Thursday, November 17, 2016

F.U.C.K.

In times like these I am very happy that I do not have children. Selfish as it may be, I don't have to worry too much beyond my own years and, given that I am not that young anymore and my life has been great so far, I can afford to be fatalistic and enjoy the rest of my life. However long it might take. Hit (or slip and fall on) that red button, I am ready.

Admittedly, written out, this looks and sounds way more horrible than it did in my head. And to be honest, I have never been as scared and terrified as I am right now. Suddenly, it's real. I am not reading a book or watching a movie about the Third Reich, World War II, Nuclear Catastrophes, or any fictional dystopia. I am not hearing about or watching someone else's story on TV.  THIS. SHIT. IS. REAL. One of the most powerful nations of the world. The country that calls itself the 'World Police', and once was seen as such by others, has elected a leader who is, well, let's put it this way, everything but qualified. Not that this had never happened before here or anywhere else.

If you dig deeper, it's not that difficult to understand. First of all, there weren't that many options. It was like having to pick an STD. Whatever you pick, you will be fucked and you won't be able to fuck for a while. And then, half the country, if not more, had been neglected for decades. A small number of very rich people have been making sure their interests are addressed, no matter what and no matter how many people would die or suffer. If only they would get even richer and more powerful than they already were. Not corporations. Corporations are run by humans. Humans are to blame for where we are right now. I do not exclude myself when I say that many of us, who live in rich, peaceful countries, have been sleeping for the last decades. At least since the last big war we have been involved in. Every now and then we went on the streets to protest. On the surface, we have made quite some progress when it comes to environmental issues, equality of minorities, social security, human rights, animal rights. But then, when you take a closer look, you see that we don't know the whole story or the truth. We only know what we are being shown and told by the media and what we are willing to find out by digging deeper and ask uncomfortable questions. And many of us don't like it when it gets uncomfortable. It is painful and more often than not, we don't know what to do and we're overwhelmed by what we may find or end up feeling, facing the ugly truth and the true size of all the issues humanity has caused and the consequences of those.

Poor and rich have never been farther apart. The rich have never been more powerful and ruthless, well, maybe not as powerful as ruthless as during the Middle Ages. And, most of the poor in the right countries do still have a significantly better life than the poor during those times. Most likely, we won't die of a toothache, appendicitis, the flue, or during child birth. Or just because you are different. If someone tries to steal what we own, we can call the police and they will help us. No one is throwing bombs at our home, forcing you to leave everything you own, everyone you love and risk your live trying to get to a better place. Where you are not welcome and sometimes even blamed for the situation you just ran away from. But things have gotten worse for many.

At the same time, I feel that our interest and involvement in politics has been merely for entertainment purposes and I personally, have gotten most of my news from German satire shows because watching the actual news was way to painful for me. What I should be doing, instead of writing a blog post or post memes on Facebook, is to pull up my sleeves and get politically involved. Rally up likeminded and equally scared and frustrated people, found a party, figure out the problems, prioritize them, and put a program together for how the fuck we can address them and save this planet. Like Elisabeth Warren, for example. Go through the painfully slow process of changing our country, one issue and one day at a time. That would be the only way to deal with my anger and fear and the uncertainty of what is going to happen to this country and the world. And the only way to create real change.




Saturday, October 15, 2016

Things

It's been two weeks since I moved to Arizona. Everything is unpacked, license, registration are updated, healthcare is in progress, and I even interviewed for a job out here. We've been on a couple of hikes, one of them over 12 miles with 2,500 feet elevation gain to Tom's Thumb and tons of sharp rocks on the trail. I found my first scorpion right outside the bedroom (inside the apartment) and I got bitten by a hornet (no fun, for a day I looked as if I was growing a second arm out of my left arm). Oh, and I had my first shooting lesson. I'll explain why in a minute, given that I'm everything but a huge fan of guns.

