Handstands on the Road

Life Sign I – Budapest/Szentendre

Hey, beautiful people who are following my journey, here we go! Time has passed so quickly since I hopped onto an early morning train at St. Pancras International, London, last Sunday, and became a turtle once again. For a time yet unknown, I will be carrying my home on my back. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will begin cycling from Budapest to Istanbul.

Packed up and… ready?

From busy central London to rural Hungary, I have traded the stress and the hustle of the city life for moonlit outdoor showers that become all the more necessary after my friend and I have carried the water needed for this treat down the hill in bulky, heavy canisters. Showering under the stars is probably one of the most scenic experiences I have had in my life and the gentle breeze and cool water at night make up for the hot and fierce kisses of the sun (averaging at around 38°C during the day) and the gravel (more about that one in a moment).

These shower facilities might not look luxurious, but trust me, they could not be any more perfect!

As usual, the hardest part of slipping into this journey, of fully handing myself over to this adventure, is to simply let go. Part of the enjoyment of travelling is this: finding the spaces in between, tasting the stolen little moments and details of life, in which the worries about the past and future are fading into the background, losing their urgency in the moment that is unfolding before me.

Today’s procrastination project: 101 ways to fit into a window frame

Without a permanent home and the possibility of arrival still distant, nothing but a hopeful vision, I am trying to find balance. Thankfully, my travel companion Dani has to be one of the most relaxed people I know, and when I thought that I don’t tend to plan all that much, I am learning that you can always plan less and still have a blast of a time.

On my very first day in Budapest, I have already fallen off the bike – did I mention kissing the gravel? Well, here’s a euphemism for eating dirt directly from the potholes of cycle lane 6. Luckily, after my back wheel had decided to overtake the front one, catapulting me face first onto the dirt track I was riding down, a quick bodyscan revealed nothing more serious than a bump on my forehead, a scraped right arm and a bruised left hand.

Caught this view up a beautiful hill in Buda(pest)

Once I had gotten over the first shock, I rolled my back onto my rucksack and looked up to the most beautiful nightsky I had seen in a very long time. To quote Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

More from the series 101 ways to fit into a window frame…

I was almost glad to come off so early on, or otherwise I would have grown to fear my first crash more with each accident free day. Statistically speaking, I should be good for a little while – and, equipped with a new saddle (want too much information? just cycling around between Szentendre and Budapest had given me the worst crotch pain of a lifetime on the last bike), a new bike (that I prefer by far to the one I crashed on) as well as my first pair of black and hot pink cycling shorts with PADDING, I am almost optimistic about this thing.

Playing bike part tetris in the car, piling laundry on top so it can dry in the car’s cozy climate at 45°C

In the meantime, I explored Budapest by bike and foot, and trained at the wonderful place that is Inspiral Cirkusközpont (if you didn’t guess it already, this means circus space in Hungarian).

A beautiful dome with a fresh water fountain is a welcome surprise after cycling to Budapest

And on my first day there, I bumped into none other than Gustavo Ollitta, the Buugeng artist who inspired me five years ago to follow my circus dreams to Thailand, Spain and eventually England. Maybe, without him, none of this would have ever happened – if you happen to read this, HI! THANK YOU! Life is GOOD! There was no more reason for him to be here than for me, even less reason for us to meet so randomly on the road, but nonetheless the encounter was reassuring, a little like a divine wink, telling me I was on the right track all along…

Fountain II

I don’t know how often I will get to blog on the road as internet is scarce and this is probably the last time that I will sit with my own laptop on my lap for many months, but I am recording on the dictaphone and writing bits down nearly every day.

One day, I will make the time to write down and edit all those stories and journeys. Every soul-wrenching, heart-breaking, joyful, playful, juicy detail including the ones you didn’t want to know, the unexpected ones, the ones that were hard to share and the ones that were plain funny.

Venturing to the other side of the river in Budapest…

Maybe, when (or should I say if?) I grow up, I will be an author, but in addition to making things up (which I still totally do every day), I feel the bursting desire to go and LIVE all the things that I made up before I write about them…

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here in Hungary/Bulgaria/Turkey on the road, burning my ass on a hot saddle, standing on my hands, finding balance and trying to be art in motion, or something beautifully outrageous like that.

Who needs a canvas when you can have an empty frame instead?

I am also still raising funds for social circus school Sirkhane who have agreed to take me on as an artist, performer and teacher at the end of September =) You can donate to them directly via their Facebook page here.

This time around, I didn’t get to set up a personalized fundraiser for the Handstands on the Road journey and the social circus project, but I still want to reward YOU for donating to Sirkhane and here is how it works:

If you do decide to donate, please send me a message with your address so I can send you a personalized thank-you postcard from the road with the story (or the joke) of the day I send it.

Come back for more soon(ish)!




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