In 2014 I cycled a bit through Belgium and France with my girlfriend Lisa on a tandem bike. We then cycled into a town and I still remember very well what I saw there. A young guy with a loaded bicycle came along, a bit absent-minded, looking like he had just lived on a deserted island for weeks. He was there in that moment staring back and forth at an intersection finding his way to go. I was completely distracted by his appearance. He looked like he was on a mission and all zoomed in on it, on a bike, on his way to a destination and another destination after that.
The year following that year I started a bike journey from the Netherlands to Singapore and many journeys have followed. In the meantime I’ve been cycling for more than ten years, sometimes for a few days in the Netherlands and sometimes for a month to the European Alps. And very occasionally, very occasionally, I’m lucky enough to be that young guy again. Totally absorbed in the day-by-day going forward, absorbed for months only with a destination, thinking about where I’m going to sleep that night and what adventures tomorrow will bring me.
Taylor came across as a creative, fun but slightly reserved person. He could have come straight out of that Big Bang Theory series. He had tied a large swimming ring to the back of his bicycle, making sure that traffic would keep their distance. He had come across as a bit nerdy and was cycling in some kind of dark blue pajama suit with crocs that he had already worn out twice. On the back of his luggage carrier was a small license plate that read Soggy Boi.
“Anyone else needs gas for their bike?”
He would say as we passed a gas station. Nobody really got the joke. A boy who was waiting for a hitchhike along the road, reacted a bit frustrated:
“That was a terrible joke!”
I had met Taylor at the Drive Thru Tree and we were cycling with Larry and Owen. They were all from Seattle and Taylor was biking to San Francisco, which he called Frisco and Larry and Owen biked to San Diego. For the first time in almost five months I had some buddies to ride with.
At one point Taylor got to claim he saw a whale:
“A whale, I see a whale!”
He was yelling.
All four of us stopped and looked over at the sea. Great waves clattered against the dark larger rocks that rose above the water and disappeared again. But a whale? We stood there watching for five minutes until one of us said, a little awkwardly:
“Shall we continue cycling?”
I cycled for a day with Taylor, Owen and Larry and after a nice dinner together in the evening, I cycled solo again with the soon approaching expiration date of my visa still in my head.
The great big trees or called Redwoods are a beautiful wooded area in northern California. They are detailed tall trees that can live for over 3000 years. These amazing trees are connected to the arctic-like winter in a way that they show that nature is so much larger than myself.
I could take many or little space, act like a warrior or observer, do this or that but in the end I’m just passing through as a part of something what I consciously never will truly understand.
I’m was kinda forgetting what day it is and just lived with that day to day approach. Tried and feel my mood without wanting to change it, fight or cling to it. Today can be harsh but tomorrow will always be at least slightly different.
Experience was my greatest teacher and every day I would become a little more aware of what was going on inside of me. That times I looked up to that big trees I felt connected to a spiritual journey.
It was time to part with the two-kilogram book Infitie Jest that I bought in Canada. I hadn’t read more than 100 pages in three months and it wasn’t worth dragging the book around. Out of respect for author David Foster Wallace, I didn’t want to part with it, but with a visa deadline approaching, I had to make sacrifices to get as light and fast as possible. In the fun and creative village of Point Arena, I gave the book to a lady at a thrift store with a heavy heart. I made a whole speech about how much the book meant to me and I think the lady accepted the book out of courtesy.
May it be fully read someday.
Soon I arrived in San Francisco, that beautiful city with steep hills, a fresh climate and beautiful fog that often clouds over it.
The bays around the city are impressive. It seems to be one of the most papillot tourist cities in the world. The technological developments from Silicon Valley of the last ten years has among others made the city very expensive. There are people who have a job here but not the possibility to pay for accommodation. Poverty is very visible in many neighborhoods in the city. People who openly use drugs, tent camps in the streets and large groups of people for whom there is no shelter or care at all.
In recent weeks I have replaced my chainrings and chain, among other things. I found out that my rear rim had cracked. Which actually happened eight years ago in Samarqand in Uzbekistan as well. Fortunately, there is a concept in San Francisco called the Bike Kitchen, a place where there are all kinds of tools and parts to use for a bicycle to repair.
A big garage full of stuff and I pay $5 and get to be able to work on my bike all evening from 6pm to 9pm.
Over the next few days I will re-assemble my rear wheel with a new rim and then begin the final three weeks cycling through southern California to Los Angeles.
From Los Angeles I’ll go into Mexico, the final destination of this journey. In Mexico I’ll keep going few af least some months. In Mexico City there’ll be a most amazing twist in this journey.