Cycling Europe Day 58: From Atlantic to Mediterranean to Baltic

I wish I was smart enough to have come up with that myself. It just happened. I knew

Getting my feet wet for the first time in the Baltic.

Getting my feet wet for the first time in the Baltic.

when I was organizing my route that I’d be on the Atlantic in Portugal, the Mediterranean in Spain, France, and Italy, and the Baltic in Latvia and Estonia. I knew that. Then I completely forgot about the Baltic when the trip started. And I had never thought about this trip taking me from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean to the Baltic. I just hadn’t put two and two together.

I did though a few days ago. Since then, cycling towards today has been tremendously exciting. And now today has come.

Dudes, I HAVE CYCLED FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE MEDITERRANEAN TO THE BALTIC!!! Woooooooooohoooooooooo!

It was an amazing feeling to get my first sight of the Baltic Sea and to wet my feet in its waters for the first time. I had never really thought about visiting the Baltic before. I live in a country that’s on two seas already. But now that I’m here, now that I got myself here by the sheer force of my own two legs, I am overjoyed.

We saw the Baltic for the first time midway through today’s ride. We weren’t going to wait. We took the bikes through a small forest, tied them up, and ran to the beach. My husband Colin almost immediately got into his swimsuit and ran into the water. We were both surprised, me with my feet-dipping and Colin with his full body swim, that the waters weren’t as cold as the Mediterranean had been when we were in Montpellier, France about a month ago. Colin said that he would have been happy to stay in the water. We have many chances to go for more swims in the coming few days.

How many people get to say they cycled along the coast of the Baltic Sea? I’m sure

Cycling along the Baltic coast this afternoon.

Cycling along the Baltic coast this afternoon.

there are a lot of people in this region who say that often. But I don’t know anyone who has. And I’m just so excited that I am fortunate enough to have cycled along the Baltic today. Life is good – sometimes.

We’re camping tonight in a really nice camp near Salacgriva, Latvia. Our camp is about 400m from the sea. After dinner, we had a nice walk along the beach. Colin says he’ll go for another swim in the morning. I still need some cajoling to get myself wet and cold. We’ll see.

SO…

I am going to put aside my fears of the evil eye and put my faith in the prayers and well wishes of everyone.

We have only three more days before we reach my final destination: Tallinn, Estonia. I have such a mixture of feelings about this. On the one hand, I am tremendously excited to see this journey come to a successful end, inshallah (God willing). At the same time, my mind’s flood gates to real life’s problems have started to break open. Throughout this whole trip I have been completely incapable of thinking through some of the issues I need to resolve in my life. My mind simply refused to think beyond the moment I was in. It has been heaven. But now the thoughts are starting to rush in and I felt panicky this morning.

If you read books about long journeys people have gone on, there are often life-changing revelations that come at the end of them. I have had absolutely none. I am not upset about that in the slightest. I wasn’t expecting a life-altering revelation. It would have been really nice to have one. But I wasn’t expecting it.

The only real thing I wanted out of this trip I have achieved: the physical challenge of

Muslims pray five times daily. This evening's prayers were at a beautiful camp in northern Latvia.

Muslims pray five times daily. This evening’s prayers were at a beautiful camp in northern Latvia.

cycling, mostly on my own, across Europe from its south-western corner to its north-eastern corner. It was as simple as that. Some of you will understand. Others will not. And that’s all right.

There are many other things I got out of this trip, whether I intended them or not. I needed to succeed at something. I needed to believe in myself again. I wanted to see Europe. I wanted to test my ability to self-motivate. I needed to free my mind of life’s worries. I needed to be one with nature. In a couple of weeks, once I have the benefit of hindsight, I’m sure I will find many other things I have gained from this incredible journey.

For now, the journey is not at its end. I need your prayers to keep us safe on the roads for another three days.

It’s the final countdown! Tallinn minus three!

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4 comments

  1. Me too. I am going to really miss your daily posts. I am interested in your post-trip reflections. What did you really learn and gain from the experience? Well done! Stay safe.

  2. Things always have a way of figuring themselves out. And even though many people end up writing books about that moment of revelation and the light that they finally saw that altered their lives for good, I think that the magic is already there. It’s in your own hands and it’s with you all the time. The magic is you. And if you could figure his adventure out, everything else will just follow inshallah.

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