From Groningen and back again

Before and during my journey a lot of people said, that they admire it and have respect for my trip. I always shrugged my shoulders and tried in my best English that it’s all not that big a deal.

And I still think it is. In the morning I got up, packed my sleeping bag and air mattress, boiled water for my morning coffee and poured the rest in my thermos for my afternoon coffee. In the meanwhile I ate a slice of bread or some yoghurt with cruesli. Then I packed it all and broke down my tent. I put everything on the bike and was back on the road again. Cycled a couple of kilometers, had a break, cycled some more, another break. In the afternoon I filled up my waterbottles, bought some food and sought a place to camp. Set up my tent, pumped up my mattrass and unrolled my sleeping bag, cooked my five star restaurant worthy meal, had a tea, smoked a pipe, wrote in my diary, read some and went to sleep. The next day was quite the same. The day after that as well, and the day after the same ritual again. Day in day out, week in week out. There is really nothing to it.
I got the reaction: ‘I couldn’t do it’ as well a lot. That’s bullocks, everybody can do it. You just have to want to do it. I mean, I sat all day and just peddled a bit. Enjoyed the scenery, when I was lucky I had a little chat with someone. Thought about how to solve the world problems, philosophized about my own life or just figured out a plot for a new story to write while listening to some music.


Being on the road is a lot easier and more simple than what I am facing now that I am back again. I have to find a job, keep (and enjoy) it, find a place to live (since I am officially homeless, because I am unregistered), switch my insurance, pay my family a visit etcetera, etcetera. And that in a country I have left a few years ago to go live in Denmark, since I was and still fed up with The Netherlands. It’s overcrowded, people are really fixed on career and earning money (Danes are much more relaxed), it’s overregulated, it’s so tedious flat etcetera, etcetera.
When I rode through Germany this week I just wanted to go immer gerade aus in order to be ‘home’ again. There was not a thought about the country I dislike. Therefore I made longer days than usual. It’s stupid in a way. What does one or two days matter on such a trip (and my girlfriend won’t be home till next Saturday!)? It’s pure psychological. A few days ago I talked to a British cyclist living in France about going homewards. He has done a trip that took two years and on the last day he cycled 260 kilometers just to be home. You can reason with yourself in all rationality, but you just can’t convince yourself to slow down, to be a day more on the road. You just want to be home. I did enjoy cycling through Germany – it’s so damn easy with all the good cycle paths and the fact I speak the language – but I couldn’t stop thinking about being back again.
But when I got really close to The Netherlands yesterday after leaving the city of Leer I did felt a reluctance crossing the border. It felt almost a bit smothering. My mood went way down, I wanted to crush it under my tyres. At that moment I couldn’t stop thinking about being back again in the country I’m so tired of. Why not another little detour? For example Spain or Greece. Silly thoughts, I kept on cycling in westbound direction. The very depressing outskirts of the province of Groningen didn’t help in any way.
But again a switch turned all of a sudden! Coming closer to the city of Groningen did help in any way! It was like the clouds drove from my head into the sky, because my head cleared and the weather turned worse.

I had to wait a few hours, before I could pick up the key in order to get into my girlfriend’s room, where I can stay for the time being. My cousin works in Groningen, so he helped me waiting by drinking a beer on a terrace (very noble of him). Sitting there and seeing all those people bustling along, while we chatted and laughed, it was like I’ve never been away at all. In the weekend I plan to pay my parents a visit. There I can air my tent and clean out the camping stuff, show them the photographs and have a coffee. I plan on doing some writing next week, pay some friends a visit and before I know she’ll be back again. So, in short I guess it’s actually not that bad being back again…


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