Cycling home: A journey to answer 'WHY?' 1670 Km from Prague to La Vall del Llémena

What have i learned?

One song while you read?

Learning is nothing more than the progressive evolution of the self, how you expand your vision of the world and how you build up your consciousness integrating new experiences. And there’s no better way to learn than enterprising a journey. A journey may bring you to new geographies, to new cultures, to new social environments, even to new feelings, sensations and thoughts. And these three weeks have definitely brought me to all these new experiences. But if I have to thank anyone for all these lessons learned is to the people that I have crossed roads with, all those folks that kindly and happily opened the doors of their house and the gates of their soul.

This journey has brought me to ask myself and everyone else WHY?. I wanted to dig deeper on the concept of motivation, what drives our actions, what drives our lives, what ultimately drives society and history? What makes a change?

From the very beginning of the adventure I found answers like “Why not?” “Because it’s cool” or “I don’t have a reason why”. At this point I wanted to take a step back on my reasoning and question myself the generalization that there’s always a motivation in our actions, which probably drinks from my self personality. So, are our actions always motivated?

After a long period of doubt, I continue thinking that all actions are motivated. The key is that we may not be conscious of the reason driving our action, but if we dig deeper in our subconscious mind we will find the true answer to it. An action might respond to fear, it might respond to the search of self reaffirmation, it my respond to an altruistic, empathic motor, or an infinite etcetera. We always have a reason why. And here it comes the importance of being conscious about it. Asking yourself every morning “what are you waking up to?”, and immediately after asking yourself “WHY are you doing it?” is a very recommendable practice.

It is so important to be conscious of our actions, because it determines their sense, where are those little steps bringing us to. And like little vectors, our actions add up to determine our life, which can be also represented as the vectorial sum of our actions and decisions. If we follow a coherent motivation in all our actions, our life will add up to follow the sense that our motivation leds us to. And like vectorial sum again, our little senseful lives will add up to the ones of our peers to determine the sense in which society will progress in history.

If our little actions lack a motivation and are only driven by the surrounding current they might take an erratic, random sense, and when we add them up into our life, we will realise that it will lack sense. So I will continue to ask myself WHY for every little action and for every big decision. I will keep following my life motivation in every little second of my time to take the sense that will bring us closer to our common goals.

I find myself writing these lines for the importance to share our experiences and our lessons learned with others. This I have learned from Nadja, that hosted me and showed me how key is to explain to our social environment all those experiences that can make us all learn. A big part of this project also consisted in working in a way I have never worked before: improvising, travelling without greenhouse gas emissions, talking and sharing special moments with many strangers... And this was one of my motivations to undertake this trip: to expand my limits, a driver I share with Dominik which welcomed me in a stay were I felt very much connected to my host and my environment.

And to end up with, I learned that our objectives, our motivation, our principles, and thus our answer to the question WHY? will bring us as far as we want to go. In a desperate moment, looking for a couch to crash on in the bars of Géneve; it was my attitude, the bike and the boots hanging down my backpack that caught the eye of João. He humbly accepted to host me in his apartment, I believe trough the motivations and principles that I expressed and irradiated to my environment. The boots an image to open-mindedness and the bike being the symbol for freedom.

why am i doing this journey?

Music while you read?

Soon I will start the longest journey I have done in my life. I will be cycling for three weeks across Europe, direction home. But where is home when you have been living in five different cities for the past four years? I guess one way to look at it is recognising home as the place where you have grown up. So, this is a trip from home to home; from Prague where I have lived very enriching experiences during the last months to La Vall del Llémena, where I have spent most of my years and I have forged my personality.

This trip will not only bring me through different geographies, but it will also drive me through an emotional journey. I will discover new mind states where I have never been, I will fight the psychological challenges of such a long effort and I will dive deep into very intense emotions. I adventure to forecast that during these next three weeks the prevalent sentiment will be that of migration. Such an emotion is specially concerning for our human condition, and only through the actual conscience of the feeling we can truly empathise with those fleeing from home finding a new place to grow.

No further than the emotional journey, this is also an opportunity to learn. Learn from and with other humans. Along the way, I will stop by to meet other people and kindly ask for their hospitality. Staying with a stranger is always an interesting experience, where you surely get to converse and take new perspectives into each other life and world visions. This views exchange usually takes on the same old human primary questions, helps us understand one other and further strengths our empathic links to live better together in this world.

I precisely want to take this learning experience to discover the diversity of answers to the same old and simple question: ‘Why?’. I want to deeply explore and get to know different experiences portraying why people act, why people choose, why people change, why people live? All these stories will be narrated by the same protagonist and will feature a personal situation where all of us can mirror and understand the root reasons of a human act. I will invite the people that I meet on my journey to fill in this storybook with their own live experiences to collectively build a panoramic understanding of our moral principles.

The wide social framework for this journey could not be more interesting at this point in history. The emergent world issues brought by globalisation - climate change, increasing inequality, radicalization of the political discourse, lack of privacy in the communication technology and a global financial crisis hitting the public finances of many countries - is asking for a revision of our common moral foundations. It is time to evolve our principles, flee from the old and primary “me, here and now” and start considering the consequences that our actions have over the whole humanity, our past, present and future; and to all the regions of the world; it is time to update our principles to the new global times, it is time to establish a new sustainable moral.

