It has been a month since I returned to the Netherlands. Our last biking adventures happened in Chiapas, a southern state in Mexico. We traveled by bus from the coast of Oaxaca, the beach Zipolite, to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a small colorful town known for its indigenous Mayan culture. It was beautiful staying there and our last leg of cycling from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Tuxtla Gutiérrez was an amazing beautiful experience.
Mexico has become one of my favorite countries for cycling. It has been lovely te meet a lot of friendly people, amazing hospitality, a nice climate in the mountains and incredibly green landscapes and fresh air.
Coming home after a journey of about nine months is also a special experience. People around me who ask me what it’s like to be back, I tell them that I can finally feel some rest again. Although the last two months have been a relief compared to the earlier months of the journey, it feels comfortable to be back in my old familiar apartment in Rotterdam.
I can hardly believe how I got through the journey, starting with days only having three hours of daylight and the people I met in the first weeks could be counted on one hand. Each time I thought it would get more comfortable I was confronted until well into March, three months after my departure from Alaska, with still temperatures below -20°C. Motels were mostly too expensive to sleep in and I hardly came across hostels. The Canadian hospitality was wonderful, it help me get through a tough part of this journey. I felt at home more than once, only with a different climate then I’m used to.
A highlight was a visit to family, whom I had never met before, in the southern state of Alberta, where I was warmly welcomed. The worst is over, I thought at that time, but things didn’t get any better when I found out I still had two months to cycle across the United States all the way from Montana to California and Mexico. Luckily I arrived in Mexico before my United States visa expired, but summer was already kicking in the Baja desert. Soon I was cycling in almost 40°C. I have experienced cycling below -30°C and above 30°C as extremely suffering. The hopelessness of the long months of cold and then at the end the confrontation with the heat took strongly hold of me. Although I was happy and grateful to have been in so many beautiful places, I was honestly done with cycling in extreme environments.
Fortunately, I recovered after I traveled to Mexico City and waited for a good rest and to pick up my girlfriend Lisa later on. We traveled to comfortable environments, especially in the mountains, to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful landscapes. During these two months, peace could finally be felt again in my body and mind. I no longer had to rush and was able to be in the moment far better without constantly experiencing physical discomfort or mental suffering. Our journey together was special and full of lovely connections.
It was a special ending when we arrived in Cancun for our flight back to the Netherlands. The last evening, just before our departure back to the Netherlands, I asked Lisa to marry me. She was already ready for the next step and this journey has made me realize how important Lisa and my family are to me. I’m at a point in my life where I would like to exchange the restlessness of traveling long distances for a bit of peace and stability in one place. That doesn’t mean I’ll never get on my bike again for an endurance challenge, but for now it has been enough.
This blog will therefore no longer receive any new stories in the near future. However, I’m going to turn it into a wonderful archive that represents my travels by bicycle and my journey of personal growth.
Next week I’ll join a vipassana retreat, with ten days of meditation and silence. This helps me to digest the transformative process from an intense period on the bike to daily life and work in the Netherlands.
I hope I was able to share this journey in an authentic and honest way. I’m extremely grateful for all the donations I have been receiving. In times of solitude I have always felt connected by the interactions and support here and on social media.
If you would like to have a conversation with me, organize a lecture or discussion evening about bicycle travel, please contact me, because I’m always open to sharing my enthusiasm for bicycle travel and adventure.
Thank you again for your interest and hopefully until soon!