Always when I allow a long time to pass in between two posts, I come to a point that when I sit behind a computer, I have a problem choosing the topic to write about. It’s a fact that there has been well over a month since my last post. And that is a long period of time. In this time I have again crossed the Andes, I have been crisscrossing through the valleys of NW Argentina, I have been forcing Lou over immense vastness of seemingly endless road, I have been running from storms, I have been baked by the sun without any hope of coming across a shade, I have been battling mosquitoes,… And I have met lots of people with lots of stories. And how does one, amongst all these, choose the moments to share with you?
Leaving San Pedro de Atacama I had only one, clear goal in my mind – to reach Santa Rosa, La Pampa and my friend Andres. There I will stop for a few days before I head south.
Good plan that did however had one detail I really did not like. There is more than 2.000km between San Pedro and Santa Rosa. And my goal was to do this distance in under a month. Not an impossible task, but far from being easy. To make it happen I would have to pedal and pedal a lot. From morning until evening with a few short brakes in between. Again, doable but not easy.
The problem with this kind of approach to traveling is, that you can easily forget to enjoy the moments that Life brings you across your path. You focuses on doing the kilometres that you have set in your head and all the rest becomes secondary. Turning the pedals and nothing else matters!
Since this is not my approach to Life, but I still had to do the kilometres, I had decided to hold myself back, to brake. To allow myself to be touched by the surroundings, by the moments. I have to say that at least at first I was doing well. That I have manage to take a side road where I was embraced by the trees (after such a long time in desert landscapes), where I was able to observe the play of light and shades, smell the freshness and listen to sounds.
But with each passing day it was getting harder and more difficult to brake. Awareness that Santa Rosa is still sooooo far, far away was settling in. So I pushed harder, giving into the need to do the kilometres. To make it to my goal as soon as possible.
Those days passed by in a constant frustration of being too slow. This kilometres were looong and in the evening when I was falling asleep, I was tired and in a bad mood. And in the mornings I was getting up completely without motivation. Luckily on such days the Universe intervened. Sometimes it was a storm, other times it was a minor defect with the equipment (flat tire, broken support for a pannier), once even a tornado. Always in a way that I was able or forced to stop and allow myself to calm down. To take a deep breath and allow the apparent urge, to get to my goal as soon as possible, to step aside to taking in the moment.
Obviously I wasn’t always able “to run away” from the pressure. Quite a few times I managed to carry it with me or I have all to easily allowed my actions to be again governed by it. And the Universe just kept on putting brakes, again and again. Up to the point when I was able to give into the moment – Here and Now! And the most interesting part is, that once I have really reached the Here and Now, the pedals started to turn on their own. The kilometres started to fly by – 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130. I have found the Equilibrium!
Andres and his family opened the doors to their home with a warm welcome. The have enabled me to stop for a few days, to take care of Lou, to wash and patch my equipment,… and yes, they made sure I wasn’t hungry, mainly with several asados (barbeques). The first of which came with a gift from Andres – from here I will not be hitting the Road alone, we are going south together.
With a Smile on my face, until next time!