Successive disappointments of my meetings through the HelpX network and the impossibility of working on my website easily make me ask myself many questions … I am in the midst of doubts and questioned about this way of traveling actual …
I asked myself two main questions: the first concerns HelpX. I paid the subscription and yet I wonder if it’s worth I insist to seek a place to learn Spanish while my usual way of doing by simply going to the contact of the population has always worked well ? The second question is: Don’t I set the bar too high (as often in my utopian character) trying to keep a website in 3 languages while I’m already not able to write a monthly article in french? I have already several months behind in my writings.
Ruud, an exiled Belgian, tried in vain for a whole day to put me in contact with Alpajurra Spanish family. This day will allow me to ask me the right questions and make the right decisions.
In parallel, I search in vain for someone who can help me through CouchSurfing or Warmshower to go to Granada as people said to me that’s should be a nice experience. Mainly student and tourist city, after two months of research, I did n’t succeeded.
When nothing wants to turn round, there are only two solutions … advance alone and miss things on the way things or be patient and hope that luck turns. I often alternates between these two ways of doing things.
I get time, strong Spanish heat haven’t yet arrived. So this time to reflect a bit and put a maximum of luck on my side, I decided to slow the pace of my journey, racking my brains in all directions to find a solution to my false problems.
Still, without roof, I must hit the Road …
I leave in the rain, thinking that I’ve seen enough these mountains who have brought me nothing of what I had hoped, if not the pleasure and pride to have passed this difficulty “easily”. I’m more physically fit. Forget the daily pain of last years, my body regain most of his abilities.
“ I was seized with a deep love for my body helped me in this crazy adventure …”, said Paulo Coelho on the way to Compostela.
I don’t have any idea of the direction to take to continue whereas I was more or less imagined a route and that I was in the times of the seasons to avoid the heat of Andalusia. How would I manage to return to a virtuous spiral ?
That day I went up on the bike aimlessly, it was raining by intermittent. I wasn’t riding in the rain for a long time. I had sore on the legs and the road climb a lot. After only 20 kilometers as I had no head to pedaling, the solution would suddenly appear before me: the village of Talara in the Lecrin Valley. Without knowing it yet, 30 km before Granada, this village without apparent peculiarity will welcome me with open arms.
And the sun came back as I like to say so often !!!
It’s only 2 o clock pm when I cross Talara. I fill my bottles at the fountain, and I’m continue to stop me again 2 kilometers further. I had already taken 100 meters of additional altitude. A new climb which I couldn’t see the summit stood before me and did not want to go any further.
If I stopped, it’s because a huge 3-storey house surrounded by olive trees bordering the road. It seems abandoned. I discreetly round the property. I get lost in the maze of rooms so their number is important. The inner garden is completely in the shade under a huge pine tree practically lying on the house with the weight of years. I quickly look around to avoid drawing attention to this busy road. I need to find a way to enter with the bike. A path behind the house gives access to the garden.
The bike is now safe from prying eyes. After further inspection of the premises, I spot a portion of the house large enough to accommodate me and hide the bike inside. A nearby patio, part of which is under protect for the rain even allow me to start a fire without smoke throughout the house. I quickly decided to settle here few days to think …
Instantly, I build a table and a chair and a small oven to cook and keep me warm. In April, the temperature is nice now but some days and nights are cold and wet. Big storms powerfully resonant in the mountains sometimes erupt suddenly. The wind comes from all over the house without windows. The Lecrin Valley is a perfect corridor for that strong winds create. The sea is a few dozen kilometers to the south. Granada also but in altitude and in the north. In the middle, the village of Talara and this valley suffers constantly of the battering of the wind that can change of direction several times a day depending of the differences of pressure between sea and mountain … The day after I arrived, a powerful wind comes, almost ready to make me crazy not ceasing to blow day and night during for 4 days. I’m happy to be able to shelter me a little bit in the house for few days. I descend to the village …
I go in search of a small store to refuel, but mostly looking for a library where can I work. The village looks peaceful and full of life at a time.
This is the day when I discover the Guadalinfo network established among others by the Junta de Andalucía in 2008. In order to provide people with access to computer equipment and internet, Andalusia has set up large-scale network that can be found in almost every village. A place dedicated or libraries, informatic centers often have a dozen fast computers with internet access just as powerful. Equipped with many computers, the Guadalinfo of Talara allows use internet every afternoon without time limitation from Monday to Saturday (other Guadalinfo are even open all day until 21h) … I don’t believe my ears .
O miracle !!! I now have a house, a nearby village to supply me with water and food and a computer center to catch up my late writing.
I lost my bike sight for quite some time. Despite the apparent tranquility of the village, I always stay vigilant, and the bike out of my sight, I don’t dare to work instantly. Outside, I look around to find a place to put my bike in a safety place.