All in all, I've arrived. I think. While the above seems like a lot, I spend a lot of time at home with the dog. I am in no hurry to go out and socialize. Instead, I really enjoy the quiet and the slowness of my day. I have nowhere to be, nothing to do, other than reading some books and finish my assignments for the coaching class. Think about what to make for dinner every night. I even dress up a little when I pick up my boyfriend from work. Because I want to. And because he appreciates every single thing I do and makes sure I know that. Not because I've turned into Donna Reed.
Hornet bites are no fun

I was close to getting a job out here that would have paid incredibly well and it wouldn't have been too difficult and stressful. Back in Tech, pretty much. But at a smaller, slightly different company. It seemed like a perfect fit and very tempting. I did not get it. For some time I was a little disappointed,  until I suddenly realized how relieved and happy I felt. In the end, I would have ended up in the same situation that I had left in March. Granted, with more responsibility and decision power, a slightly less stressful environment, but pretty much the same kind of work and situation. Torn between various stakeholders who all think they know best and want everything to be done by yesterday. Well, I know that I am good at jobs like that and it's very good to know that if nothing else works out, Phoenix is working on becoming the next Silicon Valley and they will always need an experience Product Manager for usually good salaries. But that would be too easy. Well, not that easy, given that I didn't actually get that job. But there are other things I can do, need to do. Coaching for a example. For a little while I was doubting if I really made the right decision to get a coaching certification. I don't really like people. Well, most people. And what I like even less than that is when someone needs or depends on me. So, why would I want to spend so much time listening to others? Well, it's the only way. The only way to make this world a better place. One person at a time. From experience I know how well coaching can work and what a difference it can make. I would never have been able to run a marathon with a pretty good time and without long term impact on my joints, if it hadn't been for my coaches. And even before that, my life changed dramatically thanks to a life coach. And I feel that I can be a good coach and give back.

Part of the coaching education is to pick a skill and get coached to do it. I had a little trouble finding something. Woodcarving or something along those lines seemed like not such a good idea. Given how good I am at injuring myself. Especially with knives. When I drop a knife, I try to catch it... And at least once a week, I look at my hands and something is bleeding. I cut myself on everything available to cut myself on. So any craft with sharp objects was not an option. Welding seemed like not such a good idea in a city where temperatures rise over 120 degrees (close to 50 degrees Celsius). Anything sport related that I want to do, I've done. The dog trainer I looked at was pretty far away and expensive. So we're just trying to train her with lots of treats to not eat other dogs' faces. And then I found something: gun shooting.

I hate guns. I think that this world would be a much better place without them. I will never understand gun fanatics and I think that access to guns and ammunitions must be tightly controlled. If  the chances of a suspicious person carrying a gun are low, as they are in countries and states with tight gun control, police officers or others are less likely to pull out their gun and shoot them. Anyway, I realized that a world without guns is something that is never going to happen. Or a world without injustice, hunger, equality for any kind of person, violence, bad drivers, and so on. Hence, I would have to find a way to live with them. And not just that. Given that there are so many guns in this country, I better know how to handle them. Know how to make sure that they won't harm anyone. That's what got me to pick gun shooting as the skill I want to be coached in. An almost bigger barrier to do that was that I am also terrified of guns. The first time I saw a gun, when I was 16, I almost threw up. The first time I shot a gun, a few years ago on a clay shooting range, I felt sick for a while afterwards. The sound, the way it felt, when a shot was fired, and the fact that we shot moving clay pieces that were made to look like bunny rabbits or birds, made me feel nauseous. Compared to shooting, riding on an interstate at 80 miles per hour or crossing the country on my bike by myself seems like a walk in the park. During the day. In a better part of town :-). So, what is the best way to overcome your fear? Well, to face it.

And so I went to the Scottsdale Gun Club, on Thursday, for my first gun shooting lesson. Slightly nauseous and apprehensive. The front store looked pretty much like I expected it to look. All kinds of guns and ammunition everywhere. Mostly men, some in outerwear and with large pickup trucks. But others, too. My trainer made a very friendly, competent, patient, and reassuring impression. He reminded me of my Dad. Which is always a good sign. Plus, the waiver he had me read and sign made me feel a lot better, too. Alright, I thought, they do know how dangerous guns are and are taking a massive amount of precautions. That is good. Consequently, the first part of my lesson was all about safety and how to handle the gun. We started with the four rules of gun safety:
  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. 
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Can you find the sixth shot?
Personally, I don't think they're phrased very well and need more explanation, especially 1. And 2. and 3. could be combined into one rule. But it's good that someone thought of them. Once we had covered them all and I had learned what every switch and part of the gun was called and operated and how to hold the gun, aim and press the trigger, we went to the gun range to shoot. The gun we used was a Glock, 9mm. It did look a little bit like a toy. Until we got to the part with the real ammunition. The killing kind. So I loaded the gun, made sure I had the right grip, aimed it at the target and slowly moved my finger on the trigger. Very slowly. Until the shot went off. 

