White clouds

Foreword!

If you know me, forget the individual, if you don’t, look for the content among the lines, not the human. My commitment toward the consciousness and its words written by me isn’t personal, but speaks to everyone. Recognizing its importance and “pressing” timelyness, it cannot be entrusted to tomorrow. We have to act today, tomorrow may be too late, the laziness, and the days organized and performed in a bad way, the sin of negligence can carry such heavy burden that realizing it later on will cause trouble in the mind. It stirs up the feeling of regret in vain, because we haven’t sent the winning lottery ticket before the drawing and who knows when the next opportunity comes to become millioners. I am not talking about millions of course, but much more than that. It’s about fulfilling our life task after which a new, conscious world can be born. And this world won’t be measured by money, or any other material goods sentenced to decay.

Finish your daily chores until sunset

If we don’t pass on the knowledge we gained from experience, we make the stream drain, obstructing the peaceful flow all around. It just means that we deprive ourselves from his priceless treasure, He is there even if we aren’t aware. Flowing irresistibly from time immemorial, with solitary continuity.

Always was, always will be

Perceiving, seeing, touching from the outside is impossible. Yet his omnipresence is the most reassuring consciousness. Still we turned away from Him ages ago and therefore the self was born, which made us to get into the illusory cycle of experience. And until we don’t burn through it with all of our cells, we cannot find the way back. So we use our free will to tie a knot onto the separated threads and to get home from our voluntary exclusion by navigating through long-long paths of life.

Illusion

Saying thank you is simple, because it is just word. Expressing my thanks for everything that happened to me and for those who are involved in it by words is just bleak. Expressing my gratitude for the help I was given through my life and my journey I wouldn’t be able even if I tore my heart out. So I rather place it back and plant it as a seedling of a thousands year old oak in the collective garden of humankind. May it bear fruits in deeds instead of words on its branches, so the people who feel like eating from it, might also start planting. The knowledge is not enough, we need to act, to fill up empty words with content, to give and receive and to fulfil tasks. Make decisions and carry them out, recognize the essence along the way and let everything else go.

Deciding, carrying out, letting go

It might be easy for you and I don’t want to interfere, also the time of the prophets have expired, but let’s question yourself; do I really have the occupation and live the way I imagined when I was a kid? When my story-books represented my heroes and my thoughts were uninfluenced yet? Have I become firefighter, soldier or shephered, or have I put up with everything that life dictated, that it has to be so?

What will you be when you grow up?

-Ship captain! Or I cannot be one? –You can be anything.

Giving ourself an honest self-review might be frightening, but if it happens, it will awake such liberating and undoubted strength in us that we can have the courage to grab the backpack and start creating our own path with. In time this path will converge with the oneness, in which the private collective will be. The ownership loses its meaning, followed by absolute freedom.

Fly!

I came to recognize that it doesn’t matter where I am or what I am surrounded by, if the thoughts in my head aren’t aligned, I am not free. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, it is rather controlling the thoughts indstead of having them control you. The spiritual jargon calls it counsciousness as far as I know. I have a feeling that it’s not me who is travelling any more, the self became the travel itself. The journey helped me experiencing the countless manifestations of the existence in an extremely intense way, and experiencing made me recognise the collective in everything, the independence from the self, namely from the ego.

Different, but still the same

After this realization the next step is practice in every field of life. First it requires a lot of attention to catch ourleves on giving back the rein to the thoughts, but as soon as we notice this, we have the option to decide wether let it be so or make them sit in the back as passengers and let them talk while we enjoy the trip undisturbed.

I recommend it to you and You too.

 

White clouds

New-Zealand is the name of the country where I spent two months out of the last three. I don’t know if there was an Old-Zealand before but if yes, why was it necessary to rename, anyway whatever they call it, it’s very uniqe and beautiful indeed.

