*being a non-native English speaker, this article may have language mistakes. If you find obviously ones, that should be clarified, please, give me a comment. Many thanks.
This is the fourth of 21 articles about my Empathy Cycling Tour in August 2019. I choose a subject for each day of my journey to share things I learned or insights I gained and that I find worthful to share.
In this context, I have asked myself many questions on my journey. Some of them were, for example, the following:
- What’s my favourite type of travel?
- What is important to me on a journey?
- What should a journey be like?
- Where do I want to go?
- Where do I definitely not want to go?
So let me take you as my copilot on this posting. Accompany me on a philosophical journey in the Netherlands, along the coast via Haarlem to Amsterdam.
One of the big advantages of waking up directly on the beach in the morning is that you can jump straight into the water. So the morning on the fourth day of my trip was definitely not unplanned. The first thing I wanted to do on that day was swimming. My two travel companions Martin and Chris lay this morning still in their sleeping bags. It wasn’t really early anymore, and the first joggers were already running along the beach. Swimming in the morning continues to be one of my favourite actions on journeys.
When I returned to the camp, Chris briefly expressed his respect for my action and then we started right away. Both already packed their things, and we decided to ride together for a while.
Paths that split meet and collide
In this combination, we went ahead quickly, and the three of us rushed the first kilometres along the coast. Actually, it was quite contrary to my previous approach of cycling, and I regretted it a bit later because I liked the dune landscapes a lot, but somehow I let myself be taken a little bit by the group pressure.
Supplied and digressed
So I had a pleasant distraction, and it was to be followed by another one when I met a young lady cycling with a pony on a leash. I had never seen anything like this before and asked her kindly to capture that picture.
Following the distractions of my journey, back to the theme of this article: Philosophy on the bike. The first time I had this thought was on another journey last year to Stonehenge.
One of my most persuasive arguments for cycling is the time you spend alone with yourself. It creates a lot of time for countless thoughts. Besides, the movement stimulates, or as an acquaintance recently stated on the telephone:
“It gets the blood pumping and provides oxygen into your pate.”A Friend
Well, that sounds like a positive something to me.
What is a philosopher?
I certainly have no intention of giving the impression that I want to pretend to be a philosopher, though isn’t everyone somehow a philosopher?
A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term “philosopher” comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning “lover of wisdom”.
Well, maybe not everybody tries to fathom everything, but during the conversations I had on my bike trip, I already discovered again that everybody deals with the meaning of life in his own way. It is perhaps our innermost urge.
Philosophy of the traveller
There is a trend at the moment to share quotes from famous people everywhere. Whether on social channels, in blogs or even most of the recent books I read were full of them. What I find noticeable about this is that many of those often-quoted wisdom perceptions about life can also be applied to a journey. Though, might it be the other way around?
Perhaps it is not the journey that inspires wisdom, but it only makes visible what we have already learned in life. So why shouldn’t we all take much more time for it and let our inner philosopher be free when we travel?
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.~ Lao Tzu
I met a wonderful person in Amsterdam who has told me a statement that is not any less unusual and impressive than the person for me. I’m referring to Cees Van Soestbergen, a woodcarver and shipbuilder, who I mentioned in the article Reflections on my journey. I want to quote him again because I wish what he said to everyone.
“I haven’t regretted a single day in my career.”Cees Van Soestbergen, woodcarver and shipbuilder from Amsterdam
What are your thoughts on that sentence? Take a moment for it before you continue reading. The question and perhaps the philosophy underlying it is for me: How can everyone achieve this? It’s really a rare thing to hear.
Many people constantly looking for another job. Be it to be better paid, get rid of disliked colleagues, or other things they don’t like in their professional life, or even in other life areas. If you ask what they like, they just don’t know, or hardly can remember. And this was for a long time in my life the same. We look for places where everything will be better and hope by then everything should finally be good. But what if we are already there now?
What if we walk, drive, and do not travel anymore in order to have arrived somewhere, but do so to find out that the place we are looking for is not a village, not a city, not a certain community, but the whole planet, perhaps even the whole universe we are already surrounded by?
A Parade of Quotations
I like quotes from others, but I notice that people often look for wisdom, especially in other people, primarily in their idols, rather than in themselves. But in the end, everyone will find it on their own journey, so what wisdom emerged from you?
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”Albert Einstein
“The most dangerous worldviews are the worldviews of those who have never viewed the world.”Alexander von Humboldt
Even if you never travel the world, life as such is already a journey, and so there are many quotations about it, including the following from the musician Billy Idol.
Life is a journey. Don’t take too much luggage with you.Billy Idol
I made my bicycle trip primarily with the desire to travel slowly, and of course, there is also a quotation that I would like to end today’s story with.
Only a slow journey is a journey.Afrikan proverb
Please write me a comment below this artice about your very own personal travel wisdom.
Summary of the bike ride on day 4 – Highlights
The following section is a short entry about the route I travelled, about further conversations that were not explained in detail in the article and just as a bonus.
- Route of the day approx. 90 miles along Meijendel – Haarlem – Amsterdam.
- I went swimming in the morning (that reminds me, I didn’t even mention that I already did that on the third day).
- Collective tour with Martin and Chris and good-bye.
- Beautiful canals Dune Landscape Coepelduynen Meijendel Park Nationaal Park Zuid – Kennemerland empathy for cyclists -Water supply on the trail there can be more of that (and everyone can contribute to it).
- Coincidently another coffee with Anja.
- Encounter with Mirte and Zafira the Pony on the lead.
- The city of bicycles – Signs of empathy for cyclists like:
- Free-of-charge ferry for cyclistsA “Time to wait” display at traffic lightsKiss & Ride Sign – haven’t heard about that before, but sounds cuteConversation with Cees Van Soestbergen in the Buurtboerderij ‘Ons Genoegen’ (‘Our Pleasure’ Neighbourhood Farm), a place for mindfulness and relaxation. We talked about:WanderjahreHis experience in wood carving and ship buildingand exchanged thoughts about the balance between physical and mind work
- The city of bicycles – Signs of empathy for cyclists like:
- Not such a nice “highlight”: On the search for a place for wild camping, I cycled through an actually pretty area, but it was characterized by cattle breeding. In this area, I met several times cattle that were going to die. Apparently, they were left there, because they don’t give the owners anything anymore. In another report, I will look into the topic again later on.
- Overnight stay on a campsite:
- I had some trouble on this evening to find a suitable place for an overnight stay. Eventually couldn’t find a suitable place for wild camping and went to a campsite.It was quite noisy, tourists everywhere. After all, part of the music was quite good, and I was exhausted enough to sleep fast anyay.