It's loud. So loud. The backlash was less than expected, but in order to hit as close to your target as possible, you need to be surprised by the shot. So you don't just push the trigger, you gently press it until the gun goes off. Which makes it a little weird and even louder and more terrifying. After the shot, you're supposed to keep your finger on the trigger, readjust your aim, and shoot again. However , after each shot I wanted to put the gun down, sit down, and calm down for a few minutes. But no, eventually, I kind of got the hang of it and shot the last round, one cartridge after another. Apparently, I don't suck. Which means that the sniper career I had thought of, is not that far out of reach, anymore. Beware, bad guys! ;-).

I stil don't like guns. But I feel that the more I know, the safer I will feel around them. Given that this country is full of guns, it can't harm to have one more person who knows how to handle them safely. And when I argue for stricter laws, at least I know what I'm talking about. Furthermore, I was able to do this despite my fear. Which is still there. I feel apprehensive and scared around guns. But I already started to feel a bit better, knowing how it works and how to handle it. Like the fact, that a properly working gun won't go off when it falls on the floor. It might if you try to catch it and accidentally press the trigger. Like the knives. Let them drop and make sure your feet or pet won't get hit. But don't catch it.










Friday, September 23, 2016

Love

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I might have found the one person who is just perfect for me. For a while, and if I'm really honest, even now, I've searched for something I don't like about him. And because I couldn't find anything big and obvious, I even paid close attention to all the little things. And there were some, but none of them lingered, none of them turned out to be the spark to light the fire of doubt that would eventually eradicate the affection and relationship. Sometimes quickly, sometimes painfully slow. But there was no such spark. And hence, no easy way out for me. Even things like burping, snuffling, or leaving the bathroom door open while peeing didn't bother me at all. I still love this man.

There are the obvious things I love, like his looks, his smile, the sound of his voice and his laughter, the way he treats me and what he says and does to let me know that he loves me. Which would be enough for me to know he does, but he even tells me he loves me. His storytelling, his curiosity and intelligence, the joy I feel when being with him, talking to him, and listening to him. But what is most important, he challenges me. I've had relationships before with men who tried that, but I never let them. Not sure, what he does differently, and it's not easy and I still do resist. And yet, I do try things I never wanted to try before. And I'm learning so much about myself. Things I already knew but never fully accepted. Because it scared me to do them. To accept who I really am and to take action based on that. Action like doing things that I never thought I could do. But the more time I spend with him, the more I realize that the reason I have been holding back is not so much the fact that I don't have the skills, education, talent, and experience but rather that I don't give myself enough credit. He makes me read, watch and listen to people who are like me and incredibly successful but who I thought I didn't like and, consequently, ignored. And the more I do that, the more I realize how much power there is inside of me. Dormant and unused. And how much good there could be done with it. If only I acknowledged who I really am, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.

He made me watch a movie about someone who has used his empathy to not only build a million if not billion dollar business but also change the lives of thousands of people in a way that causes an avalanche. Those thousands will go out and change thousand more lives and so on and so on. And despite his success and the decades he's spent doing this, he still feels the pain of every single person he talks to. And, I'm sure, the pain of everyone else. And yet, he does not falter but only gets stronger and continues changing lives. I understood, that feeling all that pain and having all that empathy can be such a powerful thing. And you don't have to get rid of it to be happy and successful. You just need to use it for your and everyone else's benefit.

I've heard a highly regarded consultant speak about leadership, using words and examples I used when I was nineteen. Then, I didn't know that my attitude and demeanor at work was the attitude and demeanor of a leader. I've never seen myself as one but, somehow, many people around me have. And that without rank, without orders, without bullying. Just because of me and the way I do things and treat people. Not that I was unaware of all of that. But somehow, I didn't want to go there. And now there is someone who makes me want to go there. Better, he makes me want to go there and I allow him to do it.