Joaquin then passes in the front of me in the small street from the school where there is also the library, gym, etc … I calls him and asks if he lives in the street. Yes. I ask him if he would keep my bike while I work. Yes again … I still can’t believe it … The fate offer me in a second lal the items I need. on my way
The chances of this happening was below zero ….
I leave my bike in his home and go to work a few hours on internet. I have a lot of administrative work late and before to be able to continue to write new articles, it will take me some time.
I repeat the process two or three consecutive days continuing to look for another solution to secure the bike because this situation can’t last forever. This family, as nice as them, will eventually get tired of seeing me every day. We all love our quiet lives even though we like them intersect randomly for the happiness of all.
At night and during Guadalinfo closing hours, I go back to “my” abandoned house to cleaning and gradually improving my setup and attempting to expand a little bit my living space. Gradually, a bedroom and a small kitchen are taking shape and my stock of wood that I get around is growing.
I take gradually the temperature of the surroundings, observing the comings and goings. The house is planted among olive trees and some agricultural workers come to work on the upper terraces. I learned over the years to conceal me. I can be the shadow of a tree or a ghost in the middle of the population despite the bike that greatly attracts attention. The decision whether or not to show me is mine. So, be discreet is the only thing I have to be careful if I wish to continue to use this house without problem with the almost non-existent neighbor.
Dogs of small business over the house, smell myself since a long time. We can do nothing to conceal, they are always on alert. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, they bark much of the night.
The large brick factory in the front of the house is noisily day and night, and trucks coming in and out wake me up the first few nights.
To believe the papers littering the floor of the cellar, this house should belong to a lawyer, where its large size. This will be confirmed to me by two ghost hunters who, one morning, appear in the garden to take some photos to see the evolution of the house since their last night spent here looking for the slightest sign of supernatural life. With the incessant cold air currents that rush in the house, they have probably been quick to find a presence fantomastique …
Contrary to what one might think, my days are full. Would it than cooking in wood fires, with a poor quality wood, take me a lot of the time.
Slowly, a routine sets up and shortly before 4 o clock pm, I mounted the bike down to the village. While descending, without pedaling, it takes me 3 minutes between the house and the Guadalinfo where I work every day. Knowing that I have a place to sleep, no need to look to pitch the tent, and I can afford to go into the darkness just before the night.Ainsi, slowly catching up my delay of writing since February . I work on my site, if you don’t had conscience, take a long time to maintain. Preferring always carry my equipment with me, people of the village saw me coming every day with loaded bike. They are beginning to recognize me, I must say that a bike like mine in a village of 500 people has not gone unnoticed.
Day by day, they question me and get to know me and understand that I would no be a problem and then begin to help me. No fooled, they suspect that I sleep somewhere and hide me in the mountains during the night and the rest of the day when they don’t see me. But they are no more curious … Only 3 people in whom I trust know my secret. These are the people who help me and with whom I have real discussions. There was first the Navarro family who kept my bike the first few days, then Miguel, the concierge at the Casa Cultura which now secures my bike every day in closed rooms which only him have the key. It also gives me hot showers galore as regularly as possible in the locker room of the small synthetic soccer field. A Belgian couple also knows the house and they help me washing my clothes when I need it. This small village that leads to Granada is very friendly and welcomed me with open arms.
You have to understand something fundamental to imagine the situation I currently live.
When traveling, it’s virtually impossible to have on hand what you need at the moment. Of course, if you live in big cities where all material things and practices are more easily if one has the habit of running to the store, buy, or pay all the services needed everything is much easier and faster. I don’t have this consumption philosophy.
So every day, I never have what I need when I need it.
Thus patience is learned very quickly. The luck factor is also very important. The probability of being in the right place at the right time is often very low. I learned over the years to know cause lucky.
Just as it’s very easy to buy, recycle or get the help of someone, requires much more time. But most of the time, some months or years later, one day fall in your hands what you need while you aren’t more thinking about it. Thus, we also learn quickly to live without many things and we realize that they are useless and we became inventive to find a solution for every thing have a multiple use.
Good things come to those who wait …
So, you better understand that this abandoned house in the village specifically, with the right people who live there normally would be impossible … this should never have happened, and yet …
When we act with the heart and the real will (not only hope) of a better World, it often give you back what you are offering to him …
For several years, so this is the first time that I find in the same place everything I need at the exact moment when I need it. A place to live quietly for cooking over a wood fire and sleep for free, a place to secure my bike while I work, a small grocery store and a fountain where I refuels me water every evenings, a place to work effectively on a good computer and more people who help me to shower and wash my clothes … What could be better ?
But remember, I didn’t really ever talked about the initial problem: buy a computer to write my articles quietly during my free time … It’s coming !!!
This is exactly where the virtuous circle loop. One day at the beginning of my bike trips, I became ill in heavy summer heat. While crossing the German border, an amazing Polish family took me in as one of their at home for two weeks, taking care of me since I feel better.
