Given the fact that the last post was dealing with something light, this one will be a bit more serious.
When travelling, same as in life for which, at least for me, travelling serves as such a great metaphor, there is bound to be a fall in motivation, running on empty. And I’m not immune to that. Here I’m not talking about the moments when you just don’t feel like moving on. When you would rather sleep in, have a nice, easy breakfast, sip your morning coffee and just have one of those do nothing days. These kind of moments come and go, usually with the first turns of the pedals, or at least by the end of the day. No, what I’m talking about is a period when you are without proper motivation. When you get up in the morning, somewhat routinely, lacking any proper energy, pack your stuff, load up your bicycle and hit the road. It all seems as some sort of an obligation that you dislike. Like some sort of a job.
The last time this happened to me was in Nicaragua. After experiencing such a lovely welcome in the form of spending the first night at Fredo’s and Anais’s I’ve hit the road the next day, still under the influence of this nice surprise. There was some enthusiasm present but as the kilometres passed it slowly faded away and a feeling of aimlessness started to settle in. When you are turning the pedals but have no idea to what end, what is the aim of it all?!
Since this was not the first time I have experienced something like that, I was expecting it will soon pass, the same way it always has. But it didn’t, the next day the aimlessness was still there and a few days in a hostel in Leon did not help. And the next few days were identical. I did make sure that I was not hungry, that all the things were taken care off and I also bought some new tubes and patches. But all this time I just could not overcome the feeling like I’m taking care of an “empty shell”. Yes, the body needs food to move, water is even more important to function, after a hard day, a place to lay down and catch some well needed rest is equally important and there is even time for a vice or two like a cold coke or a cigarette. But all this was done routinely, more out of a habit and a sense that I have to do it than doing it with some zest, out of pure joy for life. The beautiful surroundings of Nicaragua with all its countless almost prefect cone shaped volcanoes was a mere distant backdrop. And all the beautiful people that I was encountering on the road only occasionally managed to pass by my “robotized” exterior. These were nice moments when I was every time aware that it is within these kind of moments that one of the greatest charms of discovering new paths lies. But they were all too rare and passed all too quickly.
I would have however used a proven technique from the past. That is to keep on pedalling until I collapse, physically completely worn out. And in this exhaustion I manage to achieve that the brain resets itself. When you have the feeling that you have burned through your last atoms of strength and that you really cannot go on, then the brain cease to search the most hidden corners of your ratio and based on it play some movies within your head. Then even the brains are so tired that they do not have the will to be preoccupied with themselves but they rather open for perception of the surroundings. And so they can once again perceive the essence of it all – the beauty of a smile from a stranger, the magic of a sunset, the hope that is born with each new day, the fascination of a moment when you look at the flight of a butterfly that came to see you,…
Well I was unable to use this proven technique. The reason was the fact that Semana Santa (the week leading to Easter Sunday) was approaching. This is the time of the year that these areas are experiencing a massive human migrations between places and especially towards tourist destinations. This in effect raises the prices of accommodation and services in the tourist places. And I had scuba diving in my plans which by itself means visiting these tourist places.
On a Wednesday morning, after about two weeks of wandering in the aimlessness, I have boarded a ferry for Isla de Omotepe. Great, another place for aimless wandering. Literally since getting of the island you end up at the same spot you have started. But this was just a way to slow down a bit my progress towards Costa Rica and appear at the dive centre only after Easter.
The ride on the ferry passed the same way I have experienced the past two weeks, just some sort of a backdrop that passes by. Once on the island I made it to the first store and treated myself to a cold coke before hitting the road. And then it happened. All of a sudden I felt light, the pedals were turning by themselves (hade some help from a tailwind) and the day all of a sudden became magical. The sun was not scorching but pleasantly warm. The road that indeed was leading around the island all of a sudden stopped leading to the same point I have started. Instead it lead alongside a thousand of unknown points. And when a stranger came ridding on a horse in my direction, we exchanged smiles. There was again this warm feeling when you can laugh out loud puzzled by the beauty of Life!
Later the road turned into gravel and the wind became headwind, but my compass was already again pointing in the right direction.
With a Smile on my face, until next time!