And again, like so many times before, I feel like I'm pointing out the obvious here. Millions of successful people became successful because of this one or a few people in their lives who triggered something. Who challenged them and supported them in a way that no one else had done before. That made them see themselves like they really were and not like they thought they were or should be. And this can be anyone. A colleague, a partner, a friend, a coach of any gender. I am in no way saying that a woman cannot be truly successful and happy without a partner. Sometimes it's quite the opposite. But no one, really no one, can be truly successful and happy alone.

Love, I think I've finally understood what it is. It gives me the courage to fly. I always knew I had wings and even knew how to fly. And I surely knew how good it felt to fly. But I didn't do it. God knows, why. And here comes someone who just gives me the last push I needed to do it. Somehow I feel not only the courage but the strong urge to fly. And take off and it's like nothing else I've ever felt or done and I never want to stop again.






Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Goodbyes

In less than two weeks, I will pack my things and move to Arizona. Bye bye Bay Area. I don't think that I am fully aware of what this will mean, yet. Leaving the kind of friends you don't find every day and everywhere and a place I thought was home. Leaving California and all it's beauty and benefits. But I don't really have a choice here and it does feel right. Albeit an incredibly sadness I have to move on.

A few things happened since I finished my trip. The day I came home, I felt so lost. The neighbors had moved out and the garage was almost empty and clean so I hardly recognized it when I drove inside. They had taken Chewy, their cat with them so he didn't come running like he always did after I returned from a long trip. And when I walked into the apartment, my skin started itching because of the two new kittens who lived there now. These guys were hiding under the couch for a few hours before their curiosity and hunger, I assume, drove them into the kitchen. And while it lightened my mood to play with them and watch them, it also made me itch more. Not to mention miss Chewy even more.

It didn't feel like home at all. After having been away for such a long time, it didn't even smell like me, anymore. I didn't know what to do to help me come home. Feel home. Home. I wondered where that was now? 

In order for you to be able to follow from here I need to tell you a story that I did not include in my blog. And it's the reason why I didn't write as much as I could have written along the way. I am not going to write about it in detail, given that many of you already know what has happened. Long story short, I met a guy while I was in Phoenix and after I had left, we spent hours on the phone every day, I flew back to see him twice, and now I am going to move to Arizona to be with him. My sarcastic and rational self who doesn't believe that love like this exists, keeps looking at me with a raised eyebrow and asks "Who are you and what did you do to Eva?" But that is what happened and it feels like nothing ever has before. With every phone call and every time I see him, it keeps getting better and better (sarcastic self is about to barf). I don't really know how to describe it and I still can't quite believe that we've met and feel the same way about each other. 

Now, I had made the decision to leave the city even before my departure. I just didn't know where to. And I am sure that Arizona will only be a temporary solution for a few years. But I'm excited to explore the nature, go hiking, backpacking and ride my bike. And live in a quiet suburb with a view of cacti and coyotes. Avoid the heat in summer and enjoy the weather during the rest of the year. 

As I couldn't shut up my sarcastic self completely, I wanted to spend all of August with him to see if we could live together. Before I made the decision to give up my place and leave. A week before my departure, however, my father called and told me that my mother, who had been battling cancer for the last two years, had gotten a lot worse. They had sent her home a few weeks ago and I had only talked to her on the phone the weekend before. So I booked a flight and hoped that she would still be alive when I got there. She wasn't. I left Wednesday evening and she died Thursday morning while I was still on the plane to Zurich, watching a huge northern light over Greenland, staying on my side for hours.

My mom died. She's gone and will never come back. And just like that, everything else became irrelevant. From Zurich I flew to Frankfurt, got a rental car and drove to my home town. Where my brother and father opened the door. We spent the rest of the evening with a bottle of wine in the kitchen, remembering her. Every moment, I expected her to come into the kitchen, asking us what we were doing, sitting there. But she didn't. She would never walk into that kitchen again. We all felt like crying but none of us did. We knew that, if we started, we wouldn't be able to stop.

