How do I look?
More than two thousand kilometres by now, at the end of 2017 I crossed my 2017th kilometre. I thought it was a nice target!
Eventually it was more of a moral issue to reach this target and I have to thank Google Maps for it. Just before I started this ride I lost my small device that counts the kilometres. No idea where it went, it was just gone. At least I could laugh about it. Not just because I really had to think about what kind of photo I wanted to take at that special 2000 km moment and of course the 2017 km moment photo (which I never took). Also because it was a moment of truth. Coincidence seemed to be needed to help me get out of the pressure of time and kilometres. Of course the real ‘milepusher’ is in my head, but a small device on the steering wheel of my bike helped to keep being pushy to me.
The puzzle stays inside my head and even if I already feel so much more relaxed, it takes time. Thankfully the ‘milepusher’ is also friendly to me from time to time and of course that’s nice, so I think I’ll just buy a new device later.
Currently I’m riding through the south of Portugal, the beautiful Algarve. Even in this season the weather is really trying to attract the tourists. Those tourists are here, not many, but still some. It’s mostly between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius and the days are filled with clear blue skies and sunshine. When you talk to the locals they’ll tell you they long for rain and I understand why. The land is dry and when there’s no rain during these months they await a long and dry summer. Some time ago I rode through an area that had some big fires in 2017 and I saw the misery. The desolation and the amount of people that were driven from their homes is overwhelming. After seeing what this drought can do I really hope the rains will come and I will take being soaked to the bone due to the bad weather for granted.
The sharp reefs and clifftops align beautifully in the sunshine and with the clear blue skies. The little white houses are almost as bright as lightbulbs, sometimes covered in tiles all over to make them endure the influences from sun and sea better. During this season a lot of locals are fixing their campsites, hotels and bed and breakfasts. It still isn’t simple to find a good place to stay that is reasonably priced. A lot of campsites are closed or the owners are really surprised when you come knocking at their door. You don’t have to expect a lot of people anywhere, most of the time it’s only you in a hostel or something. Airbnb is once again a lifesaver and this way you end up at amazing places and in between the locals. Let’s put it this way, there are places that I wouldn’t have chosen, but that prove to be amazingly fun and especially on the inside. And with a wink; although sometimes they are a bit more expensive, I have a place to sleep. I park my bike, bring my bags and make the most of it.
I have been busy with reorganising my bags. Among other reasons because I wanted to bring extra spare tyres. The first spare is on my bike already. All – Izi in Bussum, my bike store back in the Netherlands, sent me two new tyres by post and these tyres should be able to transport me another 10 thousand kilometres. For now they will have to fit into my bags, well, how on earth fitting in, the bags are full. I noticed this over and over when doing my groceries that I couldn’t tuck my shopping in them anywhere. I have to do groceries shopping for more than one day because not all stores are open every day. Anyway, my bags are too full and I don’t feel I need everything that’s in them.
During my stay in Sagres, the end of the world -nice metaphor- I decided to go through my bags thoroughly. Get everything out and be strict about what I’ll keep. I already noticed that a real biker’s outfit isn’t sufficient, it’s not fit to withstand the rain and often enough it’s cold as well, especially when it’s raining. When it’s sunny I prefer to ride in shorts. I bought a detachable trousers along the way. It took some effort to convince myself that I would buy such a pair of pants. My family and friends know that I used tot make fun of people that wore those kind of clothing, they were ridiculous I thought. Who’d wear zip-pants. Well, now it’s me and I think they are wonderful and very comfortable. To conclude; I need outdoor clothing more than I need bikers clothing, especially combined with the camping everywhere.
I donated the biker’s clothing to a local shelter and am curious to know whether some homeless man will be wearing my tights or tight shirt anytime soon and parade through the south of Portugal. I bought another thin outdoor pants to wear and am happy with my choice. Because I thought that maybe I’d like to go out sometimes I also packed some pants with a blouse. I didn’t think about bringing an iron, ofcourse not, but now I am in no way able to remove the wrinkles that had got in during the last two months by the time I want to go out. So that doesn’t work. The blouse has another destination too and so does the pants. For it seems my figure has changed and the pants is way too big and I didn’t bring a belt. Funny how my clothing is getting less and less.I absolutely need my flipflops and biker shoes and for a good walk I have a pair of Nikes. That’s all folks.
My next important buy was a comb. I am growing my hair, just because it’s easy and it goes with free spirited living in a way. Especially because when you have it cut you need to maintain the hairdo and not every village has a hairdresser, at least not easy to find. So this doesn’t fit the live I’m living now. I am fine with it, even if it isn’t really comfortable now and my curls are coming back as well. In time I will be able to put it up and until then my beany and cap are my best friends. I do see my face getting more tinted and tight from being outside all the time. I gave up hope for a decent beard, this is it, well, somewhat nonchalant works for me too. Yes, even when you’re on the road all alone and lack some hygiene every now and then you can still care about; how do I look?!
It was quite a step to put less pressure on my looks. People that have known me know that I used to be really insecure when it came to the way I look, especially about my weight. I would check photos at least four times to see if I didn’t look fat before placing them on social media. An unwanted pimple, to me it was a reason for staying at home. Growing up can be horrible. All the insecurity, is it really necessary? I am not afraid to say no now, but holy shit, I used to have such difficulties with myself and my appearance. And even recently actually, remember Barca, my hair used to be the right way, clothes needed to be perfect and when doing pictures for Instagram the filters worked neatly. Life in Barcelona was different in that way.
It took some time getting used to being okay with uploading photos and videos of an unshaved me. But well, pure life, let’s just do it, right? This is me now and it has made me so much happier and way more relaxed to just show myself this way and not having to worry about not being the perfect picture you’re trying to achieve. You recognise this?
To me now; it’s Just me. I’m sure about that.