July 2nd, 2012
I send you a big kiss, we’re in San Ignacio camping right at the oasis. After two weeks of desert we’re under huge palm trees with fresh dates, turquoise water and no mosquitoes!! crazy beautiful! with a huge fire and nothing else to do but enjoy, although you know how the human mind works: enjoying is difficult, we always find things to worry about, even in paradise:)
There is so much I would like to tell you but for me it’s impossible to express in writing, so many experiences and most important, so much learning! Realizations that come in any random mile during our biking with the immensity of the desert around us. We are meeting all kinds of people, some are surprised with us, taking our pictures and lending us a hand, many others completely uninterested. It’s all the same to me, used like you to be as self sufficient as possible, but it leaves a sad feeling crossing paths with people that don’t even look at you in the eye when you’re talking. Some times we’re just saying ‘Hi’, no need to be defensive.
The first days were particularly intense. I am still learning to ride and traveling with bags in this roads with trucks and traffic, long distances and steep hills, wasn’t easy. Many times when Chris was far in front and I could only see him as a small orange dot in the highway I would start crying. Like a little girl, loud and full of snot:) I would let it all out and give it all, pedal harder until reaching him. Every time he would ask me how was I doing the reply was always the same: “good, doing good”.
Mornings were the worst, after being steady “on ground” for a while and so quickly getting used again to anything familiar -like having my two feet in the floor! watching people around me, everyone with their own lives, their day ahead of them after sleeping on their beds, in their homes, chatting with friends; I would get a knot in my gut knowing that in a few minutes I would be out there again, struggling not to loose my balance, with no destination, no familiar faces and yes, knowing that at any moment I can get ran over, something ‘serious’ can happen. It was difficult eating breakfast… difficult not to cry. Just before heading out Chris always asked me: “ready?” and I always answered “Yes! ready, vámonos!”… not to lie to him or to pretend, it was just as simple as that for some unknown reason I made a decision. And moment by moment I kept making the same.
At any moment I could have said no, climb on a bus, ask for a ride… just as easily I could have started crying, telling him I was afraid, that I didn’t feel ready… BUT, there are things for which you can never be ready. Maybe I would be better prepared if, like my brother, I had years of riding a bike? If I had trained harder? If we were in Europe with cycling paths instead of having only the white line at the edge of the pavement and sometimes not even that?… in some aspects yes, for sure! But enough not to have this knot in my stomach and shaky voice? I don’t know.
What I do know is that sooner or later I will get good with the bike, in a few hundred miles I unavoidably will learn, I’ll get faster, stronger, more agile and less afraid. I’ll have fun. If I don’t go through this right now, if I back out, I won’t. And then what? Go back to my safe, quite life in Ensenada? Truth is, those mornings that was my single, only reason to carry on. Not knowing what else to do. Yes, I have the yoga, the aromatherapy, the wine. I love the three of them… but I would always carry the sensation that fear defeated me. So then I was, honestly, ready. At least as ready as I could be, it was all good, it was time to head out.
Every morning I decide to keep doing this until I’m not afraid anymore… and who knows, maybe on the way I’ll find other reasons to continue. If not I’ll simply get bored and then look for something else, something new to do. Something more to learn, another fear to explore.
It’s been two weeks so far and I still get scared sometimes, I still fall of my bike often and I have bruises and scratches all over. But most of them are from few days ago and already healing. Each truck that passes by whispers in my ear with its wind, it’s a truck that didn’t run me over. A wind that didn’t knock me over, a push that didn’t take me off balance and on the contrary, has made me a little stronger.
It’s funny how I get surprise sometimes, at moments when all of the sudden I realize I’m having fun… it helps a lot that deeper into the península there are less cars, maybe it would be different with more traffic. But when there are no cars, there are dust storms, erratic winds, burning sun, always something to keep the adrenaline flowing. And in the middle of all I’m having more and more fun and less fear.
We already met so many interesting people that have taught me so much in so little time. We have been in places that I had been before but didn’t get to know, when you travel by car is like watching a landscape movie. Of course, my runners heart wishes I were running but pedaling however, you’re right there too. You can smell, feel, be. And what a beautiful planet this is! With so much life exploding all around!
I know you’re scared right now. That just like me, you’re in an unknown place… and like me, many times you feel lonely and scared. We both decided to be here. You can think your life is different, with responsibilities, finances, commitments, you can say that what I’m doing is just adventure, my resistance to settle, “Diana and her crazy ideas”… but we are in the same place. All of us.
Every day we decide what to do with this moment. We wake up with our fears and uncertainties and we make our best effort. So big are my fears that to become free I have to be pedaling around the world. But if I can do this, you can do what ever you set your mind to. What we can not do is waste this moment, because I CAN get ran over today and if I didn’t enjoyed it, what’s the point? Life surprises you, it turns and spins and does not wait for you.
There are times out there, when the distances feel endless, that I feel like at mile 24 of the marathon. From one second to the next I’m tired, in pain and all for what?!… so good I ran the marathon because at that moment I was passing next to the Bellas Artes Palace and it looked so beautiful! I remember the first time I went to visit you and you showed me the city were I was born, took me around the subway and took me there. Years after there I was again, tired and smelly, running and I thought: “Enjoy this moment for it will be over soon and once over it won’t come back. You might run other marathons, maybe this same one, but it won’t be the same. It won’t be your first, Jorge won’t be there cheering you up, it won’t hurt the same. Enjoy because this is the only one you have and it will be over soon.”
The difference is that now we don’t know in which mile we are, so much more reason to enjoy. Life is short and incredibly intense and magical. Never settle for less than that.