I often imagined my departure would be a very special day but strangely it was not. I’ve eaten a last meal with my family, then sat on the saddle and left. Somehow, I didn’t have much thought about what I was leaving behind. I knew was starting a new page in my life and this made me feel rather curious and willing to go forward. From now on, I’m in movement. I could be afraid of being on my own, without any regular place to sleep or any familiar face around me but that would make no sense to be afraid today, all I feel is a desire to experience something new.
I know I am like the wind, don’t ask me where I am going because I will follow my intuition and feelings more than the world map, I won’t look forward to reaching a specific destination because all I want is to be on the road and take my time. I want changes to be as smooth as possible and I hope to learn essential things from this travel…
I will be alone, yes, but I will meet thousands of helpful people, cycle across wonderful and various landscapes, discover new cultures, traditional food, and be surprised ! I am convinced this journey will bring me good things and when I ride, my mind is light…
Now, I have to admit that my first day cycling was a physical struggle. I promised to visit my grandma on the way but this drove me to the hills. Tiny hills, but going uphill with about 50 kilos of luggages on a mountain bike is quite demanding when you have no training. I was struggling to find the energy to push the pedals. Really, being sweating and cursing on such tiny hills was ridiculous. I hoped to be smiling and singing when riding on such small hills in a couple of months !
I spent the first night of my journey at some CouchSurfers (see my article about couchsurfing) near Belfort, and that was a great evening despite the muscle pain in my legs. It felt just like an evening at some good friends. I was eating the delicious food cooked by Julie and talking all evening while drinking beer, wine and rum with Xavier and his flatmates. I was so nicely welcomed that I could forgive them to live on top of the highest hill around ! I had to push the bike uphill to reach their home, it felt like pushing some kind of small motorbike… do I really want to cycle the world with this?!
The second day, I was cycling from Belfort to Mulhouse along the canal which connect the Rhone and the Rhein rivers, enjoying the sun shining like in summer. That was a much easier ride than the previous day and for the first time since months I felt really convinced that starting this journey is one of the best decision I ever made. I felt happy. I enjoyed sitting by the canal, watching the ducks, talking to strangers full of questions about my journey. It was 18 degrees outside and we are the 7th of February !
When I arrived in Mulhouse, I had of course no city map and not a single clue about how to find the house of my couchsurfers. However, with a little bit of patience and luck you can manage everything. I stayed 4 nights in Mulhouse because I promised a friend of mine to meet her and she was away these days, but that was actually a good opportunity to meet some nice people with CouchSurfing in France !
The day after meeting my friends, my legs were light again and I was heading to Switzerland. Leaving France was quick and pretty easy ! 🙂
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