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?
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.
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.
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.
And so I sit.
Waiting for my ankles to heal.
They heal very slow, if at all. I am not taking any medication nor specified threatments.
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.
But the creativity is raging, so I duck down, mostly on all fours, and seek beauty where none seems to exist.
And then, a whole new world opens.
Incredible beauty is uncovering before my very eyes.
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.
But after 20 minutes the crouched position I sit in, hurts my ankles really much.
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.
Their camouflaged beauty. Their perfect creation. Their tiny eyes.
The fluidity. Their transparent bellies.
The apparently carved bodies. How their fingers hold themselves.
I see God in them.
After the frogs its the lizard’s turn.
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.
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.
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.
At times some of the lizards are studying me too. I think it is possible to befriend them.
Hairy creatures land on the books I read. I always have my camera besides me because the forest is far from boring by now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Within 2 weeks I can kick short distances. Soon I lift the burden from Geo’s shoulders to fetch water and groceries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We try a Dakota system but fail.
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.
Geo built a chair and two toilets. We notice how much we feel the need to start our own home.
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 finish embroidery projects by the week.
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.
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.
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.
How can we explain the grid of paths, come to existence by brushing away the fallen leaves.
Would an official also praise our toilet pits, the separation of gender even?
What would he think of the uprooted tree in which I have made my kitchen cabinet?
We have a pit for daily groceries, the earth and bark covering keeps our veggies cool. Outside temperatures rise to 34 degrees.
We have a pit for dirt bags, so squirrels and possums can not get to it. We have a pit for emergency use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A car is hired. An Airbnb arranged. All camp grounds in Florida are closed, but one.
March 2020. *Excerpts in Italic from ‘Killing Commendatore’ from Haruki Murakami
19 replies on “USA 2: Florida, Not Kickbiking because of Inflammation of Tendons (or Corona?)”
[…] Post 2: Not kickbiking because of inflammations of both tendons […]
Is wel mooi in de natuur allemaal nog gezond
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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
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
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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. 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
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. 😊
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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 : ))
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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!
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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.
[…] USA 2 Not kickbiking because of inflammations of both tendons […]
I inflamed my achilles tendon doing too much kicking of a longboard skateboard. However I found doing lots of stretching seemed to get rid of the problem. I hope you are feeling better now!
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Thank you for your advise: )
This post was written some time ago and long gone is the pain, thankfully. Its really not nice, to say the least, not being able to walk.
To tell you the truth, I dislike stretching, rather just take the kickbike and go! But I will try when I have a tour planned or so.
Have a pleasant skating. By the way, how much is much for you on a longboard?
Well I did 30 km today and that was pushing with one leg. I scooter too, but I found that it doesn’t glide like a longboard and it tires me out at 12 km and that is using both legs to kick. There’s just so much kicking with a scooter!
A longboard feels like a magic carpet at times …it glides so well. I am learning how to kick with both legs on a longboard, but you have balance just right to do it properly. It’s tricky but I am starting to get the hang of it.
There’s a lot of longboarders who make trips on their boards. Here’s a couple who longboarded across australia.
My 30 km ride today took me 3 hours. Still faster than walking.
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Hi Christina, I am smiling when I read your words because I have no problems to believe how true you are in explaining how great the gliding goes. Or that feels of a magic carpet! WOW! I only had that on a downhill with a bicycle.
I think you are right in saying that a kickbike tires more. I feel I was only gliding good enough when the wind was in my back. I did 70 KM in Germany once (fully loaded).
I tried a longboard, although I must say I do not know the difference really between one or another. It was my niece longboard and I found it EXTREMELY difficult, not to say IMPOSSIBLE to stay on that thing! Sure, with practise I might learn it too, but I doubt it.
I wonder how one can make along tour on them? The link you send me is somehow invisible on my laptop? The couple longboarding through Australia: how do they carry their luggage (tents, mattresses, food, stoves and such?)
But I do agree, with kickbiking you actually are often kicking, not sliding really. Fortunately I am able to make long distances without gettng painfull or tired legs.
I wonder whether your one leg pushing is not overloaded? But perhaps not, as it stands and is exercising as well, of course.
Wish you magic experiences. I guess you enjoy summery wetaher right now? Enjoy that too X Cindy
The link I sent you earlier (which you couldn’t see) was a Youtube video of a Danish couple longboarding across Australia. They each used a longboard trailer, which basically looks like a longboard but it has a hitch that attaches to the board they are riding on. The trailer carried their luggage and water.
BTW, I belong to a Facebook group for distance longboarders and we had a gentlemen from Singapore who longboarded around the world a couple of years ago. He spent 722 days on the road and visited 32 countries and 4 continents.
Originally the Singapore guy set out using a backpack, but later he got rid of the backpack and started using a 3 wheeled baby carrier… like the kind runners use to push their kids around as they exercise. He liked it much better especially when he was traveling through deserts and other remote areas because he could carry a lot more water
Here’s a link to New Zealand adventurer Rob Thomson who skated 12000 km across Asia. I hope you can see the link but I think your website strips out the links as spam unfortunately.
