You have subscribed to CyclingCindy because you are interested in cycling. Yet cycling is the least that I can offer you now, this is no story about cycling adventures you are going to read. Instead it is what I am able to do because I stopped cycling (although this is old news).
When I cycled in Patagonia through the Auracania national park I was really longing to walk through the forest instead of being on that one designated path. I wanted to wander between the trees, there where no path existed. Or, as the case is now, where there was once a path, now overgrown.
When I cycled in Armenia I stayed the night at a local family and the next morning I was given dried herbs to make tea with. The woman of the house would walk the fields and pluck wild herbs, which I found fascinating. In fact, I was impressed with her natural lifestyle, although her house was a bare concrete shell, cold and moldy, her life seemed to be brimming with knowledge how to derive from nature.
How often did I not stay at someone’s place where I was clearly reminded off the fact that I know nothing, or really a little, about running a household. I do not know the basics about sourdough, cheese culture nor starting a deep bed. Everything our grandmothers knew and our mothers wanted to forget is what I am the result off.
It is hard to learn something at all while being busy with the basics. Time and effort reaps, and it might go as slowly as ticking away 50.000 kilometers. Not sure what I do, I just start and see how I will use the result. At times I feel back at ranch Iparoma, where I met Geo, a heavenly feeling (though the feeling only arises when the sun shines).
No wonder I was equally impressed with Martin growing his own ginger in a plastic greenhouse in the freezing cold of Comodoro Rivadavia. Although a born Patagonian the low hanging clouds, the forever grayness and dead silence made him depressed as well but gardening balanced his mood back to a fine equilibrium.
Huffing and puffing for breath at the mighty Abra Blanca I stood at a crossroad. Pretty much quite literally as I wrote in my diary that I longed for being part of a community, wanting to be more useful and have a loving partner. I’d pitched my tent after having cycled only a 30 kilometer but the altitude took much of my energy and I needed to decided which route to take. The high or the low? Left or right?
Cycling through Africa I met with fellow cyclists, one of whom had a handmade stove where he could have a fire and his tea kettle balancing above it. I was impressed by the fact that a camp, or life, should be about treasuring the small things, and not rushing to and fro, trying to catch the bigger picture. That piece of art I perfected. And with that a lot more came from it.
I still cycle, or, well… the oil in the Rohloff is renewed. I do kickbike my fair bit but I am really into all that I could not do when I was occupied with cycling or traveling in general. It seems I am learning at the speed of cycling the world.
I got what I wanted when I overthought life at the base of Abra Blanca. Though the community part has not taken off, I did get to meet with Dorothee, who cycled twice around the world (she wrote 2 books). When I was briefly in Germany she asked me to meet and it was such a reflection to hear her talk about the want of an organized place with the little stuff she got. Something simple as an organised closet can make my heart leap. I do not meet many people, and what a pleasure it was to hear someone say what was floating through my brain as well. The sheer fact of traveling from one place to the next had become useless in itself. She, and I, could have cycled forever. It was time for a whole new adventure altogether: to fit cycling in to a settled lifestyle.
Truly, ‘a house keeps one inside’. The pull of comfort for body and mind and pleasure to the senses of emotionally your own cocon -though comfort means to us something else than to many others- is attractive too. It feels as having found a very good place to camp, where one would want to stay for much longer. It feels as having been invited to someone’s place and it’s all for you to use. I sometimes miss the great views of my former campspots, I do miss the big open spectacle called theater of nature.
Fires warm me, outside, and inside. The sunlight sprays a soft yellow to my sight. Plastered walls, done by my own two hands, are rough and textured to the touch. A wooden ceiling and warmth of an old West German cast-iron stove. I could be anywhere. Pakistan. Afghanistan. Nepal. India. And I realize how heavenly it is. Right now, I would not want to go back to sugared tomato sauce and a cold, wet tent along fences. Now, I am learning what those folks I cycled past for so long, already knew for ages.
Gathering rose hips in the forest is nice though not very exciting and the work involved is not that great but to eat your own processed food is heavenly. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into a few small jars of jam.
Uprooting dandelion and utilizing the leafs in the process is neither adventurous nor crazily breathtaking but to drink coffee from weed, that’s pretty cool. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into drying and roasting the roots, cleaning and hacking the leafs.
Saving up onion peels or pomegranate rinds is more than separating for the compost heap or vegetable stock. After figuring out what is needed and time to search where to buy such stuff, with some soda ash, cream of tartar, alum and a lot of time the effect is marvelous. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into dyeing 125 grams of cotton.
Plucking goldenrod to make tincture for the months in winter and hunting mushrooms for the veg goulash is really more of a learning curve than anything else. Would I have to rely on my gathering techniques to survive, I would not have a long life. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into portions quickly devoured.
In short, trying to learn old styles with what is available in nature surrounding me, fascinates me. Instead of buying (processed) food in the supermarket, I try to be more aware of what is already here. In between rides, camping and most of all, creating a home, I embroider.
Life, as I feel it, has sometimes really too much potential. The endlessness of deserts, the eeriness of high plateaus, the tangible danger of some countries, the unspoiled nature in other places. Traveling is feeling alive. Experience taught me that the ladder of adventure has only one way, just like getting older. And the benefit of that is that I would not want to go back to certain hussle and bussle of yesteryear. A strong pull is now to be a partner, to fulfill the need to create something beautiful to the senses and to explore small scale. I have high hopes to explore the mountains, hills and beauty here and in nearby countries. As Sailboat says in the film ‘A Boy Called Sailboat’: “Sometimes things happen so that other things can happen.” Oh, though fortunate to live without a calender and clock, I wish you all a very healthy and beautiful new year! Scroll down a bit more…
This is one of the things I do when I don’t pay attention to clock and calender: each pouch comes with a short story of where it is made and how it came about.
Zipper pouch Jacksonville: stuck in a forest, between frogs, spiders and lizards, possum and an armadillo while Corona could not wait to appear on the stage as well. I was most interested in the animals around me; as this pouch is inspired by one of them. To see this pouch in the shop.
Slip-in pouch Filadelfia (with beach pebbles from Altea, Spain): from the Mennonites in Paraguay to the splendid solitude of the high altitude in Chile national parks. This pouch took ages to be finished as the beauty surrounding me was overruling. To see this pouch in the shop.
Slip-in pouch Maryvilla (with little round mirrors from India): living in the truck I started to embroider in the after-glow of the Spanish summer and finished it on the Mennonite farm in Paraguay where I met Geo. To see this pouch in the shop.
Drawstring pouch Darmstadt: my favorite stitch in ao po’i, as I learned it in Paraguay. I had time to learn such things as I stopped cycling and instead hopped on the motorbike of my husband to be. To see this pouch in the shop.
Zipper pouch Fo Utca: a trial and error in a new technique I somehow came up with. I wanted it to be a Japanese stitch but that did not work out so well. To see this pouch in the shop.
pouch Willhopper Road, Florida: Willhopper Road was my escape route when I was seen as a suspected tramp at the tenniscourt. We camped stealthily in the woods for 4 weeks in Corona-time USA. To see this pouch in the shop.
Upcoming posts from living a self sustainable lifestyle in Hungary are post 4: Swimming against the current, post 3: Travel & food: a happy marriage (summer 2021). Post 2: The juggling housewife (summer 2021). Post 1: It’s all about food (early spring 2021). The little Dutch farmer shows winter and early spring when we had nothing going yet.