Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amsterdam - Holland

--Logo abaixo há uma versão em português--

At the end of 2008 a conflict in the Middle East received a huge amount of media coverage, this made me realize that all the terminology related to the region had always confused me: I used to listen to the news, never knowing whether the terms being used were political, religious, or historical references. So I decided to do something about it and between Christmas and New Year I started researching as much as I could about the Middle East.

This led to me being able to fully understand what I was hearing on the news, as well as falling in love with the culture of the region. I decided that no matter what, one day I would visit the Middle East. However, knowing that sometimes plans and dreams are just blown away by the wind, I decided to set a date and May 2013 was established as the beginning of my trip.

Throughout the year of 2009 I kept the conviction that this trip would happen, but it changed completely from its first format. At first this trip was going to be a backpacking through the Middle East, then Africa was also included, and so I would travel through the Middle East, then visit Africa and finally come back to Europe.

Then came an event which completely changed my plans. I used to talk to people about my trip and one day, I was talking about it with a nice lady that I worked for, "mevrouw" Naomi. She said she had also had an adventure when she was young: she went from Holland to Finland by bike. She then showed me some black and white pictures of her trip which included camping, fishing, and cycling dozens of kilometers per day.

For me that was just wonderful but at the same time too crazy.

How could I travel by bike, if I'm not a huge bike fan, I have no physical preparation, and maybe I'm not that crazy? All these questions started to arise but the idea of experiencing something that amazing started to speak louder: "If a normal lady can be as crazy as it needs to be, so can I".

When it comes to bikes Dutch people differ a lot from Brazilians. Bikes are just part of their lives, actually they seem to be part of their bodies. In Brazil cycling isn't that popular, maybe because of the weather, topography, or lack of infrastructure, so the idea of bicycle touring is unthinkable there.

“Really?” That was what I thought until I found the amazing book "No Guidão da Liberdade" (something like: On the handlebars of freedom) written by a Brazilian guy who took 3 and a half years to travel all around the world. Antonio Olinto's book has inspired many people to overcome their fear and set off to live the dream of having the wonderful adventures and experiences he describes in his book.

So I became fascinated by the idea of traveling by bike and that was how my 2013 backpacking trip became a bike tour that will take me back to my beloved Brazil.

With the kind help from my new friend Olinto in these last few months, as well as other nice people that have crossed my path, I've been able to learn a lot and to prepare this trip. Of course, there is no preparation that can replace learning through experience, and that's what I'm counting on, even though I don't feel ready (or crazy enough) at the moment, I hope to be improving day by day.

My major goals for this adventure are: to learn as much as possible from this experience, to get to know new people and cultures, and of course to visit places I've always wanted to go.

Life is what we make it, and sometimes we lose so much just because of the fear that prevents us from trying.

I really want to have the most amazing experience of my life, and even though I have my fears, ghosts, and limitations I’m convinced I have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

What makes me glad is that there are so many people supporting me, sending me their positive energy and hoping that I succeed in this trip. Loneliness definitely won’t be a problem either, I have my family, my friends and a lot of people traveling with me via the internet, and of course God’s companionship along the way.

So today I start to live a new life with my bike, my tent, and a new meaning of the word freedom, and what doesn't get written on this blog, I promise to tell you in details when we meet again, in this life or in the next...