Hey you guys!
Finally a focused moment for a little update. I'm sitting on a patch of grass in front a totally abandoned railway station in French Pyrenees, close to the border with Spain.
I'm waiting for a tumbleweed to roll by any minute now..it's so quiet, if you don't count the usual countryside soundtrack of lawnmowers, overly excited birds and the rhythmic chimes of cowbells.
They have really elegant white cows here with impressive horns, in India they'd be sacred, here they serve as a cheese factory. I say that, but man did I get into French cheese! My favourite is Saint Nectaire, if not for the insane 33hrs journey ahead, I'd bring you some.
If I close my eyes, it's as if I was home with you, in Czech, in our little Rajec. The same smells and soundscape, the same peaceful and deliciously slow countryside jenesequa. Funny how one flees the nest to discover the world, but no matter how far you run, your home will always find you.
We're in a little mountain town called Buzy. I know, I know..all of my Czech friends are delighted right now, because it's so similar to our 'buzny' - a Czech equivalent to 'faggots', one of my most hated expressions in both languages.
Did you know that the expression 'faggot', also meaning a bundle of kindling, originated from a little known practice of tying homosexuals at the feet of women burned for witchcraft? Not really something they mention in the Sunday church school, hey? I mean, it makes sense seen through the radical tyranny optics of Christianity some five centuries back. The colourful spectrum of gender and sexual identities of pagan and eastern deities got replaced by a single one, represented for mortals as a heterosexual white man, so all the otherness, all that is not of cis-hetero and cis-white-male (hence the burning of powerful or independent women at a stake) must be punished by murder. Anyhow, rant over, I promise I’m not coming back home too radicalised.
Or too quick, for that matter. We still have full three hours before our train comes.
I’ll miss the mountains. Life here seems to trickle in at a different pace. Everywhere you look, it’s Lord of the Rings and cyclists...before 11am you’ll meet so many groups of old men in lycra, you’ll probably want to skip lunch or any type of meal for the rest of your life. We climbed a mountain yesterday, sitting at the exact border with Spain. Le Pic du Midi D’Ossau - some pics attached. I kept looking over my shoulder and checking for Hobbits, but I guess they must have been just visiting the kings under the mountain. I love my Vans, but boy do I not recommend them for mountain treks. I tasted the snow at the top of our ascend. Metallic. I smelled the pretty blue flowers at the top, and pricked my face. Nature up here is quite rough, I guess it has to be in order to survive here.
I’ll miss a doggo called Jazz - we have a little love affair going on. I think she must have recognized in me a soul mate from her previous life. I do often think I was a dog in my past life. Or a coffee. Or a dog called Coffee. It must be one of the hardest parts of this nomadic life - you meet people or dogs and forge immediate bonds, only to leave them behind with your next move.
We left 8am and will arrive 9pm tonight. First stop is Poitiers, David’s hometown. Our friend Nadège somehow magically secured an empty flat for us, so that we don’t have to stay too close for comfort with my in-laws. We have a week to rest, to see friends in Poitiers, to do some family lunches and a whole heap of laundry, and most importantly to reduce our luggages for the next leg of our journey - an overnight bus journey from Paris to Brno, Czech Republic.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to be really flexible with our plans. We don’t do plans anymore. Just rough sketches of what could be happening, always ready to be torn up and casted into the winds of change. But yes, if PCR test results allow, in about a week, we’ll meet in Czech, we’ll stay for five weeks or so to bury my grandma, to support my parents in whatever needs doing around the house, to see you all and - fingers crossed - to find some second/third/fourth-hand car to buy with our laughable budget, which would carry us onwards on our Workaway journey towards Bulgaria. Uffff.
Sometimes I recall with a certain level of fondness the simplicity of a full-time job that anchors you to a particular place, particular lifestyle and two weeks per year holiday. It can feel quite overwhelming at times, when everything is a possibility. I know: boohoo, bitch! What I’m trying to say - no one’s life is easy. It was never promised and never meant to be easy, and it really doesn’t matter how exciting your instagram feed is, everyone struggles and that’s okay. It’s how we can relate to each other, I guess, no matter our personal, social, economical context. We all strive to feel free and for some the freedom looks like stability, for others it looks like a Lidl bag filled with socks caked in mud from yesterday’s cave exploration and getting super excited about other people’s bathtubs.
Ok, pooping wild is out of the question, but I’ll try to see if I can manage to wee around here somewhere - you know how arduous I find this...but hey..life on the road…
See you in a few days, guys! Czech Republic, here we come!