Upon waking on one particular, and rather dreary, mid-autumn day (in 2017), I was hit with an undeniably powerful compulsion to ride my bike from my home in Turku, Finland to Portugal, my other home-away-from-home. But why?
Well, to put a long story short, I had reached the end of a significant phase in my life, and I was sans any clue as to what I was supposed to do next. In other words, my newly found status in the world was not something that I’d planned on. However, after examining (and re-examining many times!) all the signs that had been there during the past few years, but maybe hidden in plain view, the end of that path was as inevitable as the night following the day. In hindsight, there had been plenty of time to prepare for the transition, but I simply had not. Instead, I had favoured putting the associated, very painful issues on ice, so to speak. As a result, when reality finally came knocking, I was left staring forward into virtual emptiness.
On that fateful fall morning, my heart had decided that now was the time to begin filling the gaping wound with an epic effort of endurance, one as much mental as physical. Though I was not at all sure what was to come, my hope was that it would grace me with the chance for me to heal, and to become whole again. So, after only a two week long period of preparation, I set-out on my 4220km long journey of self-discovery, which would see me reach my destination of Viana do Castelo after 55 days on the road.
During this long roll, I saw amazing places, and I was also blessed to meet so many wonderful people, who helped me keep moving forwards, literally and figuratively; and in ways that I simply can’t clearly describe in words.. I fought against the environmental elements as Europe headed into winter. Safe to safe, I was challenged on the daily, and I suffered. However, when I finally learned how to work with the weather and my surroundings,, I began to smile and laugh a lot, almost like a maniac, at just how amazing it felt to be alive and to experience everything that I was putting myself through; and that was the point, all of this was because of my own decisions – ultimate freedom of choice. At times, the rush of joy was so wonderful that I could barely contain it. On occasion, I also wept deeply, both in happiness and sadness, as the many past experiences, memories and emotions – the good, bad and ugly – bubbled up to the surface of my awareness as a result of the relentless daily physical ground as I worked my way south to (hopefully) a new and better life.
This entire journey is made up of 5 distinct phases, to which I have given the following names: Penance, The Escape, The Escape, Journeyman, Buen Camino, and Homecoming. Each has its own theme and story to tell about my journey of awakening and understanding – or, perhaps more exactly, my rebirth; and for each, I have also created separate, more detailed videos.
I hope you enjoy this Life on the Run ‘Best of Cycling Tours’ compilation video of my Finland to Portugal cycling tour, and that it may inspire you to also get out there and explore this amazing world … and to provide a vehicle for your own personal healing, should that be something you need, just as I did.