Friday, 19 August 2011

what am i doing / what i am doing

here's what happened. i came back from india in april. i lollopped around in yorkshire and london. it's hard to find work in england at the moment - everything costs too much and soon we'll be wheeling wheelbarrows around full of fifty pound notes worth nothing, like in zimbabwe. i worked for 3 weeks in taunton in july, teaching english on a summer school. i wondered about moving to spain to teach, as i want to finish learning spanish and carry on teaching, and there are no jobs to be had in engerland, and spain is nice. my friend james said oh we could cycle to spain. i said wow there's an idea. i already have some panniers on my bike as i cycled in the lakes with my friend gemma earlier this year. i had just bought a tent to live in after the taunton job as i was homeless and jobless, so i had the camping kit. it all seemed to make instant sense. james then said it was only an off the cuff remark and he probably wouldn't actually do it - which is fine as it has to be the right time and the right trip and the stars have to be aligned and all that.

i went to the lovely bike shop in hebden bridge (, and announced i was cycling to spain and needed another pannier and some new handlebar grips, and a new back cassette so i have lower gears for the hills, in particular the pyrennes. i then went to cycle:recycle (, and announced my plan and explained what needed doing to my bike. the lovely bike maintenance man ben gave me some bike maintenance lessons, and fitted my new gears, and explained to me what needed doing to my bike. and that was how that decision was made, it was strangely straightforward and i didn't realise i'd made the decision until i left the bike shops and was cycling home, and said to myself i'd better cycle to spain now i've spent all that money and had those bike maintenance lessons and told everyone i'm cycling to spain.

i then had another realisation which was that i could make it a fundraising trip too - why do a trip like that and not try to raise money. the people who have most inspired me recently, possibly in all my life, are the tibetans i spent 5 months with in dharamsala (see previous blog: it's hard to consider my journey a journey compared to their journey over the himalayas and their situation - i joke about being homeless and jobless but i have lots of support and many opportunities, not to mention freedom, which they certainly don't. in honour of them and in support of tibet and freedom and non-oppression everywhere, i am therefore fundraising for the tibetan school i taught at in dharamsala: e.s tibet (

here are some other reasons (post facto decision making), to cycle to spain:

1. cycling makes me happy.
2. going to new places makes me happy.
3. my friend kim cycled through central america on her own for 8 months last year, thus these things are do-able.
4. life's quite short and i want to have things to reminisce about when i'm old and wearing slippers. i probably won't be able to afford slippers at the rate i'm going, but you get the idea.
5. i watched a programme about the history of the world and it put things into perspective - we are a very small part of a very long history and we don't matter, therefore what i do doesn't matter (not meant in a defeatist way), so there's no point worrying about doing the right or wrong thing, as long as you are basically happy and not harming anyone/anything.
6. unless you decide to do things then not very much happens in life.

at the moment the plan is to get to valencia in eastern spain, with bike and tent and some sanity, enough sanity to teach english to some spanish people and earn some money. all this could change along the way, as the subtitle of the blog would suggest. who knows i might be writing a blog to you in a year's time from siberia or mongolia. or even exotic yorkshire again...

1 comment:

  1. Love your writings Lucy, I will follow with much interest. I laughed so much when I read the part where you said "I'd better cycle to Spain now I've spent all that money and told everyone I'm cycling to Spain"
    Very glad to hear your friend James will be traveling with you.
    Wishing you a fun and safe trip, best,
    Bert in Belize