Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Off the coast of Happy, heading toward Bliss.

Once again, RRSP season came – and went – securing my bed in the government assisted nursing home.

And I don't care.

I am currently between the Croatian islands of Vis and some other island I cannot spell, nor afford. It is just past 9 am, and I think it is Wednesday.

But again, I don't care.

It is hard to explain the happiness one feels surrounded by this much beauty, fun people who were merely strangers a few days ago, and a happy kid – no longer a reluctant traveler after a few days of cycling and living on a luxury yacht.

Take for instance this morning. After a few tippy yoga moves on the upper deck – breakfast was a United Nations of fresh yogurt, plum jam, kiwis, tomatoes, cheese, strawberries, crusty bread and liverwurst – with a little Nesquik cereal the Little Bastard found in the local market. Broken English, German, Aussie laughter, some great 'Monty Python meets Rumpole' British humour, with a cup of coffee or two to wash it all down. Islands drifting by. The occasional porpoise. Sunshine.


Yesterday we cycled on the island of Vis, only recently opened to tourists after several years of military occupation. Tito (smart fella) hid from Hitler on Vis. I hid from reality, although the first 10 kms were a test – an uphill battle after a morning of heaving seas and stomachs – and there was a bitchy head wind messing with my mind. I wanted to turn back to the boat, and have Robert pour me a glass of wine. What the fuck was I doing out here? My knees were sore. My ass was sore. I felt old.

Then I thought of my friend battling cancer back home. She would love to be here – and we'd be laughing, and pushing each other up the hill. Her laughter rang in my head. That amazing, throaty, mischievous laugh. And, so, with that laugh in my heart, I kept pedaling.

Like Dori, the annoying fish played by Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo, I just kept swimmin'... all the way to the top, where the island did a big "Ta da!" – opening up the curtains to a 5 km ride downhill into a sleepy seaside fishing village, and a pistachio gelato. Or maybe lemon. Or maybe blueberry.

Standing up on the pedals like a drunk 5-year old, I succumbed to gravity, letting it pull me toward the sea. Ignoring the brakes, and leaning into the first corner – my bicycle bell suddenly started ringing itself. Brrrrrring! Another corner. Brrriiiiiiiiiiiiing! All the way down to the village – past churches, and vineyards, and yawning cats – my bell was laughing at me. With me. For me.

For her.

At the bottom, the Little Bastard was already tucking in to 3 scoops of chocolate gelato, and he was smiling. Or maybe he was laughing.

It didn't matter.

The boat is pulling in to our island of the day. 50 kms ahead with a 9 km climb before lunch. A late lunch hopefully.

Before the nursing home, there is Tuscan Tennis. And a Bhutan trek. Maybe a well-earned stomach bug or two in India. Skipping along the Great Wall. A safari? Prague. And tomorrow.

Just keep swimmin' and the bells will ring themselves.