May 03 2021 | The mirror

I find it hard to take root. But I’m making it. There’s no other way to do it but by writing. Writing was a long-time obsession for me. I was writing in a travel notebook in the first few months of my bike rides. With a pen on sheets of paper. Then there was no Internet and I was too poor to get a laptop. I think that there were no laptops as such, back in 1991, 1992. I remember, on one occasion, I threw all my diaries I had written at the stake. It was a self-destruct ceremony as I was assuming it was my whole life. I am, in that sense, like a broken sack. A missing link, as a neighbor of a small town in the mountains of Catalonia comes to describe us, in 2014, when my companion named Nuria and I were approaching the Sanctuary of Nuria, by the way !

But I’ve never really worked on a structural, methodical literary project. Until now. And, in part, thanks to this obligatory daily task imposed on me by this application that I have not discovered at random even though I did it, since I believe that nothing happens just by a chance.

A man without resources, traveling on foot and by bicycle, who was accumulating anecdotes and who had a lot of anxiety about to tell people his stories, of publishing it, without ever having done it. What a waste. A ball without a handle, a lost link, a restless soul, a aimless human being, without a goal really, cheering how beautiful simple life is and that folks must try to live that life in the present time.

To feel, in some way, that sense of belonging to a fixed, immovable territory, I had to offer myself to work in exchange for food and accommodation. And, as always happens, a seduction was established in a rural environment, rugged, on the part of the outsider, a gypsy, a savage foreigner, who had just arrived. But, as the days goes, even though the service compensated to feed and offering a roof over that hard-boiled traveler’s head, things were generally becoming a little less attractive. That free time that I had leftover between these and other tasks, I was supposed to be destined to write.

In the vicinity of Cartaya, for example, in 2010, where I was for more than three months while the owner of the house, Peter Wolf, was crossing the Atlantic with his friend on a sailing boat, I had not been able to gather enough discipline to reach that shore of the habit of silence and focus that requires the act of writing. To write in a methodical, structured and structural way. Peter, on his return, was visibly angry not necessarily because the work I’ve done was not complete and satisfying but because I hadn’t even started writing in a professional way. And, he let me know in a e-mail message. Since the idea was me to stay in that empty house to do some daily work, and to write, fundamentally and so, what was wrong with me?. I supposed to write down the story others were drawing in their minds that I should tell them.

As time and space passed, the people who knew me gradually took it for granted that something transcendental could happen to me in that writing territory. It didn’t. I began to feel that they were even losing the enthusiasm that one day they would see a book signed by me. Because the people, those folks I encountered on the endless paths of the world, were partly portrayed in me. I was they existential mirror. I was, in some way, an extension of their unfulfilled desires, of their own broken glasses, of those impossibility of functioning as they were supposed to. They were all frustrated writers and I represented a precious stone that could achieve what they have not been able to do. Many said to me, “Do it for us, travel for us.” They were trapped in a family, domestic, financial swarm, a serious lack of free time to fly. To verify that my free time was somehow unproductive, was not pleasant to them.

Everything is seductive when one is free or, at least that is the other’s perception. I do think I was free, that I still am. My website has that philosophical phrase: “Life is Freedom”. My freedom to travel aimlessly, thousands of miles, as if there were no limits, seduced people. But as time passed, one day, one month, one year, that man with a mysterious gaze was no longer who he had been, he was no longer that seductive foreigner. And, if you’ve never published a book of your many experiences on the road, even worse. I shouldn’t care about other people’s perceptions, but I do care because through that, somewhat I’ve been able to better perceive myself.

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