It's been a hell of a ride thus far. I've now cycled just over two million metres! And I use that number rather than two thousand kilometres because it makes me sound even cooler, and I'm secretly seeking everyone's verification that I'm super cool lol. But regardless, it's a pretty long way- by bike anyway. And you really only get to understand the concept of distance, truly, when you traverse such long distances on the ground and through your own efforts, pedal by pedal. And you only truly get to understand the ups and downs of Mother Earths body also when you are personally pushing yourself over them. Because, by car/train/ bus etc you are moving so quickly, that these things don't even register, and a massive machine is doing it for you so you don't get to feel the pain (going up) and the pleasure (going down). However, the problem generally is that the pain can last 30 minutes upwards, for reward of 3 minutes down. And even then, it depends where you are, because 3 minutes down a mountainside in the alps, in January, is equally as painful if not more, than the awful climb - because your fingers and toes are freezing to the point of feeling like they're going to fall off. But despite this, there is something so everlastingly pleasurable about making those kilometres by yourself. A bicycle moves at such a great pace. Not so quick that you can't process the beautiful home on the Italian Riviera, but not so slow that you get bored of it and can see the cracks. A pace where you can still smell the flowers on the wayside. Yet, it's a speed that is still only recently available to us as humans (relative to our thousand of years of existence) so it still brings this giddy, childish feeling whenever you pick up some speed. So, I think that it really is a good way to see the world. I've had an almighty time thus far!
I'm currently writing this from a small piece of land in the north of Italy. Im staying with some locals who make large inflatable boats. I found them through a website called Workaway, where you volunteer to help people’s projects in return for food and accommodation. Today, me and Alessio the Italian dude who owns the business, knocked down a wall, found a poisonous snake, and listened to some UK hip hop. So, a pretty varied day. I've been on the road, cycling for 6 weeks now. Spent 5 of those in France, and this is my first week in Italia. I have eaten a lot of pasta. I've been barked at an awful lot by farmers dogs. ‘Bork bork’ they say, ‘bork bork’ they repeat the second time in case I didn't hear them. I get so annoyed and just shout back to them what they shouted to me, because that is as far as my doggo language stretches. I've not heard them say anything else actually, so of course I haven't been able to expand my vocabularly. And as of yet, it seems that all doggo languages that stem from Latin (well, both French and Italian) use this bork term to say hello. I will see if the Greek dogs have a different word for greeting me. I've had some pretty novel experiences, to be fair. Ones that couldn't possibly be repeated even if you tried (which is the same for all experience of course) but some have been pretty God darn random. Like, for example, being in St Tropez, and getting distracted from my meditation by a lady who turns out to be an unhappily married 43 year old who sells super-yachts to the super-rich, and is keen to tell me her life story, whilst subsequently coming onto me and telling me that ‘if you see my husband you should probably run’. I didn't want to be brought whirling into that tornado of an experience, I just wanted to finish my meditation in the sun. But I'm happy I did have that weird and wonderful experience, because after all, a wide-ranging, diverse experience is what this trip is ultimately about.