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The city’s best bits, explored by us.
EDITORIAL

Luxury is no luxury

Luxury is no luxury

An absence of luxury, or physical discomfort are only important when the mood is wrong. But if the mood is right, then physical discomfort doesn't mean much, and an absence of luxury can even add to the experience.

We say this (or let the photos do the talking) after riding a 5000 km loop through Europe. Via Scandinavia to the Slovak capital and back. 11 countries, camping in nature, sleeping to the sound of leaves. Yep, we've spent the whole summer on a motorcycle.

Cruising the continent, together with our recently adopted canine snuggle buddy, using only back roads. Paths are really different from highways. The whole pace of life and personality of the people who ride them are different.

The best ones connect nowhere with nowhere. Those are the ones where people waved when we rode by. Where when we stopped to ask for directions the answer tended to be long.  Pictures were taken and folks wanted to know from where and how long we had been traveling.

 

It's hard to explain the impact this kind of travel has on the psyche. We've seen things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. 

A car is a cubby, but because we're used to it we don't realise that through that window what we see is just more ‘Facebook-ish’. 

We are passive observers and it is all moving by us tediously in a frame. On a bike the frame is gone. We're completely in contact with it all…

 

All the elements (rain, sun, and everything in between). All the details (trees get greener and the coffee gets stronger). Mornings, noons, nights. The landscapes, we were in them, not just watching, and the sense of presence was overwhelming.

We had no Wi-Fi, but had the best 'connection'.

No, we did not have great conversations on our running motorbike. Instead we spent time being aware of things and meditated on them. On signs and sounds, on the mood of the countryside we were in, thinking about things remembered. Thinking and not thinking without being hurried and without feeling we were losing time.

There was no plan, we could stop and stay anywhere we wanted.

Trees, Alps, empty fields round us. Space, solitude, air. Just enjoying unscheduled time…..one of the greatest delights in life.

 

We yodeled while crossing barricade-free dividing lines (where passports and checkpoints have been abolished) between Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Italy, France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

 

Arriving in these countries after a deluxe flight, would have been to see them in one kind of context. Maybe just as pretty scenery, or an Instagram post.

But to arrive after days of hard travel over Europe's grass, sand, streets and most mountainous mountains, is seeing them in another way, as a bourn, a promised land. It becomes more than #nice #pretty or #nofilter.

We couldn't find a 'tag' for it… Bliss? Blessed? We could see it, feel it...the luxury of being alive.

There’s nothing like a campfire and a can of beans. Nothing like being in endless grass, or on a beastly peak to be reminded of that (and your place in all of this). 

That 'grasp' exists there because everything else does not. It can be noticed because other things are absent. That kind of luxury breaks our heart. In the best way.

 

During this trip my husband read 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' to me. I curled up, listened in awe, and took it all in. And now, mister Rober M Pirsig, my mind, dreams and this editorials are filled with your words.

 

Images by Fotofloor