Epitome of a Sponge / 15.09.12

In my last post I believe I mentioned something about “being a human sponge” and I really had no idea how accurate that statement was. I have been a sponge in the past 18 days of this trip in every sense of the word. To start, I soaked up the adventure and hospitality in Worms with Claudia and her family. I enjoyed meals and laughter, new friendships and sun in the garden working on bikes. I was overwhelmed with the changes in setting and culture traveling from Michigan, to New York with family, to NYC, to Germany, then Paris, then back to Worms. I tried to remain open and absorb the ambiance and soul of each and every place and person I encountered. This was both exhilarating and exhausting- or so I thought…

We left Worms and I started to grasp the true meaning of “exhausted”. I became a desperate little sponge, trying to soak up and hold on to the comforts of life that I was so accustomed to. Security of a roof, warmth, control over environment, toilets, and awareness of location were just a few things that slipped away without my blessing. Pedaling by day and camping by night was such a different pattern from what I was used to, and adjusting was met with resistance from my mind and body alike. When I thought I could take no more, we arrived in Freiburg to be hosted by the amazing Jess which turned out to be exactly what I needed. I got to experience the city, soak up a few hot showers and a comfy couch, and even learned to play the Mandolin and Ukulele while street performing for the first time ever.

The most literal experience with embodying a sponge came with the rain and the cold. It began when leaving a small village near a lake in Switzerland when a local said to me “They say it’s going to rain tonight, but who knows with the weather around here”. It rained, and she must have meant “tonight, tomorrow, and then tomorrow night too”. My pathetic North Face rain jacket didn’t stand a chance, and for a couple of days I and everything I own became perpetually soaked and freezing cold. This rain did a number on our comfort, our spirits, and our tents, but the sunset the morning after revealed snow capped mountains and sunlight through fresh clouds that was spectacular. We rode into Geneva in sunshine, appreciating the weather and looking forward to a dry place to sleep. A broken axle on Devin’s bike and an tough, long 80 km day didn’t even get us down.

After basking in the comforts of peoples homes and then leaving to the wilderness again and again, I have become a bit more settled with the ebb and flow- the give and take of being hosted and camping behind cornfields. This adjusting took time and was difficult for me, its surreal still to wake up in a tent each morning, or in a strangers home with no schedule and no solid plan for the days ahead other than to pedal- somewhere. I think the transition period is over for me, I am finally feeling at peace with the rapid change and simultaneous repetition of day to day life. I think its safe to say I have graduated from being a mere sponge by learning from the water it holds, remaining fluid and flowing- always moving in any direction that will get me to where I need to be.

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One Comment

  1. Diana said on September 16, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I really enjoyed reading your post :)

    Glad that you are settling into your new routine and that everything is going well. Hugs!

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