The 6th of July 2013, leaving Klaipeda (Lithuania) with my friend Cloudio, the Baltic Cycling Tour officially started.
Cyclotourism, if we can call it like that, is something I never tried before so I was excited… also for the minimal packing list involved.
In Klaipeda we had to carefully select which items carry with us and which ones get packed and shipped directly to our final destination: Tallinn (Estonia).
The result was a bike bag of few kilos, that was very essential but left me with the feeling that I had too much to carry around, anyway.
Do I need all that? I checked three times and the answer was always YES, but the answer did not help me to relief my restlessness.
So I decided to try another experiment of detachment from material possession, of frugality (again), of simplicity.
I wanted to see what I could leave behind in this bike trip (beside my ego-footprint, of course).
The rule was simple: abandon something in every place we would stay.
With so little stuff with me, I knew already that there were difficult decisions to be taken and possibly I would have to get rid of something I value and use.
But am I the only one liking those challenges?
Day 1 – Leaving Nida
Leaving Nida I left behind Paulius business card. Paulius is a friendly Lithuanian guy that we met in Klaipeda, while asking for directions. He ended up hosting us in his parents’ house for two nights.
Paulius is on a spiritual journey, like many others, but the interest thing is that he approached Yoga, started meditation, discovered healthy living, quit smoking, lost 20 kilos to…. Improve himself as a poker player!
“At the poker table I reached a limit I could not pass… and then I realized that the limit was inside my mind” – he said.
I copied his details in digital form, and got rid of his business card in Nida.
While business cards still seem to be unavoidable, their life span shorter.
Just the time to type them in the phone…
Day 2 – Leaving Klaipeda
Leaving Klaipeda I left behind its map. Too easy?
I doubled the effort, leaving also the map of Nida.
This challenge wasn’t going as I wanted, but it got more interesting!
Day 3 – Leaving Sventoj
Leaving the beach town of Sventoj I decided to abandon an Armani underwear.
Lots of good memories but they became too big for me (no jokes please!).
Hopefully someone else will keep enjoying them.
I would have liked to leave them (dirty) in the hotel that, after giving us what it seemed a very good price, throw us out shouting “we meant EUROs! This hotel is not cheap!”. WTF?
Anyway, the good fashionable clothes I bought years ago are reaching the end of life, but at the moment I’m not interested in investing in that.
Day 5 – Leaving Liepaja
Leaving the town of Liepaja, where we spent one night in an ex prison, I left 2 euros on a bench.
Actually, we were already out of Liepaja and on the way to Aizpute.
Early this morning I read the news that Latvia will switch from Lats to Euro in 2014, so I wanted to give someone here a little help to start with the new currency.
Day 6 – Leaving Kuldiga
Leaving the town of Kuldiga, in front of the widest waterfalls of Europe, I left behind the only medicine I had with me.
I will not say the name of the “medicine” as I’m afraid that Google could mark my blog as SPAM.
It was a pill that I had since long time in my toilet bag, but I tend to avoid medicine as much as I can and I think there’s no need to carry medicines while traveling as there are enough pharmacy shops, at least here around!
Day 7 – Leaving Sabile
Leaving the village of Sabile, famous for its sweet vineyards, I left behind my cap.
Well, this wasn’t really a planned abandonment – I just could not find it anymore after the wine testing session!
This Chevrolet branded cap was a gift from my father (he drives a Chevrolet) and had a great value for me, as it doesn’t happen often that he gives me a gift! (Excluding paying restaurants bills, that is not bad either)
Day 10 – Leaving Riga
Leaving the capital of Latvia, after sleeping two nights in a sauna party and participating to a weekend-long crazy Couchsurfing event, I left behind a pair of white socks.
Allright, now it’s getting more and more difficult to find what to leave behind, simply because… I’ve so little with me!
But this pair of white, running socks, even if perfectly serving their purpose, were useless as I have no running shoes with me now. And I have a second pair of white socks I can use when sleeping, if needed.
Day 12– Leaving Sigulda
Leaving Sigulda, beautiful town where we slept in an ex-school, I left behind the most useless book I ever seen: the bicycle guide to Latvia.
Every time we tried to follow a route from that guide, we ended up confused and frustrated.
So I left it at the train station of Sigulda, where we a guy working there told us, is very good Italian “I was living in Italy for three years, close to Varese city. Dull place. Now I’m back here and I have a safe job for the railways company. I have a legal contract. There are many jobs available here in Latvia”. Amen to that.
Day 14 – Leaving the farm
Leaving the farm in the middle of Estonia, where we spent two days as ‘special guests’ of Eve running after sheeps and sleeping in tents (check her new blog at ‘Life at Murese farm‘), I left behind the dynamo light that helped me so many times in my Colombia trip.
I left it to Khippun (that I was calling Kippur), a sweet always-happy Korean girl that was about to spend her two weeks vacation working in the farm as WWOOfer volunteer.
This concludes the experiment. Next stage of our Baltic Cycling Tour was our final destination, Tallinn, where we returned our rented bicycles and got back the full luggage.
I felt bad about the first two stages, where I left behind only a business card and two free city maps, so I’m glad to share that one of the two jeans I had with me for the rest of the travel just broke down in Burgas (Bulgaria) and had to be abandoned as well. One down!
I’ve no more left than quoting Thoreau, once again:
a man is rich in proportion of the things he can afford to let alone
I felt really rich of freedom.