Special…

…and lovely

I started cycling on the Southern island and I needed exactly a whole February to reach the Northern part after a nice, big 2000 km long circle. Within these 28 days my travelling habits have changed a lot. I slowed down, yet I reached my destinations faster. I took back from the daily average, but the stops weren’t lingering. I haven’t felt the pressing urge to travel, I spent everywhere just as much time as the places required to hand their information to me. My sense of direction rivals the sense of smell of dogs by now, because I let the road completely rule, taking me wherever it may. I was led only to the best places by the know-it-all guide including my temporary, one-night homes as well.

It is also a selected place

And the guide cared of more than that… The weather turned to summery from the day I started pedalling Mighty Voyager, which I knew from the people I met on the first couple of days. They were complaining that summer hasn’t been so nasty for years, and told me how lucky I was to arrive right that time, not earlier or later. I came to understand “the later” later, because the good weather was indeed numbered for me. The Maori called the island Aotearo, the country of the long white cloud. Thanks to its geographical position the climate is unpredictable and the frosty currents coming from the polar region can arrange themselves into clouds, darkening the Sun easily. The unquestionably present climate change –that’s still questioned by many- doesn’t help it either. The rain might begin to fall from one moment to the next, which isn’t favourable on a bike tour where we live under open sky for weeks. Yet allegedly I am very “lucky”… arrives the unexplainable comment from the people. It can be so, but I think it’s more than that. I am surely grateful for many things working out the way they were and not somhow else. I am grateful for example for the weather. I have been on the road for almost two years, but I have never got wet. And when I mention this to other cyclists they don’t believe it. Somehow the weather is always gracious to me and even if the rain can’t hold it back any longer, my circumstances get completed with a roof from whatsoever, where I can take my time until the storm passes by.

The illustration of a passing storm

Natural disasters also avoid me, either before me or after me hurricanes evolve, the earth shakes or forests catch fire. For some reasons I am allowed to go on unobstructedly, the providence keeps its gilded shield around me with dragons, scorpions and lions on it, who come alive and protect me, when danger comes.

Sentinel

I am most grateful for the people who always show up when I most need them. What I was given from them, cannot be measured by any scale. Half the kindness of the world lives in me in the form of those do-gooders, who made me a better man unwittingly just by accommodating and providing me with food after chopping love into it. They are among those:

Szabi and Anna, thank you

Rose and Neil, thank you

Heni and your folks, thank you

Dharmatma Dasa prabu aka Dávid, thank you

Father Viktor, thank you

So much magic, coincidence and seemingly unbelievable events have happened to me that I understood the mystery beyond and I consider nothing a miracle anymore what seemed to be one earlier. I would like to share them with you. The places, where I have been are not so important anymore. It is not important where I will travel in the future, either.

 

Lake Tekapo

It was around noon, when I stopped for lunch in a small town. I chose the side of the stream far from the coffee houses full of tourists and instead of the downtown picnic spots. Wifi wasn’t available, only bird twitter, sunshine and water splashing could be felt. Two boys were standing knee high in the water, building dam from pebbles before homework, after school. Before I took my jackknife out to grease the bread and cut some vegetables up, I also went into the water to wash my hands and feet. Then I had a nap, took a royal photo of myself and there I was on the road again.

Orb and wooden throne

Soon I stopped again, because the beautiful form of a Ford Mustang 1964 made me pull out the camera from the steering wheel bag in the outskirts of the town. While I was clicking the camera from the right and the left, the owner of the car has arrived and after the second sentence he let me sit into the gleaming car. The engine started up, the wheel turned and we were already showing off in my favourite car. Actually I am not such a huge car adorer, indeed I rarely set eyes on any objects, but I have always been attracted to mustangs.

Grip the wheel, Uncle Pali

A Ford Mustang from 1964

I had to pedal a few kilometres to reach my goal for that day, when I caught up with some bikes looking like Mighty Voyager and their owners. Discussing the whereabouts quickly turned out that we had the same plans for the next couple of days, so together we continued the tour. Camille, Peter and Joe met in the town, where I was pretending to be a king on the wooden throne therefore the link of the group was quite fresh. From that moment on we had to think as a team, which can be pretty tricky with 4 persons unless it’s about going to the cinema.

