I got round to watching a video tonight that Helen, my biking buddy, had sent me a while ago. It was a traveller’s documentary about Patagonia, that, after about 9 minutes in, showed their experiences hitchhiking the Carretera Austral.
Me and Helen biked this road back in early 2017, and I spent 20 minutes lost in the TV, being taken back to the endless rain, moody Chilean landscapes and dusty roads. Over two hours later and I’ve still got an longing in my whole being to be right back out there, on the open road living that simple life. Maybe not on that particular trip, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, (so let’s leave that behind yeah?) but somewhere new, somewhere I’ve not yet explored (and somewhere without rain).
It’s hard to explain just exactly why. Is it the freedom? The simplicity? The sense of achievement? It’s all of those things, but oh so many more too. It’s the removal of the chatter. The losing of the stuff. The decluttering of the brain and the soul.
I remember being sat on the plane to Chile thinking about all the things I wanted to figure out while I was biking. I almost had a list. I was at a bit of a crossroads in life, I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know what, and thought this trip was the ideal time to do it. I’d be spending over a month on a bike with nothing else to do for hours a day, so of course I’d have so much time to organise and plan my future, right?
I don’t think I figured even half a thing out. Instead, my brain relaxed. I thought about how pretty the trees were. Or how clouds were marvellous because they came in all different shapes and sizes. I wondered about how people came to live in some of the most remote parts of the world. I felt calmed by turquoise water, and stared at how my legs and feet made shadows on the ground as I moved. I’d count the corrugations up to ten, then I’d start again, for absolutely no reason at all.
I felt like a kid again, with few responsibilities but endless possibilities.
It felt good.
I was just there, with nowhere else to be. No job to do, no career to decide on, no life to plan out, no expectations from anyone. Just me, Helen and the bikes. Cycling, eating and sleeping on repeat. New things to appreciate at every turn.
Happy days. Sigh.