By the time we made it to our room last night, we were spent completely beyond what would be healthy for a cycling regimen that needs to be repeated nearly every day. My face felt hot and my back hurt to bend at all. We napped pretty well all afternoon, got up for a short while to blog and photo process, and then went right back to sleep for the entire night.
We then missed what would have needed to be our wakeup call if we were to hit the road before the heat and promptly decided to stay another day. My back is still miserably uncomfortable and both of us had a fair bit of raw skin from yesterday’s chafing. As we listened to the wind kick into a downright gale outside, we happily broke out the computers for a day of work, reading, and recovery.
We headed downstairs for the continental breakfast, and enjoyed hardboiled eggs done so perfectly that Ben swiped one off another table for me to eat later. With an egg in his pocket, we then headed out for a walk to see the town and get some air. The wind had blown branches and piles of leaves all over the street and my allergies felt just like they do in the spring at home. I was so glad not to be riding!
Later, we headed out on some critical errands for food and cash, in which we discovered that the debit card I couldn’t get to work is actually expired. Poor planning on my part. Hopefully nothing happens to our other one! We wrapped up the night with gyros in an alleyway cafe, chatting about our last four years together and befriending an attention hungry kitty. He gobbled up our scraps and begged to be petted, reminding me of our own kitty girl. He made my evening!
While we’ve rested today, I’ve been thinking a lot about a couple of conversations I had before we left with people I love about why we choose to travel this way. If I’m honest, I didn’t have a great answer then, and I don’t really have one now. I’ve been asked more than once if I go on these adventures “for Ben,” to which, I can firmly answer no. Believe it or not, despite the fact that I’m by far less well suited for a bicycle based, nomadic lifestyle, most of our big plans start as a ideas that are definitely mine. (People also frequently ask him how he “convinces” me to go on these trips and they never believe him when he says that I instigate them. In reality, he is not much for planning of any kind.) That said, Ben brings a crucial skill-set to these endeavors, without which I would be completely lost. His physical endurance, mental evenness, and mechanical skills are all critical as we travel.
I don’t know what it is that compels us to travel in the way that we do, forgoing conventional tours and attractions in favor of long days in the saddle and worrying about what we will eat and where we will sleep, but I can solidly say that these experiences have been a refining, expanding factor in my life. Living through both trying and also magical days on the road have left me empowered with the knowledge that I can accomplish things, even when they are incredibly difficult. It has reminded me time and time again that my actions matter, for better or worse, among people I encounter every day.
I can only imagine that at some point, other endeavors will be forefront in our lives, but right now, I’m thankful for these opportunities to both find myself as I power my bicycle and lose myself in a wide world of unknowns and vulnerabilities stitched together by encounters with human empathy that makes us all more alike than different.
This tour is already off to an odd start with my health seeming so unstable, but no matter how things turn out I am immensely thankful to be here with my better half, making our way together through a journey of our own making.
Tomorrow, we’ll get up early and head for the coast. Hopefully the wind chills out a bit before we get up in the morning.