For almost three years, I have hosted traveling cyclists in a constant celebration of the free-spirited self by seeing the reflection of las ojos de gypsies… for me it has been a path into the eyes of the soul that connects us all.
Through their stories I have visited a village in Madrid where you can get a glass of wine for $2 and listen to street musicians all night. I have collected clay in the mountains of South America to make bowls to sell at the market. I saw the brilliant multi-colored swirls of Aurora Borealis in Alaska and the windswept peak of Mt Everest. I saw the leaves change color in Northern Carolina and the rice paddies of Thailand. I felt the camaraderie of the church turned into a hostel in Crescent City, CA and picked berries at Harris State Beach in Brookings, OR. I have seen the Bolivian Salt Flats and Grecian coastline.I discovered there was a country called Slovakia and that “Coco” was a common nickname in Bulgaria.
I felt my quads burn as I crested the elevation in Big Sur just to have that pale in comparison with the exquisite beauty of this coastline. I learned not to expect the grocer to look me in the eye in Germany. I slept by rivers in Laos, Mongolia and L.A. I felt the joy of the forest and excellent beer of the PNW.
All the while I was inspired to live life at a rate of 10 miles an hour powered by my own legs, everywhere I showed up I would find friends, my currency was the kindness of strangers and my faith was solidified in the knowing that everything would work out – because it always did and if it didn’t, I could always adapt.
I figured one day some neighbor would protest to my many traveling guests. I have hosted people from 17 countries and more than 10 states (I forgot to count these). We are perfectly position for the BC to Baja ride and honestly I have some kick ass feedback, so that with so many guests, I decided to take a break this summer and focus on the boys and home.
Two weeks ago, I turned the Closed sign to Open and in that time have hosted 12 people from 5 countries and 4 states. It was more than my neighbor could handle. She used power words with a soft tone.
At first I was pissed. I didn’t want to break it off with Warm Showers again. I feared I would lose my connection to the world that lives so free. And then I breathed.. and looked at the situation honestly.
Last night Jordi, Nuria and Hugo from Cataluna stayed with me. They live about 10km from the Village of Jorba, the spring of my Spanish ancestry and Old California story line that I have studied for 17 years and one place I would want to visit above all else in the world.
Breathe. Is that really the Spirit of Light and Love I feel moving through me?
I gave Baby Hugo the boys’ favorite baby board book, teeth marks and all. I knew Nuria for less than 12 hours and when we parted, I missed her. Jordi is the patron saint of Cataluna.
My neighbor had asked me if these cyclists were my friends, did my landlord know and was I charging them rent? Sigh… I can’t say every cyclist would be a chosen friend, but in this last hurrah, I have enjoyed them immensely and I believe made some friends and most definitely will celebrate this end note with its upward swing into a starry sky filled with joy, adventure and family.