Life was very different when you cycle through it. The land rolled up and down, carved into green, yellow fields, and covered with tall trees. I had to stop and look and smell. There were so many shades of green, reminded me the tubes of oil paints. Was this Prussian Green or maybe Cobalt Teal, who knows? I was humbled and blessed to be able to notice all before it is too late. The road was calling, like a mother for a lost child. I have been suppressing my feelings for a long time. Finally it was unbearable for me to stay in the urban jungle. Finally I had the freedom to respond the call of the nature.
In the beginning I fought against myself, force the limits of my endurance. I fought against the nature and I was defeated, wounded and exhausted. It is a different way of experience where you cannot gain at a desk job. Now I am a little wiser, I don’t push it and I do not hang about. If I just continue pedaling and keep the bike in balance, it stands no reason that I am going to get Chili.
Still I feel unbelievably strong and bemused at the same time when I think all those hills and kilometers that were left behind. On the road most of the time I was either thinking past: doing and undoing things or dreaming about the future: drinking with my friends, exchanging the road stories. However while pedaling the endless uphills of Mexico I stopped thinking, I was not even thinking about my family, my ex or my friends. I was not seeing the horizon or the passing cars, just repeating one sentence ‘roll baby roll’. I was the words and they were also my thighs and my calves. I knew I was going to reach to the furthest end of South America, and all I had to do is keep on pedaling. The simplicity of it was pure joy. As long as I kept pedaling forward eventually I would arrive.
I was frightened by the malice idea of rape, kidnapping and horror stories. What if someone sprang out of the bushes etc. It took a while to find my own rhythm but once I found it I began to feel certain. Not just the Americas but the whole world opened beneath my front tire, and the feeling of freedom, of pushing into unknown, was so exhilarating. I was in a world all alone by myself and nothing or no-one could get into the way or ask me to do some stupid paperwork.
There was always something more behind trees, hills, baby blue eyes of a stranger, something infinitively more beautiful than the obvious. Normally my personality is not a cheerful, easy going Pollyanna, it is rather gloomy and dark. What I realized, I was less unhappy more cheerful while I am on the road. Two wheels and a steel frame was such a magical instrument. Even the days I had to get up before sunrise and pack or the hot noons where I had to climb up a hill sweat trickling down my shoulder blades, my whole body or even the evenings where I barely find a place to pitch my tent and slip into unconsciousness, life was worth living for the first time. I could feel it in my bones.
Time by time I remember and think about the people I met on the road. The kindness of people who embraced me, who shared their food, homes, knowledge even when I was too shy to accept and in accepting I had learned something new. It was as much of a gift to receive as it was to give, both requires courage and humility. As a passer-by, where I stood not only land but everything was open. People felt free to talk and to share and I was free to listen and to carry a little bit of them as I continue my journey. Everyone was asking me why I was alone in this trip. The choice was not intentional but I think deep down I wished to be alone. It is not just the sake of one woman versus the world trip. Being alone is hard which requires constant effort but at the same time it is easy to break you into pieces, ready and open for changes. I do not have the liability to talk in the name of all humans but I believe at some point I have made such a big mistake by staying in the city. Once I rediscovered the beauty of the nature by hiking and climbing it was inevitable for me to be on the road. I understood that with each pedal stroke to atone the mistakes I had made, the things that I let go, it was my journey to accept the strangeness and similarities of other people.
I have not had any questions or answers or any good reason to explain my journey. This is solely done for the sake of doing it. I still do not know what I am looking for and I do not know if I could be able to recognize it if I found it. Perhaps in the end I might have better answers or the best better questions. Until that time as one beloved friend told me “Enjoy!”
* With special thanks to my friend, my sis İpek Kamacı for editing :)