FINDING HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Like most people who have moved country knows, it comes with amazing opportunities but also some pretty difficult challenges. While it is really cool to start a new chapter of your life, it also means leaving home and all sense of security behind. Suddenly you are a foreigner, an exotic animal, the one that doesn’t get the jokes (or English sarcasm in my case). The hardest thing about moving isn’t the paper work, or the physical packing and unpacking of things, but the feeling of loneliness that comes with it. Over the years, however, I have realised that there is a way to break away from that loneliness – and it is called mountain biking. There is no one that will make you feel more welcome to a new place than a bunch of muddy (or dusty), stoked bikers and nowhere you will feel more like home than on the trails. Mountain biking breaks down barriers and opens doors like nothing else because on the bike we all speak the same language. It is home away from home.
Moving is never easy
In 28 years I’ve called four countries and a bunch of cities “home”. I grew up abroad surrounded by different cultures, languages and people and I’ve always had the traveling bug, even more so since I got into biking. But being an international kid has also meant moving a lot and having to start from scratch over and over again. It is never easy. Moving country is actually really freaking hard and lonely. I am not talking about “packing all your stuff into boxes”-hard but it is “moving away from your life and feeling completely lost”-hard. The physical part of moving is a pain in the ass but it stops as soon as you’ve unpacked the last box, the mental struggle doesn’t.
As most mountain bikers know, nothing get’s you out of that mental down spiral like a spin on the bike. Thing is, when it comes to moving to a new place a quick spin on the bike can do more than just get you out of a lonely state of mind – it will most likely result in meeting new people, getting to know the area and generally feel more at home. Trails may differ, but the feeling you get out on them are the same wherever in the world you are. And funny thing is, it’s the same with people. You might have different cultures and even speak different languages, yet I’ve found that mountain bikers across the globe tend to have similar mind-sets and a culture that stretches far beyond boarders.