Bikers in New-Zealand

Camille came here from Canada and she was an absolute freshman in long distance tours. Besides she was just 19 so hats off to her for starting the adventure of her life alone with a beautiful bike weighing probably more than herself. I have no idea if she had any strains later, but in those 3 days while we were going in the same direction she hasn’t had a single yelp, just got off from the Masi with Bordeaux splasher and pushed it on the steep etaps.

Camille

And there was Peter, a British explorer who has already tested himself on longer distance. He was at the two-third of his one year long trip and after New-Zealand came the United States, the Route 66. His adventure will end up on the famous and long route 66 someday soon, as I am writing these lines. Peter is that kind of guy, who takes notes on everything. What should be eaten, what kind of changes will be done on his bike before the next tour, why gearbox is better than cassette transmission, what’s the benefit of the belt drive or what kind of cheese I buy in the shops… He kept questioning these eagerly and the answers were recorded in his notebook. The geek adventurer was very enthusiastic, I really liked his company.

Peter

Joe, the third traveller was English too. He got to Thailand by plane where he started off from pedalling his Treck. For him this country was the last one before turning back to England. We were thinking likewise about the travel, and once we even parted from the others because we picked a different road. Although we were to join in the evening and camp together, it didn’t work out.

Joe

The sidewind was extremely strong that day, we had to lean onto our left side totally and pedal like that, otherwise the wind would have swept us off the gravelled road. Thus we went on 20 kilometres alongside a channel, while from the distance the highest mountin of New-Zealand, the Mount Cook followed us with its dignified look. I am pretty sure that it was laughing at us under its white hat when we haven’t looked, because our strange, staggering performance seemed rather like a drunken attempt toward home than pros with many thousands of kilometres behind. Its better that Camille remained with Peter on the main road, because she would have been struggling and maybe the mountain liked the sceen less.

There’s a strong wind blowing here

However, our calculations worked well and soon the pebble-paving changed into asphalt and turned towards South, so the wind got behind us. The mountain could witness a fast sobering. The sluggish, tired donkeys all of a sudden turned into winged, sprinter horses and their riders were whooping in the saddles joyfully.

Asphalt with backwind

The channel swelled into a lake on our right with unchanged colour, on its emerald-turquoise face only the light was thinning slowly. In a little while we needed to slow down, the sprint has ended, and the night started to open the gates of its realm, the darkness hasn’t remained absent either that day.

We didn’t mind it at all, because we have found such a camping spot that night could fall on us a hundred times there. We were surrounded by vibrating magic, while on the other side of the lake the mountain was still standing ornately. The floating image of it was scattered only by waves reaching the shore.

Mount Cook

It was so cold in the lake, maybe because the pointed bobble of the big snowcap hung down into the water all the time, making the work of the sunrays harder. The dust of the day didn’t want to spend the night on me despite that, so I obeyed and got rid of it with determined movements, hissing in cold. I went through initiation.

Illustration from the other day

By the time I got back from the christening the supper of Joe was already in progress in the camp of two tents. The trees were hiding the escaping smoke among their branches conspiratorially, but the smell of it made us feel safe and sound, lingering between us as a third mate. During dinner we haven’t had much to speak with my English friend, the crackling fire and the sound of water weaving, the wandering of the wind and the swishing of leaves, the dancing flames and the sight of the mountain silenced us softly to initiate into its ancient mystery.

Ssss

With the others we just met the next day. In total we spent three days together as travel companions and tent neighbours during the night.

The tent of the neighbour is greener indeed

The eternal and constant fluctuation was washing us away in an invisible curve, the road leaned to the right for me and to the left for them.

Ottago

I was heading towards the Ottago rail trail, which became a popular playground for those who are living on two wheels after an old railway line was converted into a cyclist terrain. At the start line I took some rest in order to be able ride off early the next morning, so instead of setting up the tent I chose a comfortable free room for myself.

All in one

The rail trail was fun indeed. Wooden bridges, agricultural lands and tunnels drilled in rocks were causing me amusements as we left a cloud of dust behind with Mighty Voyager dressed in a locomotive.

