After three weeks on the road, the longest time I have ever spent on a bike, I have seen the practical effects of getting up off my ass and doing something. That Goethe quote, “the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred” has travelled around with me all my life. It is only now, on this remarkable adventure, that I have really experienced it for the first time. There are many definitions of “providence,” but the one I choose to use to describe the incredible (literally) experiences of the past few weeks is “a manifestation of divine care or direction.” Not that I think there is a God sitting in the clouds directing me, I don’t. What I do believe is there is a universal energy within us and all around us – everywhere and in everything – and when we connect with it, we are “in the flow.” It feels like I am in harmony with the universe instead of at odds with it.
Take Bonnievale for example: We had rolled into town quite late the previous evening and found a B&B (we try and avoid them because they are too expensive for us). Next morning, after shopping for new pedals for Sven, we stop off at Gecko Printing along the main street and meet the wonderful Chantel. She is so enthralled with what we are doing that she insists on buying us breakfast at Relish. So we go to the restaurant which is two houses away, and walk into the garden and see a fruit tree and have a conversation about what kind of tree it is. A woman pipes up from one of the tables that it is an apricot tree. This leads to a conversation, which leads to us joining them at their table, which leads to us not leaving Bonnievale that day. We are invited to their riverside cottage where Sven canoes in the river and I watch the birds, and we joined them for a braai (veggies for us) and spent the night there. Two new instant friends. Beautiful.
Or what about the Brandrivier episode: We left Magic Mountains Retreat (a future blog) at about 1pm and cycled along a dirt road to Brandrivier, a tiny one-horse town without a horse. It was about 3h30 when we arrived there and we thought we’d better find a farmer to ask how far it was to Langberg, the next town. We knocked on Jaco Nel’s door and asked him. Turns out there is no such town! So we ask him if he knows a place we can camp, because it will take us a day to ride to Van Wyksdorp, the actual next town. He says yes, and we climb into his bakkie and he drives us up the road a few k’s to this incredible, solitary farmhouse. His family home, where no one lives any more, becomes our home for the night.
Third example: While riding along the road to Van Wyksdorp the next day, we encounter two cars stopped at roadblock set up for road resurfacing. I read the words “Ricky’s Drift. A Chemical Free Place” on the side of the bakkie. We chat to the man in the bakkie, who turns out to be Ricky, and his partner Louise, in the front car. They are intrigued by our outfits and our story about cycling to Ethiopia that they insist on hosting us at their cottage in Van Wyksdorp. Ricky is a South African, recently returned from living in Australia for about the past three decades. He has Lyme Disease and needs to live in a completely chemical free environment. He is a lovely guy and has an awesome smallholding with an organic garden and guest accommodation just outside of Van Wyksdorp, a cute little town, set in incredibly beautiful surroundings. After dinner and breakfast with Ricky and Louise, we had gained two more friends and once again been the willing recipients of kind hospitality. I even got to have coffee with almond milk! Anyone who knows me, know that this is a treat beyond words.
Things have gone wrong along the way… we have had punctures, a broken pedal, bolts falling off the bike. We have had fights as we learn how to be with each other for 24 hours each day. All these things just highlight to me how important it is to try to stay as conscious as possible and allow the flow to happen.
I also need to say thank you so much to everyone who has shown us kindness along the way. In three short weeks there are already too many to mention. In return, we hope that we have inspired you, in some way or another.
We just have to stay in the flow all the way to Ethiopia and back.