I don't want to write more about it. It hurts and it is going to hurt for a while. It doesn't help that I see my mom's face every single time I look in the mirror. But I know that she doesn't have to suffer anymore. And that helps. And I feel her with me all the time. At times, I can even see her sitting somewhere, mostly on a cloud or just somewhere in the air, floating. I can hear her laugh or comment on what is happening. And I love that. When I am really sad and feel overwhelmed, I can even feel her hug me tightly to make me feel better. And something else happened, that made it feel less painful. My father had sent out mail to family and friends to tell them she died and let them know then the date the wake would happen. My mom's half siblings with most of whom she hadn't been in contact with in over 20 years, came to the funeral. Loyal as I am, I never thought of reaching out to any of them, myself. But when I saw them again, I was so glad to know that my family is bigger than I thought. It felt like even though, I had lost my mom, I had regained some uncles and aunts. A few more people who knew her and who I can exchange memories with.

There are three and a half more months left in this year. I am not sure I could take any more big events. I just want to settle in, enjoy the quiet life in the suburbs for a while and plan my life in Arizona. 












Monday, July 25, 2016

Can't Quite Believe I Made It





I'm back. Let me tell you, slowly riding across the Bay Bridge when it's sunny, after a long absence, seeing the skyline, the glistening water of the Bay, the hills and the Golden Gate Bridge, while listening to Scott McKenzie's San Francisco, I haven't cried so much on a bike. It felt pretty great to have made it across the country and back. Alive, unhurt, and full of impressions and experiences I still have to process. 

I wish I could write some amazing epilogue now that would leave you in tears and inspired to change your lives for the better. Or pack your bags and leave on your own adventure. I would love to tell you that my life has changed for the better and that I had an epiphany and suddenly know what I want to do with my life. That the long ride through this beautiful country gave me all the insights I needed to make a decision, to start my own amazing business, or to go out and save the world. 

I have to disappoint you. That didn't happen. In fact, I might be even more clueless than before. And I don't think I have even begun to process the experience. It's such a daunting thing to do. At first I had to arrive and rest. I hadn't been that tired in a long time. Hours of riding every day, all the things I've seen, people I've met, the writing and a few hours every day spent with something I still need to write about publicly. But not yet. I did not get nearly enough sleep. And so I spent the last week like a sleepwalker. Only now I am beginning to feel that I'm back and rested enough to orient myself. 

So, if you expected an amazing post about all my learnings and my big plans for my future I'm sorry I have to disappoint you. That is still work in progress. Hang on and give me some more time. And look at some photos of Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra I took on the last day of the trip.






That said, there are a few things I have decided to do. I am going to leave San Francisco, write a book about the trip, and I am going to get a professional coaching license. While the latter might not be what I want to do in the end, it will certainly help me find my calling. I know, this sounds like a lot but I knew all of this even before I left. 





Monday, July 18, 2016

The Last Day

Tomorrow will be my last day on the road. From Hawthorne, Nevada I am going to ride through Yosemite back home to San Francisco. Tomorrow night I will sleep in my own bed. The first time after two and a half months. And probably not wake up for a week, given how tired and exhausted I am.

The last two days I rode through Nevada. While beautiful, it does get boring after while. Windy mountain roads up and down to numerous passes alternate with 10-20 mile long stretches of straight roads from mountain to mountain across high plains. Hostile, yet beautiful scenery. And hardly a car let alone a house to be seen for miles and miles.









Or a gas station. So for the first time this morning I had to change my planned route because I would have run out of gas before the next gas station. So I rode on the loneliest road in America, Highway 50. And I loved it. And the bike, too. Even though the detour added 60 miles to the daily miles. But I'm already tired and exhausted, so 60 more miles don't really make a huge difference anymore. Bike and I celebrated a big number today: 44,444 miles! A schnapps number as we call it in German. I even managed to stop and take a picture at the side of the highway.




Saturday, July 16, 2016

Oh Utah!

Yesterday was, hands down, the most beautiful day I've had on my trip. After the day in the mountains I thought it couldn't get any more beautiful. Boy, was I wrong.

I started relatively early because of the heat and headed west on I70 for a few miles before I turned on highway 24 towards southwest. Through the desert with mountains and the long stretched road straight ahead. The rocks had gotten more red and looked more than what I had seen in Arizona. Stunning.