Start

It is great to roll over on these…

…and on these too

In New-Zealand it is art not to find the best camping spots. Since I am not an artist dude I am only satisfied with the best. Somehow I am drawn by abandoned shacks, hiding forests and peaceful watersides. I always happen to have bathrooms, be it a lake, a stream or a river, but also a dripping tap growing from the wall does it, every day I wash the suntanned coat clean.

This is exactly a place, which makes me stay for a night

Nothing compares to the peace and sense of achievement, when I find my spot with the message carved into its door by the previous visitor; it’s Yours but only on the condition of not wanting me, don’t be afraid moving on, because similar places can be found everywhere if you can give orders to the constantly talking guy in your head. That night on the widescreen; The water ballet of the black swans was on, and later on a different frequency; The mouse squeaking was broadcasted by an ethereal radio, which I was listening together with the skates hanging on the wall in silence.

Every evening I felt like it will never get better and yet the next evening became even better. A formless factory worker offered me experiences of lasting value from the conveyor belt without VAT, if I am satisfied with what I have and in return I fill his pocket with gratitude. Extended my hand I felt like he is shaking it, because from that minute on, the deal was sealed and moreover it bore a quite good interest…

Queenstown

I turned back on the rail trail, because it would have been a dead end to go through it. In New-Zealand the planning is a little bit difficoult if you want to see everything without using the same road twice. I wanted to visit Milford Sound next, but the coast of fjords could be reached only in a blind valley. Besides the roads are very narrow there, while the trucks are wide so in the end I didn’t insist on the beautiful Milford Sound. I went as far as Queenstown, but no further. Just like I mentioned in the foreword, my travel doesn’t depend on places anymore. It may sound controversial since the journey is about exploring new places, but the point is that I understand what I am talking about, and it doesn’t cause any pain to drop some subgoals if the circumstances require so. I have seen so much wonderful places and I have proved myself often enough that I am capable of anything so I don’t want to prove anything anymore. I can easily allow myself to miss such a place like the worldfamous Milford Sound. And anyway I was so enchanted by Queenstowns friendly atmosphere that it was time to take a day off.

Day off

In addition to that I was provided with some convenience, because a lovely family offered me to set up my tent in their garden and they also took care of the food. Two tents can be seen on the picture because Gel, a French guy, who I got to know 2 days ago joined too.

Queenstown

 

Gel

The chilling and the family dinners felt really good and though I got used to the bathing in cold water believe me, the warm is completely different.

The West Coast

The chilling and the family dinners felt really good and though I got used to the bathing in cold water believe me, the warm is completely different.

Waking up for this means, get out of the tent and let’s have a bath

To reach Pikton and the ferry I needed 10 days, while I passed my time at places, of which I cannot imagine more dazzling, just somehow different. If I intended to describe all of them and introduce the people involved, I could sit in front of my PC for days, so please overlook it for sharing only the very best among the best. But there is something else that wishes to come out:

You have already met the South side of the Mount Cook, but because I was going in the opposite direction this time, the other side has revealed itself as well, with the surrounding gleciers; the Franz Josef glacier and the Fox glacier. Well, I haven’t visited them either, because I found the fact very sad that such fragile and defenceless natural formations are displayed and incredibly huge masses of people get travelled there industrially for a selfie from all over the world. I was just watching them from a few kilometres distance flowing down motionlessly from the mountain.

I see enormous contradictions in the reasons and methods of travelling. I see that people are blind – there are honourable exceptions- because they claim that they love nature and beautiful landscapes yet they want to possess them at the same time and in return they aren’t willing to give up convenience. They want to own the experience, while they contribute to the havoc tremendously with their behaviour only for taking a picture with a huge glacier this case. It is about living out desires that can hide several dangerous aspects, according to Buddha -told 2500 years ago.

Let me proceed, because despite it is in your face, still there is no evidence that things are changing for the better. Not mentioning the spiral of the incorrect energy consumption and its roots, or the compensating everything with industrialization and mass production, the overexploitation of the lands- all these for serving people, many of whom have no idea how a spade or a rake look like but at least they are developing senselessly, thinking that it will solve everything. What would happen with us without accelerating internet? We might not be able to upload a picture to facebook or download a movie from torrent in time. Heaven forbid, it might occur that for these reasons we have to dust off the old picnic basket, go for an outing with the neighbour and talk about something meanwhile?

