Riding for Hope- thoughts on the road
Hi everyone and greetings from Steenwijk, Netherlands. Its a day off and raining which I dont mind because we have a great host and I feel like writing, clearing my mind. First a bit about the city, its also known as a small venice because there are canals and places you can only enter with walking and canoiing.
There are about 20 000 inhabitants and a lot of tourists, long time ago there was a war between dutch and spanish which lasted for 80 years (according to our host). Thats a long time to be at war, killing each other. Dutch won obviously, but it makes me think. Why are we so eager to kill each other, to rule and own, to have an area we can call our own. As a Finnish being in EU means (at least for me) having a common currency with other countries, having regulations of how to do business, what to buy, eat and drink among other things. Its like a bubble where we are controlled by a bigger hand that is way too hard to know and realise and the bubble is only meant for certain areas of the world. Before coming to Germany and crossing the border to Netherlands I didint fully realise what it means since Finland is in the north, isolated by the sea. Idea of EU is to travel freely without passport, when crossing the first ”border” it didint feel like your entering another country. Behind me was Germany and in front The Netherlands however the sceenary was same.
After 10-15 km you could see the difference in landscape, Germany has some relief and uphills but Netherlands is totally flat except the flood dunes. In Germany there were more agriculture like whey, where as in Netherlands theres more grass areas and sheeps. Still about EU, why arent we letting everyone move freely no matter where they live, theres so much space in this world and still we are building walls and letting people die, instead of coming together as one. Why are we letting history determine us.
While cycling in Germany there was no signs of prostitution, partly because we didint have time to see the bigger cities. Here in Netherlands however there was two brothels allmost immeaditly in the countryside next too the fields, it made me instantly feel bad and kind of gave me this feeling of dislike toward the country but thats partly also because im not use to seeing prostitution live, I have read and seen documentaries. Prostitution is legal in The Netherlands and as well in Germany, but if I understand right then in Netherlands the law has proggressed more and its clearer whereas in Germany there are still unclear matters. Here prostitution is like any job where you pay taxes, have healthcare and working rights. Brothels are under police control and have check ups for trafficking in women, which leads to the seperation: prostitution is legal, trafficking in women unlegal and this is to give the sex workers rights and better working conditions. Is it though, does it work in real life or does it just make it easier for the abuser? How can you seperate which women actually wants to do it because the employers can easily just lie about it and silence the women with the threat of violence. Maybe euros change owners between the government officials, who knows. Then theres the whole concept of women who want to use their body as a way of earning, im not going to touch that subject much because in my mind i still feel like its such a waste, having sex with someone for me means letting this person have a piece of me and the idea of doing it with strangers everyday just makes me sad but thats just me.
About cycling itself. When I left Finland, my knees were aching and my legs were pretty much tight from every part and of course I was scared that I wont make it but there was no going back since this is my dream of many years and it has become public project, international. On the first few days I had kineesio tape wrapped around my right knee and Im not sure if it was that or magic but my knees didint hurt so much (also Sofia is carrying part of my stuff to take weight from me, superwoman). Everyday at around 50-60 km some part of my legs start to hurt, either its the knees or soles (like hundreds needles) and thats a sign that soon I need to stop, knees have been surprisingly ok for now, maybe they are getting used to cycling. Like someone said; Germany, Netherlands and Belgium is practise for the legs so that they are strong enough for Spain and the mountains. Its really important to make enough stops for stretching and start the morning with 20 minutes or so stretching/yoga because if you first sleep in a tent and then jump on to bicycle its not good.
Finding a place to sleep has been quite easy and when you carry a small camping cooker (trangia) its possible to eat where ever. People are really nice, many are interested about the trip and want to share their own experiences which is nice.
What comes to the concept of freedom and wanting to explore it thru others, get some material. That hasnt been easy because of the time limit, I didint realize that two months is not enough to do what I dreamt of at the beginning unless I take more time for the project or just start another project after this, maybe start a freedom blog of my own. For now I need to tune my self and take this as a long cycling ring. Cant have it all.
When your cycling all day, it wears you out physically which then somedays leads to being mentally tired also. I dont know yet but im guessing that 8 weeks on the road has its own cycle or phases. Sometimes everything feels supper nice and when your tired, the tolerance for everything is really low. Theres a lot of time to think on the road, too much sometimes. Whats obvious for me at the moment and has been quite some time that I need to learn the skill of relaxing, letting go of the past and stop building walls around me, say what i feel to the people around me. Stop judging myself and instead respecting the person I am and what im doing.
Found this book from a local book store, lets see what Mark thinks about being a human. The host we now had in Steenwijk had a really good way of thinking ”if you dont ask, you wont get anything. Whats the worst that can happen? They say no”.
Ok, thats enough for now, thank you for reading.
Remember to donate @ www.mesenaatti.me/riding4hope.
Talk to you soon
Riding for Hope