Apart from the heat that was getting worse, I would have been okay if the rest of the trip had gone through the same scenery. But it got even better. I reached the Capitol Reef National Park. Windy roads through stunning red cliffs and rocks left and right. Sometimes I felt inclined to duck my head and pull the throttle to avoid one of them falling on me. 






After a while I thought I had ended up on Mars somehow. This area of the state might not be easy to live in but it's definitely breathtaking to visit and ride through on the bike. And it got better still.
After almost 100 miles traveled which was half of the day's leg I turned on Highway 12 towards Bryce Canyon. And found myself going uphill on an even prettier road through a forest and views over the area I had just driven through. I was craning my head and finally reached this overlook.






I couldn't believe that I had just been in that desert and now in the alps. Within less than two hours. And it got better still. After lunch, I reached the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The road went along a ridge with unbelievable views on both sides. 



No photo nor words can appropriately describe what I saw and felt. I pulled over, got off my bike, sat down and cried.  And then I had to focus on not dying. The windy road on the ridge with deep drops on either side and steep downgrades had those black slippery stripes all over the pavement. Every time I crossed one I felt my bike slip a little. That explained the speed limit of 30 miles. Which I was happy to stick to on that road. So I didn't die. And I was able to enjoy the views. The priceless views. Another ride that made any inconvenience of this trip so worth it. Like not seeing my friends for months, living out of a tiny bag, sweating like crazy, the stiffness in my body. Who cares! 




And it kept getting better. When I arrived at my hotel I dropped my bag and continued to Bryce Canyon. Just another 90 miles on top of the 200 of the day. And worth it:




And if that wasn't enough, I ended the day with a run at sunset.




There might be all kinds of things people don't like about Utah. But the nature can't be it. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mountains And Desert

Obviously, 10,000 feet weren't enough, so I started my trip yesterday by going uphill towards Independence Pass. The bike worked hard but also seemed to enjoy the beautiful road along lakes and a creek as well as trees and impressive mountains.

At 12,000 feet I was pretty proud of myself until I saw a girl with a bicycle taking a selfie in front of the sign that showed the name of the pass, the elevation and stated that you were standing on the Continental Divide. Such a badass. And I saw a bunch more women cyclists coming up that mountain.

But well, I still think that I can be pretty proud of my trip. But more than that I'm happy and grateful to have been able to do it and for all the things I've seen and experienced. And people I've met. And it continued. These beautiful mountains and the road along the Colorado River combined with the bluest sky and clouds. Eventually, after only 60 miles but what felt like hours I arrived in Aspen. I've never been a fan of posh ski resorts but I must admit Aspen is pretty lovely. When I sat down to eat something I got approached by the waiter who asked me where I came riding from. When I told him about my trip I once again heard what I've heard a few times before when he said "You are living my dream!" Well, I can only recommend to everyone to do it themselves. Every single day I'm awed by what this country has to offer. There are not enough days in my life to see all of it. But at least I took a stab at it and have seen quite a bit. And it's so worth it.

After lunch I rode from Aspen to the I70 and from there west towards Green River in Utah: another 200 miles. By the time I reached the interstate, it had gotten significantly warmer. And it continued to do so. I wanted to stop in Grand Junction to get a cold drink, give my butt some rest and allow the bike to cool down a little. After what happened in Lubbock, I kept a close eye on the oil and ear on how she sounded, maybe a little too paranoidly so. But then I didn't stop and I thought it was only 100 more miles anyway so I just kept going. The scenery couldn't have been any more different from the morning. Huge desert plains with those typical table mountains and cliffs left and right. And once again, you could see the road stretch all the way to the horizon.

A few miles after I had crossed the border into Utah, I saw a huge bird flying along the interstate. Really low. First, I thought it was a vulture that was waiting for a gap in traffic to continue its feast on some roadkill. But then I got closer and the bird looked even bigger. And then I saw the eyes and the yellow beak of this huge and beautiful creature. A golden eagle. For a scary moment I thought, he was going to pick me up and carry me to his nest to feed his babies. "Crunchy German meat today, kids. Om nom." But then he turned and I was left with a warm feeling to have seen another one of these majestic birds from so close.

