In my solo backpacking life, my backpack is quite a recurring problem. Too heavy, too voluminous, too much of this, not enough of that, it seems that I can never pretend to drag around a perfectly balanced backpack. You know, the one that would be suitable for any season and occasion, that won’t weight too much on my shoulders when I’m hitchhiking for hours, and that would even fit as a carry-on when taking the plane so I won’t have to pay extra fees. That ideal backpack in which I could even put my travel diary with all my drawing colours, and, of course, some exciting things to read.
As for me, diving into Taiwanese stories was all about getting a better understanding of this peculiar island I chose to call home for a year (and beyond). Reading is a way to apprehend a whole new world, and in this case, it allowed me to understand the debates, the traditions, and this culture so far different from mine. Reading as a way to embrace this island’s contradictions.
Even though I’m sitting in front of my breakfast, my tea getting cold, my feet all so curled up, freezing, on the tiled floor, that’s the taste of sand coming back before anything else when I launch the Spanish app on my phone.
I came to realize I never stopped dreaming of that place. The building itself, the neighbourhood, the little square where we used to play with my cousins. I’m still wandering around this place quite often at night in my dreams.
Moi, là-dedans, je m’amusais de plus en plus avec mon vélo Hello Kitty à Hualien, avec cette idée de tour de Taiwan qui me démangeait de plus en plus. Il faut avouer que ça me faisait flipper, de partir sur les routes à vélo comme ça pendant plusieurs semaines : j’ai même jamais fait de randonnée de plus de 4 jours ! Alors j’ai trouvé un compromis avec moi-même : j’allais pédaler la côte Est de Taiwan. De Taitung à Hualien.
When you decide to go on a bicycle travel trip, for a long period of time or not, you kind of face the same old fears that when you decided to go backpacking for the first time… ‘How do I pack my bag in a smart way’, ‘which itinerary should I follow’, ‘which gear should I buy’, ‘how could I avoid selling my kidneys to replenish my bank account’, and the same old ‘how do I stay alive while travelling the world?’ (yeah, I did ask myself that one more than once), in other words how to achieve your traveling goals, and in that case, on a bicycle…?