, would an official be able to find us by following his smoke detector senses, would he be pleased, proud we are such dapper outdoor-folk? Would I be on my own, I could use my innocence, use my naivete wits, hoping he’d fall for that. With Geo by my side I simply do not want him to be responsible for getting us out a risky allotment, with a penalty to pay, never a moderate one in the USA.

Therefore, one day, we leave. Four weeks have been enough fun, enough of a hassle to get water and electricity. To always feel on the run when charging electronics somewhere. Fetching water at the private hospitals has us made suspicious, especially when Geo washes himself or when I rinse underwear. The stress of being seen start to burden Geo too much, the possibility of crashing trees keeps me awake a little too often.

Our little camp fire, only to cook

Plenty of time to embroider

Geo is creative at times too.

Bark

Hardly visible

A few days before we leave, I am in utterly contentment, I see men trotting through the forest. Men from a city, elegant, straight backs, in a confident manner they move in a backwash. All dressed in a dark trench-coat; it are deer on their way to the creek right behind us. Not very special when you let your thoughts deepen, but in times of Corona where everyone needs to stay inside, I think it wondrous to have this freedom. For the fourth week our live is outside, in a bubble of comfort and insights. We are all marionettes, so far evolved -a thought we love to address to ourselves- that we have become totally dependent to the hands that moves us. Like deer, we are in search among buildings, we seek that what feed us.

Contentment

A car is hired. An Airbnb arranged. All camp grounds in Florida are closed, but one.

And off we are, by hired car

March 2020. *Excerpts in Italic from ‘Killing Commendatore’ from Haruki Murakami

I never understood a Bible verse

Let alone something like this

I do NOW understand what it means

And agree with it

And hopefully one day I will be as well

By Cindy Servranckx

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and places I needed to be. I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now explore many facets of life, including those by foot, by truck, by motorbike and by kickbike. Being an artist who's chasing the simple life, I keep embroidering in the abundance nature offers me. The pouches I create are for sale on www.cindyneedleart.wordpress.com

8 replies on “USA 2: Florida, Not Kickbiking because of Inflammation of Tendons (or Corona?)”

Hoi ome Piet en Corry, met ons alles goed. Geo is volledig hersteld van een Ilues. Dit was weer even terug in tijd en het was eigenlijk erg mooi, volledig tegen de verwachtig in. Liefs van ons en hoop dat het goed gaat met jullie?

Cinderella en Geo

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Hallo Cindy, weeral prachtige natuurfoto’s! Hoe doe je dit toch?? Een echte natuurfotograaf, beter kan niet en zo mooie kleuren!! Ben onder de indruk! Hopelijk is je enkel weer beter, helemaal genezen. Wat heb je voorgehad dat die zo ontstoken was?
Dit interessante verslag van jullie avontuur en het leven in deze natuur was terug in de tijd voor jullie. Ondertussen zijn jullie ergens anders beland..hopelijk gaat het goed en hebben jullie het naar jullie zin.. dikke zoen, je nichtje Monique uit België

Liked by 1 person

Hoi Monique, ik heb een goede camera met ingebouwde filters, dus de kleuren zijn super intens, hoewel redelijk naar waarheid. Ik vind de foto´s goed maar niet van een professionele kwaliteit. Toch, dank je voor je compliment, altijd fijn!

Mijn enkel is weer helemaal de oude, kan weer flink kickbiken nu. En dat doe ik dan ook. Inderdaad zijn wij nu ergens anders, in Hongarije, flink aan het werk, aan ons huis. Ook een flinke onderneming zed, een nieuw langdurig project. We hebben er zin in en gelukkig gaat alles goed, ook met pa.

Veel liefs terug lieve nicht, ook aan je nieuwe hond en je man (nou ja, in de omgkeerde volgorde dan) . Kus Cinderella

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Loving your posts Cindy. Re your ankles, you probably inflamed your ankle joints from the repeated kicking… have you tried arnica? It’s really good for inflamed and bruised tissues. You can get it in tablet form which might be better for deeper ankle problems but I prefer to use the cream on the skin and massage it in. Also putting hot water bottle or heated stones on your ankles and calves to relax the muscles and increase the circulation to help the healing. All the best for now and keep the creative juices flowing. Fantastic pics btw. 😊

Liked by 1 person

Indeed, too much repeated movements caused the inflamation, I am sure about that! We also had arnica cream, which I applied trice a day and used a cold towel as well. Well, cold as cold could be out there… once Geo got a bag of frozen beans and I placed that on top of my ankles, that helped. And just a week of Ibuprofen REALLY helped! I was amazed by that. I hardly take any medicines so this hit me hard ; )

I guess the rest was good too, as now, I have no issues at all. In fact, I have a tour planned right now, but its raining a lot…. humm…

Have a good day!

Thanks for the compliment, I love the photos too : ))

Liked by 1 person

Careful with the ankle, C! 6 months and I still can’t jog because my achilles tendon is injured. I tried to run too soon before it fully healed. Btw, you should have a realtime tracker on your website of where you are at the moment! I set up my Android to check me in automatically daily and post my location to my website: https://www.dailytravelphotos.com/about.php

Stay safe, senora!

Liked by 1 person

Hi P.

Nice to hear from you again, well, that is, if you’re Mister Taiwan, instead of Mister Korea.

I can do longer distances again and there are no problems anymore. It really seems the ankles are healed.

I don’t want to let others know where I am or what I’m doing right now. This post is also 6 months ago. A real time tracker is not for me. I once had a Spot tracker and people tracked me down, they could find me. I dislike that HIGHLY.

I checked your link but I see no photos, only info.

Greetings Cindy

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