Yay, I booked my flight to Belgium. As it seems, I will be leaving this paradise soon. August 1st, to be precise. One week to go.
It will not be easy, I can tell you that. I really got used to my life here. This is what happens every time I stay somewhere for 3 months or more. If it would not be for my parents and some admin stuff I need to deal with in Belgium, I would just stay here.
OK, OK, and for that proper perfect latte in a cosy coffee house that is not located in an industrial area and that I am dreaming of for the last 4 months…
Adding “Cross the Atlantic Ocean on a sailing boat” to my Bucket List
Despite Patricia and my Sailor friend leaving – oh, hold on. I don’t think I ever mentioned my Sailor friend to you, did I?
Ok, first things first. Let me first introduce him to you. We spent so much great time together over the past few months that he deserves that. I met him over Tinder. Yes, yes, over Tinder. No judgements please! What did I say? I said no judgements, please. Thank you. And no, nothing juicy was going on between the two of us. These adventures I keep to myself 😉
When one spends +40 days alone (during confinement) with not a single soul to speak to after 5 PM (this is when the clock hits 11 pm in Europe and everyone in Europe goes to sleep), one falls back on this final resource. I never thought I will ever say Tinder can be used for just meeting people and making friends, and yet. Never say never, right?
Sooo, my Sailor friend. He works on one of the most magnificent sailing boats I have ever seen. Or better, on one of the most giant ones. You know, one of these sailing boats you see in marinas during your summer vacations and your jaws drops again and again. An article I found on the web about this boat uses a term a “superyacht”. The boat has been featured in many sailing magazines as well. (The boat being so famous is also the reason why he asked me not to disclose his name or post a photo – contractual obligations and stuff. And of course I will respect that).
He is the first person I ever met working on a boat. He has arrived to Guadeloupe from New Zealand, spending the last 4 years on this boat, never leaving the boat for a trip home or similar during that time.
From New Zealand towards french Polynesia, Australia, then north through south East Asia towards Japan, crossing North Pacific ocean, down the West Coast of US towards Panama, through Panama Canal and all the way to Guadeloupe, where the confinement forced the crew to stop for few months.
So now you can imagine how listening to his stories about the boat life must have been for someone like me, who loves anything that floats on water. Talking to him while hiking or sipping a cold beer(s) opened a WHOLE NEW world to me. Oh man, I think I want to add “Cross Atlantic ocean on a sailing boat” to my famous Bucket List. 🙂 Or live and sail for 6 months on the sailboat around the Caribbean, or… or…
And this is why I L O V E my nomadic lifestyle of continuously exploring the world so much. Learning about unknown worlds through such serendipitous encounters, meeting such interesting people and learning about their unusual stories and different lives… all this compensates for all those lonely moments that are also part of the package.
Out of my comfort zone practicing French while mountain biking
Patricia and my Sailor friend both leaving at more or less the same time forced me to get out of my comfort zone and finally reach out to a bike shop to see if I could join a local Mountain Bike Group for some rides. It turned out it is possible.
Oh, how did I know there is a mountain bike group, you might ask? Well, some months ago, coming back from one hike, I have spotted a group of MTBikers coming back from a ride to a parking place next to the road. And there was that van parked there, clearly belonging to a local bike shop.
One plus one equals two, so all I had to do was note down the phone number of that shop, call them and simply ask. It took me two months and no one around to do something fun with for the weekend to finally do so. 🙂
Yep, not always easy to reach out, but it turned out I hit the jackpot. My intuition seeing that van and few MTBikers was telling me I might be on to something fun. And indeed I was…
I walk the talk, don’t I?
Even for an extremely extroverted person like me it took some guts and monologue to go and join them few days later. On that Saturday I found every possible excuse why I would rather stay at home. And yet… I walk the talk, don’t I? How can I inspire others as a coach going into the unknown, if I can’t do it.
If you are a girl and been joining MTB groups before, you know what I am talking about. It is almost always mainly men, majority fit and strong, cycling every week at least once. Add to this the fact that I haven’t cycled for real for over 4 months (except that one attempt when I ended up hiking carrying the bike for an hour) and think of the fact that women are by default physically a bit weaker than guys and I think you get the picture. 🙂
I could write one whole post about me arriving to the meeting point with the smallest car you can rent here watching them all arrive with their big pick-ups and jeeps, taking out their shiny guns – ups, sorry – bikes, and looking at me like I have fallen from the sky. 🙂
When I realised that on top majority of them are riding electricity-powered bikes, I literally wanted to pack my bike back into my car and leave. But I stayed. I swallowed hard, feeling like an alien, set a starting point on maps.me app in case I will start slowing down the group too much (so that I could return back on my own), politely answered the questions what brings me to Guadeloupe and where I am from, even more patiently explained where exactly is Slovenia and hopped on the bike.
That first bike ride was probably one of the most epic bike rides I have ever done.
It almost beats cycling the cliffs of Portugal last summer. Riding by banana plantations, through the rain forest, crossing rivers, stopping for some fresh mangoes on the way and down-hill through a tropical rain storm… these were all the moments I wish I had a Go Pro to capture them for you. It is again that some of the most amazing moments of our lives only stay in your minds.
Since then I am regularly joining them every Saturday. Well, I did so 3 times so far. Ride No. 2 was the muddiest ride ever. Oh, hold on… except for that one some years ago when I went with two friends cycling an off-road cycling path in Istria in Croatia – and we had to be rescued by the firefighters 🙂 But that is a whole different story. Maybe I will share it once with you.
Ride No. 3 this last Saturday was so hot I thought I will get a sun stroke mere 30 minutes after we started. I wonder how the last one will be this coming Saturday.
I will let you know in my next blog post, most likely writing it while already sipping that long-awaited latte in my favorite coffee place in Brussels.
And until then, here some more impressions for you to enjoy. 👋🏻
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