Rob Thomson set the world’s record for the longest journey by longboard, but it turns out there was a guy from Brazil (Marcelo Gervasio Silva) who skated all around the world over 62,000 km for a Brazilian television show. He skated 5 continents over a 10 year period. He had a uniquely designed longboard that was very long and had a trunk on the rear that held his supplies. It sort of looked like a gravity car used in a soap box derby race.
Anyway, I personally think the baby carriage idea is better. The big wheels of the baby stroller would come in handy particularly if you couldn’t skate because of rough or non-existent pavement. You could just load the longboard onto the baby stroller and walk. You also have something to hold onto too as you push… so your longboard almost turns into a scooter of sorts.
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I could open the link of Rob’s website. I was totally baffled that this is possible! I told my husband and he was very surprised too.
What struck me is that one could actually travel the world on all sorts of things. It just does not matter. There seems to be always possibilities to make it work, to have a load of the most needed items (tent, pots, mattress, water and food). One mode of transport is slower than the other, but as long as it goes, it is fine.
I personally find the need to carry enough water and food important. I always worry about not having enough water. I so like my chai in the morning and evening.
I also believe one grows in the mode of transport he oe she is using. Except for motorized vehicles, I do not like them, I think it just needs time to get accustomed to them. Whether by foot and cart, kickbike or… longboard. Once you are in for the long run, you will find ways to get from one water supply to another. In the beginning it just looks too difficult, but it will not.
For short trips I find this mental switch way more difficult.
What is your facebook name, I would like to befriend you. May your new year be blessed, with lots of adventures and beauty.
Much greetings Cindy
I wish you and Geo a Happy New Year too. I hope this will be a better year for everyone around the world. 2020 has been very rough for everyone with this pandemic. I think Mother Nature has sent us all a reminder that she is in charge. While we humans in our arrogant ignorance like to believe we are in control of the world, we are at the mercy of Nature just like any other living thing.
Anyway regarding trips, yes there have been some rather unusual ones taken by people over the years. And some of them seem quite impractical. For example can you imagine undertaking an around the world journey on a unicycle? Well it’s been done! See the link below. In my opinion, even a longboard seems a better choice than that! I can’t imagine how he was able to carry his belongings.
I also read a book written by a British lady who ran around the world for 5 years. Rosie Swale Pope started the run when she was 57 and finished the journey in her early 60s. She pulled a cart that contained her gear… much like a horse pulling a carriage. She crossed Russia and even ran through Alaska. I am not sure why she chose such a northern route in North America as the winter snows and treacherous thin ice across some of the rivers and lakes there made it extremely difficult for her to travel into Canada.
But yes you are right, “as long as it goes” whatever self propelled vehicle you choose, it is all good. Also, if what scientists say is true… that our distant ancestors came out of Africa and spread out across the earth, then it is hardwired in our DNA as humans to have the physical capability to explore and journey long distances.
Anyway regarding Facebook, I am on there but my account is very locked down in such a way that people cannot message me unless they are already on my friends list. I will have to message you through Facebook so that you can friend me. I don’t trust Facebook’s privacy too much so I try to keep my information very sparse on there. I even use a pseudonym!
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I think globalisation and board an airplane as if it is a bicycle, is just not right. We eat grapes from Peru and do not asks ourselves how the Peruvian farmer is treated. Our greed and numbness and possibilities just made this a normal happening. And I think we are all to blame. The one who is cycling the world no different than … fill in the blank. This is in which era we live and we can try to minimize our footstep but more than that, I am afraid we can not stop the onslaught of deprivation, collapse and destroying the earth.
To travel the world by unicycle was not new to me since these sort of stories came automatically to me as a cyclist. The fact that it is possible however is quite stunning! I looked at the story of this young, very admirable man and found it amazing. I do have my questions when it comes to resupplies? Did he perhaps had send things to him by an organization? Sometimes there are cyclists who act as if they cycle the world by themselves but there is actually a team behind them (mainly to get media attention).
I was inspired by this French woman when it comes to the kickbike:
Blanchette I think her name is, was coming to my attention by the woman who wrote a book about cycling, Loretta.
And she, talking about running and pulling a cart, wrote a book:
She, Canadian Loretta, also ran while pulloing her self made cart. Very impressive! I wonder what ignited the woman who ran for 5 years in such harsh conditions? Of course, one experience leads to the next and one often needs something more progressive. After climbing the Everest, one usually does not go back to the Alps.
This outdoor lifestyle is just absolutely fantastic.
And I think you are correct in that, we do this because we miss that hardship in our current lifestyle. We (Westerners’) are pampered all the way through. See how many fat people there are. They are not fat because they have such strenuous lifestyles. Overall, in the West, we do not work physically, we sit behind desks and make money. Loads of it.
Regarding Facebook: its fine. No worries.
Have a nice day, was pleasant to write you back.
One more thing about the British Rosie who ran with a trailer:
Her other achievements include sailing single-handed across the Atlantic in a small boat, and trekking 3,000 miles (4,800 km) alone through Chile on horseback.
I met a French young man who impressed me very much: https://cyclingcindy.com/2017/11/13/the-sweet-solitude-of-a-parisian-gaucho/