Sometimes we are just incredibly lucky. I don’t even know how to begin putting our few days with the Canfields into words nor can I believe our luck of meeting people like that.
As soon as we arrive at their house in Cairns I feel welcome and very very comfortable. Les, Mandy and their two daughters Kady and Erin have been bicycle touring and backpacking themselves and thus just completely understand what touring cyclists need.
In the matter of a few minutes our immediate needs like shower, place to sleep and storage for our many things, food and drinks are sorted out. And on top of that Les already organized cardboard boxes to pack our bicycles for the flight which is a big load off our mind.
And over the next few days he generously offers to drive us around to get various things and even helps us clean and maintain the bikes. So our big to do list shrinks rapidly and we actually have some time to rest and prepare for the next leg of our trip.
But mostly we enjoy our time being home with family. Because that’s just what it feels like.Together with Pietr and Natalia (two more cyclists just starting their Australian leg) we take turns cooking meals…
we eat together, explore trails around Cairns…
and enjoy the views.
I feel comfortable to a degree that constitutes being home. There is something about being able to be myself entirely without having to go through a lengthy getting to know each other process that is quite rare during life on the road. I’m not even entirely conscious of how much it feels like home – it hits me only a few days later when I feel severe bouts of homesickness after getting to Indonesia. I miss that family and our time together. I miss the warmth, the generosity and being with the people I like.
And yet the gift of being home is not the only one we received in those few days. As mentioned before the Canfields backpacked and bike toured together as a family for several months each. Of course I knew that some families did that but it never really registered. So talking to Les, Mandy, Kady and Erin about their experiences was really fantastic. Mandy and Les shared their ideas and motivations behind their travels and also talked about home schooling their kids. And Kady and Erin told us how much they appreciated the family time. And that got me thinking about travelling and having kids and how all of that might work together. I started reading about home schooling and found out that it is not allowed in Germany but that some people still fight for it and do it anyway.
I know that having kids and having a family is something that can only be planned to a certain degree which probably means not much. But I would like to question if having a family should be equivalent to settling down. And I would like to challenge the view that the existing school system in places like Germany should be seen as the only possibility of getting a good education.
One thing that gives our travels a direction is the “cycling home” part. As interesting our life is and as much as I like cycle touring, at some point in the future I want to be home again. I want to be with family and friends and I want to be in one place for a while.
And the other part consists of the “wandering thoughts”. That means new ideas, challenging old ideas and random reflections on happenings on life on the move. And of course the two are connected: We get ideas because of the way we travel and we might change our life and our way of seeing the concept of “home” because of inspirations we get along the road.
And sometimes, if we are lucky, we might find home on the road. In Cairns we did, for sure.