About the trip

· 1679 km · 11.970 m ramp · 22 days ·

DAy 1: Prague - Pilsen

· 104 km · 1020 m ramp · 1 flat tire · Hosted by Vojtech ·

km 0 photo, Karlstejn Castle, Pilsner Urquell Brewery

Day 2: Pilsen - Warzenreid

· 73 km · 770 m ramp · 1 flat tire, 1 new tire · Hosted by Dominik

· First political border crossing · Warzenreid · Chez Dominik ·

Day 3: Warzenreid - Regensburg

· 104 km · 660 m ramp · Hosted by Katja & Maryna ·

Maibaum · Kirchenrobach · Reichenbach · Rain Shelter! · Regen Valley · Chez Katja & Maryna · Regensburg · Katja & Maryna ·

Day 4: Regensburg - abersberg

· 40,7 km · 230 m ramp · Hosted by Nadja ·

· Cycleway bridge over the Donau · Chez Nadja ·

Day 5: Abersberg - Donauwörth

· 97,4 km · 460 m ramp · Hosted by Christof ·

· Donau Cycleway · Neuburg an der Donau · Zirgesheim · Chez Christof · Music sharing evening ·

Day 6-7: Donauwörth - Ulm

· 84,7 km · 410 m ramp · Hosted by Annika ·

· Weisingen · Chez Annika · Ulm ·

Day 8: Ulm - Bad Shussenried

· 57,4 km · 320 m ramp · Hosted by Vera & Matheo ·

· Changing continental drainage basins · Chez Vera ·

Day 9: Bad Shussenried - Konstanz

· 68,8 km · 640 m ramp · Hosted by Daniel & Antonia ·

· Beautiful Rotach Valley · Short break at a land boat · Meersburg · Fossil fuel powered ferry to Konstanz ·

Day 10: Konstanz - Zürich

· 67,5 km · 670 m ramp · Hosted by Zofia ·

· Already in Switzerland · Hugelshofen · First Alps sight ·

Day 11: Zürich - Solothurn

· 99,9 km · 810 m ramp · Welcomed by Jasmin · Hosted by Delphine ·

· Bermgarten · River Reuss · Schloss Lenzburg · Aarburg ·

Day 12: Solothurn - Yverdon-les-bains

· 97,9 km · 450 m ramp · Hosted by Régis ·

· Basel Lake · Neuchâtel · Neuchâtel Lake · Château de Gorgier · Yverdon-les-Bains ·

Day 13-14: Yverdon-Les-Bains - Géneve

· 96,6 km · 830 m ramp · Hosted by João ·

Lac Léman provided a gorgeous scenery to the day. It was so beautiful to bike on top of the hills west of the lake with the sight over the calm water and the snowed alpine summits. Unfortunately, I did not take any picture during this day.

It was also very exciting to get to Géneve without a place to sleep just to finish in a bar filled up with Portuguese where I met João who kindly hosted me for two days! Great experience to meet you João, obrigado! Mi casa es tu casa compañero!

Day 15: Géneve - Drumettaz-Clarafond

· 89,0 km · 990 m ramp · Hosted by Virgil & Agnès ·

· Château d'Arcine · Seyssel · Lac du Bourget · Drumettaz · Chartreuse ·

Day 16: Drumettaz-Clarafond - Beaulieu

· 82,9 km · 780 m ramp · Hosted by Ludovic ·

This was the day I left the Alps after enjoying a beautiful week under their look. I exited the Lac du Bourget basin through the gorgeous Vallé de Couz where I had a refreshing bath in the Hyères and I crossed the Tunnel des Échelles. Once the longest in the world, this tunnel was comissioned by Napoleon and thanks to it I could also avoid taking the historical Sard Way that united Lyon with Milano back in the day.

The day had great roads and beautiful sceneries that I really much enjoied biking downhill at full speed with mild wind and warm sunshine overwhelming my senses. The highlights where the way down to Les Échelles and the way down to the Isère, which I followed until Beaulieu.

Day 17: Beaulieu - La Laupie

· 109 km · 530 m ramp · Hosted by Pascale, Marine & Tony ·

· Cycling way over the Isère · La Voulte sur Rhône · Lavanda fields in La Laupie ·

Day 18: La Laupie - Avignon

· 107 km · 320 m ramp · Hosted by Anne ·

· Historical Pont-Saint-Esprit · Saint-Étienne-des-Sorts · Fort Saint André · Avignon ·

Day 19: Avignon - Cabannes

· 15 km · Hosted by Domingo ·

Nice bike ride with Anne to Domingo's - her musician friend - place. We cycled along La Durance, a river that Anne enjoys visiting regularly. At night we had dinner together with some friends and we attended an open-air blues concert. Vibrant artist, very nice evening!

Day 20: Cabannes - Frotinhan Beach

· 119 km · 270 m ramp · Slept at the beach ·

· Tarascon · Aiguesmortes · My long-missed Mediterranean sea welcomed me with a lot of front wind · Canal de Rhône a Séte, cycling in a thin line in the middle of the sea! · Maguelone Cathedral · I had to jump this fence in the middle of the trail. I don't like private property! · Amazing sunset cycling in the middle of the sea ·

Day 21: Frontinhan Beach - Perpinyà

· 159 km · 310 m ramp · Stayed at Alberg de Joventut ·

· Sunrise at the beach · Place where I slept · · El Canigó · Perpinyà ·

Day 22: Perpinyà - Home

· 119 km · 1040 m ramp · Welcomed by my family · Slept at my bed ·

· El Canigó · Llac de Vilanova de la Raó · Sureda rebrotada Alt Empordà · Els Pirineus · Gaüses · Casa (Home) ·


Photo Credits

Cover photo: Blat a la Primavera - Bernat Casero ·

1st window photo: El Poder del Agua - SantiMB.Photos ·

Created By
Marcel al Cel

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