In the middle of the forest where I started looking to Tai Chi to improve flexibility and fluidity of the movements of my body, lost in my accident, the place was perfect for rest after a stealthy transition to local hospital. We are always kept in touch. The day I left full of emotions, this family had wanted to give me the little netbook computer, ideal for travel, they had lent me during the whole my stay to talk with my family worried. I didn’t accepted at the time and, especially because I had no waterproof protection for this computer. I wouldn’t neither be dependant of the electricity and spend my evenings in the tent in front of a screen. I am not living outside for that said I …
As they say, there are only idiots don’t change their minds !!!
I recently remembered this detail that had me deeply moved as their generosity had seemed disproportionate.
I hardly have any technical knowledge about computers, and it’s difficult to make a choice as the offer is large and varied. Also, I lack time and don’t want really interest on it, and new and powerful computers can reach exorbitant prices. Weight is also an important part … my bike is already loaded enough not to add me three kilos on the luggage rack.
I contact Agnieszka, my Polish friend, to see if his family still has that computer, and if the offer still stands. I remember that their computer was small and working well, so why not buy them. To begin to see how to travel well, a second-hand computer seems more wise to me.
My friend quickly answer to me positively … except for one thing: I’m offering them several times to send them money, my question will always remain unanswered.
Less than a week later, without any request for justification, the computer was cardboard and towards Spain. Joaquin has secured my bike the first days of my arrival in the village lends me his address to receive the parcel.
Whoever says that the Spaniards dont like French has never seen me live in the village of Talara in harmony with its population.
Whoever says that Jehovah’s Witnesses are all boring crooks never met the Biosacki family.
So here I am the proud owner of a tiny computer that fits everywhere in my luggage home-made, hoping that this will really allow me to work effectively. It goes without saying that I will now be depandant of electricity and the problems of influential to transporting a computer (stress to carry expensive equipment, the need to conceal or move constantly with to avoid possible theft, need take lots of precautions regarding protection against shock and weather and outdoor living …).
In short, what additional problems to adapt myself to the modern world …
After receiving the computer, I configures a bit to suit my way of working, and in parallel, I continue to go daily to the village Guadalinfo to load and work on more than the netbook screen. This lasts for weeks. Although it cold there, I feel good in this house. This gives me some rest and various activities usually without much cycling.
I like to learn, understand, be integrate a little bit, discover a part country deeper without flying over, so all this time, the weekend, I gonna to explore the beautiful Lecrin Valley.
I discover the waterfall and medicinal waters of Durcal, Padul lagoons, the Embalse (lake dam) of Beznar where I camped and fishing. I also gonna to the Orange’s party and another popular meeting in Talara that particularly interests me because a Tai Chi Association comes to make a exibition.
At the end of their presentation, the audience is not interested, Fernando, 4th Dan Master of Kung Fu, Tai Chi, etc … speaks of an open and free weekly session of Chi Kung and meditation in common in its center in Granada. That interests me enormously. This is how I gonna to meet him naturally. Luck put in my way this master, two years after thinking learn Tai Chi. This is proof that the patience always ends up being rewarded. Lucky I am and I’ll finally be able to learn the martial art fundamentally beneficial for the human body and mind … Fernando, has a meditation center in the mountains where you can retire in peace, and invites me to spend a few days (that will transform in a few weeks). I paid and sought in vain to learn Spanish using HelpX, and while as people said to me that I already speak pretty well, I will improve my Spanish a little bit more with the people I coasting along in this center … In exchange for a few hours of work each day, just like HelpX, I listen a lot of time Fernando and Asis, his disciple, talking about the Taoist philosophy while learning various Chinese martial arts. I also would practice several times daily meditation with more technical knowledge to refine the concentration that when I practiced only intuitively. What a luck, I still not realise really as now !!!
Thus, since the day I discovered this magical home, between working in the Guadalinfo and my experience in this meditation center, weeks have passed and I would remain sedentary for more than 2 months. But during this time, the heat catches up with me. Now is the spring and the temperature, still slightly unstable, rising sharply in early May. The hot season is catching up my progression while I was catching my writing late …
It’s time for me to take the road and go to Granada, having finally received an invitation from a person met at the meditation center. This is unexpected and I jumped at the chance, passing a last night nostalgically in my abandoned house.
Here is what has happened to be able to continue to write to you and to share my lifestyle, I lived more than two months in an abandoned house, and it was a great learning experience for me too …
I leave the house in the state so that the next person who uses it to take refuge can enjoy my construction and my remaining stock of wood.
As usual, this time of life would have been much harder without all those who have offered me their help and made this adventure possible in this small village of Talara. I’m not ready to forget theat … the village did nothing extraordinary as it may, but people have turned it into a ideal holiday village …
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