A rolling stone gathers no moss — Publilius Syrus
An old proverb meaning People who are always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares.
Quitting work and selling almost all of one’s worldly possessions is absolutely freeing. Moss, let alone roots are hard to grow when you are traveling by bicycle, although damp gear can quickly grow mildew.
We’ve been rolling for a while. It will be eight months at the end of November. At times, our wanderings were so slow, that one of our friends, patiently waiting for us to catch up, noted that if he moved any slower, his tent would sprout roots.
Recently, the rolling has become difficult as a psychological version of Newton’s First Law has taken effect.
I remember about six months into my England to Singapore bicycle trip, I started to yearn for some comfort and familiarity. It started to happen again leading up to the arrival in Guadalajara.
Staying at Casa Ciclista run by GDL en Bici became comfortable and started to feel like a “normal” life. It was enjoyable to get to know some fellow cyclists (Hiram, who we met earlier on the road, and Sean who unfortunately had his bicycle stolen when he arrived) as well as Bernardo and Jorge (thanks again!) and other members of GDL en Bici.
We became regulars at a coffee shop. Shop keepers began to recognize us. It felt like we were becoming part of a community.
I’ll be clear. I do not want my old life back. It is an odd feeling to simultaneously crave the constant stimulation of new people, places, sights, smells, sounds, and tastes while desiring the familiar and banal.
With a few exceptions, there is little I miss about my old life in Houston. There were a handful of people where I worked that made it tolerable. I miss meeting the guys from Beer Committee on Wednesday nights —I still have a Pavlovian response when Wednesday’s roll around. They are a solid group of individuals. It would be great to visit Poison Girl, have a beer and play pinball.
Being on the road, constantly on the move, almost makes me identify with the emotional and social ups and downs of whining rock stars’ road ballads, like Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” or Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive“. However, I’m not whingeing, life is good right now. However, traveling on a tour bus, eating catered meals and having groupies would not suck.
It was nice to take a break from life on the road and Casa Ciclista and Guadalajara were a magical combination. I could have stayed longer but Sarah tends to get itchy feet. We settled the matter in the only logical fashion — Ro-Sham-Bo.
We left on a public holiday, Día de la Revolución or Day of the Revolution, the anniversary of the 1910 start of the popular movement which led to the overthrow of a dictator.
We were pleasantly surprised that significant portions of roads throughout the city were blocked for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, boarders, etc. It was refreshing to see that that people, including whole families, were out using roads for recreation. This is a common occurrence on Sundays in the cities in addition to some public holidays.
Imagine a city, the size of Philadelphia, shutting down central north-south and east-west corridors of over 15 miles (~25 km) for six hours every Sunday and on public holidays so that people can exercise. The citizens of Philadelphia would be outraged! As one of the fattest cities in America, they have a reputation to defend.
The city gave way to some spectacular country side, a soothing balm to the sadness we felt leaving Guadalajara and Casa Ciclista. We camped on a bluff overlooking the highway, a spectacular, but poor substitute for the previous days’ loft we called home.