Going around in circles

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Today I went north of Paris in search for a large sports mall, Intersport, one that doesn’t have any outlet in Paris (yet, apparently). I passed the northern suburbs, ever so populous and industrial, and, quite frankly, not worth a visit, really. But my destination was laying in this area.

I actually discovered a great park on the way, the Courneuve park (or Valbon park), really big and picturesque. It’s stuck between the Bourget airport, industries, shopping mall, large social buildings, highways, and more industries. There was hardly anybody in the park (well okay it was a week day).

After searching around for half and hour I finally found the “mall” I was looking for, saw everything it had to offer in about 5 minutes and was back on my way. It was so small there was no wonder it wasn’t registering on the map 😉

Now, as I was making my way back on another route, filled with even more highways, some of them under construction as if we were going out of stock, I was yearning for the real trip.

 

For a week now, I’m making longer journeys, 30, 40, 50 kms today. But I always end up at the same place. Sure, it’s comforting, but it’s also boring. I *know* that my destination is actually where I started from. I’m looking forward to go from somewhere to somewhere ELSE. There is no real excitement in knowing perfectly well where you’ll end up. There is also a pretty limited ways of ending up there : a few roads, all merging into the same street, then the same entrance.

If that isn’t a metaphor for life, the routine of work / eat / sleep, and death, then I don’t know what is.

Now, when you go away, the possibilities multiply with each turn, and the farther you go, the bigger the adventure. On the trip that I envision, each starting point, each ending point are undefined, and thus the journey is only defined when it is done, not before. I’ll choose where I end up depending on my feeling, my stamina, the weather, the environment…

And overall, I have no idea where I’ll end up on the trip as a whole. Paris, probably, but with a new work to find, a new place to live, a new horizon to define. It’s exciting as it is frightening.

I’m watching Dead Poets Society as I write that, and the quote fits perfectly : “To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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Biking

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road

So, at some point in late january 2014, I decided I would cross the US on a bike ! Why would I do that ?

I’ve wanted to cross the US for a very long time, at least ten years. Its a journey that is sure to be mind-blowing. Its a rare possibility to get through a continent, while staying in the same country, with one language, on such a long distance. All the while going through amazing landscapes and referenced locations, mostly in films, but books and of course history.

When I had this plan in mind, I thought I would do a road trip, perhaps in a car, or perhaps in a RV. There was some technical issues with renting or buying / selling back a car, but it seemed feasible. There were also timing issues. Such a trip, with enough time to visit cities and places, would have to last at least a month, rather one and a half. That’s a lot of vacations to pile up at one point at once. Plus, doing it as a couple doubles the complexity of fitting that in a schedule. In the end, it didnt happen.

And early 2014, the stars seemed to align – at least as far as this project was concerned. It seemed I would be leaving my job in a satisfying condition, and with no other job lined up yet, a lot of free time would become available. At the same time, I felt I should sell the appartment I bought and refurbished with my ex-wife. That would also mean one less string. Finally, the divorce procedure appeared to reach the end, after much administrative issues. So everything could be done by the time I wanted to depart.

Suddenly being able to line up more than 2, 3 or 4 months for such a trip, I thought it would be much more fascinating to do everything on a bike 😉