Fifty miles before I got to Green River I had a brief scare when I thought my bike had lost power. But after a short stop and oil check I restarted her and she got me all the way to my motel. Such a brave girl. I thought, the trip couldn't get any more beautiful after this day. High mountains and desert and rocks. Turned out, I was wrong.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rocky Mountain High

My final home stretch started today. Five more days of riding. Today I spent a relaxed morning with Melissa, who I met in New Orleans and who had kindly offered me to stay with her while she was in Denver for work. This is one of my favorite parts about this trip. To make friends. Not just the brief encounters you have but actual friends. Because the people who can really  understand and appreciate what I am doing are usually people I would like to be friends with. By now, I have more than a handful of people who I am staying in contact with. And would love to meet again sometime. 


After 100 miles of riding westwards and upwards I arrived in Leadville, a small and old town at about 10,200 feet elevation (3.200m). The ride was beautiful. The Rocky Mountains, a deep blue sky and lots of bright white clouds. I remembered the road from last year when I drove to Copper Mountain for the Ragnar Relay Race. http://thirteenthousandfeet.blogspot.com/2015/08/run-rockies.html?m=1. Back then I had wanted to come back to ride it on my motorcycle. And here I was. And I'm only a few miles in. A lot more beautiful roads along gorgeous and majestic mountains are ahead of me. All this with beautiful weather. Anything that concerns me, any worries, anger or sadness that are currently in my life just fade away when I'm on my bike, riding through beauty like that.

Now I'm taking it slow in this elevation after I struggled to carry my heavy bags up two narrow and steep flights of stairs only to end up in one of the creepiest hotel corridors since The Shining. 


Outside, however, I found this beautiful little town surrounded by mountains still patched with snow. 








Monday, July 11, 2016

One More Week

I have only one more week to go before I get home. On the one hand I am looking forward to going home. And to how it will feel when I drive down the street and arrive at my house. The moment when I know I made it. I did cross the country twice. I rode 10,000 miles (16.000km) in two and a half months on my old Ducati Monster. Through 17 states. Through rain, dry and humid heat. Across mountains and deserts. Only to arrive where I started. 

On the other hand, I'm a little sad that it'll be over soon. This trip that I had been looking forward to for such a long time. And coming home will mean that I will have to start making plans for what to do next. Find a job or go to school. Write a book. Decide whether to stay in San Francisco or leave. And if I decide to leave, where to go to?

I still have a week and a few more days of rest when I get back before addressing any of these. And about 1,500 miles to go. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bouldering

It's hot here, that's for sure. Nevertheless I do like Boulder a lot. I like how people walk and bike everywhere, which reminds me of home. And I'm glad that I never gave up looking over my shoulder before I make a right turn while riding my motorcycle. I like the hike and bike paths everywhere especially along the creek. And the creek itself. 100 degrees (40 Celsius) aren't as bad if you have some cold fresh water to jump into. Or just stick your feet or hands into. It's interesting that I don't even think of swimming anymore, every time I see a body of water or when it gets too hot outside. San Francisco hardly ever gets hot enough for you to have to cool down in a pool.


The city is small enough to walk everywhere and within minutes your in the mountains which makes it perfect for anyone who loves to be outdoors, run, hike, cycle, motorcycle, camp, etc. And in winter, all the skiing in the Rockies is right at your doorstep. I do have one complaint, though. Why do people here have to drown pasta in sauce?!?  


But of course, many people will want to live in a place like this. Especially people who love Drowned Pasta. And companies like Google and others have noticed this as well. So you can already see Teslas everywhere and the costs of living are on the rise. 





     Nederland. Just 20 minutes uphill.




Now I'm in Denver and about to check out for the weekend. I will continue my trip next Wednesday. And I've already planned each day until I get back to San Francisco. I have an estimated date of arrival! And I'm happy to know that I will be home in less than two weeks. But also a little scared because it means that I'll have to start figuring out what to do with my life next. Where to live and how to make a living. And I will have to adjust to normality again. Or do I? Who knows, maybe I'll be on the road again, soon. Or I'll enjoy a normal life. I will find out.