Notes from the road – edition 32: On the move
On the road again at last!
I remember when I booked my flight to Amsterdam, this feeling of excitement came over me. After two months of India, where I experienced a lot but didn’t feel like I was travelling all that much, I was super stoked to be on the move again and actually travelling. Then I ended up living in Rotterdam for two months. Again, I experienced a lot in my time there, but I didn’t feel like I was travelling.
After a gruelling 23-hour bus journey, Rotterdam to Paris, Paris to Nice, I arrived in Nice on Friday morning.
Being on the move again has me feeling great and my mind working again. Here’s a little piece I wrote on the bus after leaving Rotterdam.
“Grey. That is the word that springs to mind when I think of Rotterdam, although that may largely be because of my headspace while I resided there. It was a space that provided refuge for me in a time when the wind had left my sails and I felt without direction. Now, I may not have an exact bearing, but there is a sniff of wind on the air. It stirs, and the time to leave the shelter of the cove has come. In setting sail, I run the risk of running aground, of losing the horizon, but I also chance finding my direction. In setting out without a clear bearing, but an idea of which stars to follow and which currents to avoid, I allow myself the opportunity to find the greatest treasure of all. And in finding that treasure, I allow others the freedom to do the same.”
To have the mind ticking over and the words flowing again is a great feeling.
Anyway, Nice really took me by surprise. The modernity and perpetual grey of Rotterdam had me thinking that most of the European cities I visited would be the same. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Perched in a valley right on the southern coast, Nice is an absolute idyllic city. The water is crystal blue and the buildings all shades of pastel. Patisseries and Italian influenced restaurants occupy every street, and there is a buzz of activity in the air.
I came to Nice to support my friend Elliot, who is competing in the Ironman world championships. Just 18 months ago, El was chasing the travel lifestyle dream, and doing it quite successfully. But he traded that in to pursue the calling he’d always felt, to be a pro athlete. It’s incredible what he’s achieved in such a short time.
Nice is a hive of activity with both the men’s and women’s races happening this weekend. Incredibly fit people are everywhere you look. Racing bikes zip up and down the promenade and through the valley, runners’ stride down the roads, and the rocky beach is dominated by swimmers. They’re all getting in those last-minute checks, getting a feel for the course, the water, the climate.
After catching up with Elliot on Friday night, I spent Saturday and Sunday track side, immersing myself in the energy of this event and snapping some photos. I managed to sneak myself into a pretty good position to take some shots of the champions of both the women’s and men’s races. Plus a few shots of Elliot as he battled his way through the gruelling heat on Sunday.
It’s amazing to be on the road again. I feel as if a weight has been lifted and I can finally start to be myself again. On Monday night I leave Nice behind for Venice, where I’ll pick up my car and start my ten-day solo car-camping journey through the Dolomites. The stoke levels are very high.
Until next week, happy voyaging!