VANCOUVER, Canada—It’s 3am in the morning. It’s the third day in a row. I’m home from France and, yes, I have jet-lag.
It’s still dark outside. As usual, I notice how quiet it is here—even the Skytrain is not running this early in the morning. What do I do? Read, run, work? Sip tea and think and write.
I’m glad to be home and that disorients me. In the past, I’ve experienced what I call post-vacation-stress-syndrome. Am I changing, or is it that I’m happier with “Home” now?
Do I need more home with its objects and rituals? Am I becoming less of a traveller? I reassure myself that I’m now a different type of traveller—I adventure “deep, not wide.” Rather than roll through a place, I choose a a home base and ride around it. I do daily rides in different directions to discover its nuances.
But is that the truth? Perhaps I’m just getting old and lazy.
When I rode PH’s bike on the rural backroads of southwestern France, it was like crack cocaine. I loved it.
I loved exploring every last inch of it.
So: I’m still a traveller and I still love cycling and discovering foreign places. There was some pain, but it was a good, cleansing pain. I was able to ride the Surly through the French landscape and feel my grief and sadness blow away behind me.
When it came time to leave, I helped Ian hoist the green bike up to the attic to store it, I felt solid, complete, grateful. The bike would stay in France. With PH.
And now PH’s bicycle rests on the European continent, safe and secure and far away from my own North American continent. I find this thought exciting: I now have a bike in Europe! I can now fly there anytime I want and do it again! Next time, I can bring panniers and gear and keep going—in France, in Europe, in Asia. Who knows?
Next time, maybe I’ll start by riding into Paris. I’ll haul PH’s green cyclocross onto the smooth, Seine cobblestones that Audrey stood on. As a painter looks on, I might rest the bike on its kickstand, stand by the river’s edge, spread out my arms, and give a shout—I’m free!
When I’m done, I might walk the bike to a nearby sidewalk café and sit myself down to a croissant with butter, and a glass of wine. Perhaps a glass of cardbordeaux.
I’d like that.