………………….Did you know?…………………

That besides blaming the refugees for everything we can help destroying the earth by misusing our natural resources in our homes?

………………………………………………………….

For today our energy consumption increased so fast, that we are long on the brink of catastrophe. Thinking that everything is all right is inconsistency, the change can be felt for years and based on this we can picture an alarming vision of the future. The industry makes light of everything, cares nothing but the profit, and we happily assist to that. Products and shopping. Bread and circuses. But what can be done, if I get from the shelf and eat anything I like. Chiken, beef, pork or turkey? Whatever, let’s just stuff ourselves full. We will die of comfort, because if it’s hot than that’s the problem, if it’s cold than that. The water, the gas, the oil and the power is running. Everyone is aware of these things and also of the polar bears on the Antarctic, yet only some are changing their habits, because that would mean inconvenience- summer without air conditioning or going to the stores on foot. It isn’t so tangible, in our street nothing has really changed, but there is no snow anymore where it should be, where there has never been so far- starts falling a neon yellow. “I consume so little, that it makes no harm”, well yes, but billions can put it that way. A Gandhi quote fits here most in my opinion;

“Be the change you wish to see in the world!”

The humankind needs a drustic turn, starting with using as much as we need and what we really need. It’s not necessary to eat full five times a day believe me, or to cool down the air if it’s getting a bit warmer, to do the washing up with a hundred litre of water, to buy faster or smaller processors into our computers… Paying attention to these tiny things don’t make a sacrifice, it should be normal. With small steps we could make a big difference.

By now the Fox glacier became shorter with 150 metres than it was at the beginning of the century, the situation of the Franz Josef’s is even worse. And this is New-Zealand, the cleanest country in the world. However, the climate change doesn’t know country borders, think of the cause and effect….oh, I am not saying any news with this? Then for the Earth’s sake do your job! I don’t mind if you laugh at me for holding forth, but let me anticipate- there will be crying and pain. And for that very reason, everyone together must take responsibility!!!

The Franz Josef glecier, with many others, won’t stay long among us 🙁

 

Hokitika

Quite “accidentally” I bumped into a special exhibition on the shore of Hokitika. Departing from the temple, where I was staying that night I went to watch the sunset and I found such great works that I haven’t seen anything similar before. They were the results of an art competition. The witty event had one rule to apply: only those things could be used to the various compositions that were washed up from the ocean. This is how this kilometre long open-air exhibition was born.

Come, let me paint you a real sunset…

…thanks, I will watch from here until you finish

Then I managed to see its more natural version while cycling, setting eyes on it from the road. That was something really magnificent. Looked like I am in a tree cemetery, where time has stopped and only the footprints of wild animals and wonderful mushrooms living in the cavities of old trees were revealing some unvisible motion. Life was flourishing through death.

Death…

…with life inside

 

The Northern Island

From Pikton to the Northern Island of New Zealand the ferry ride took half an hour and it was full of the usual beauties until the very last metres.

Behind there, under the trees in front of the long landing stage I spent my last night on the Southern Island

Only a few kilomteres left to the ferry

Wellington, the capital made a little Mediterranean impression. How interesting is that friends from Eger live at such a distant part of the world, where their fellow countryman can find home for a while. I wish I could make them feel what a meeting like this means to me far away from real home. Those common subjects and emerging names, the phrasings that aren’t used anywehere else and the precious letter e, like Eger! Csabi and Réka you are so cool.

Sweeties

 

Tongariro and Honey

One of the most famous hiking trails is bound to the Tongarino volcano in the middle of the island. It’s a walking tour, so I had to give my bike into guardianship for that time. First I planned to find the nearest house and knock to see if I may leave the good old Mighty Voyager there. But life had a better idea for me. 40 kilometres far from Tongariro, Reitihi is the last inhabited settlement, after that only some houses and a gas station can be found in a junction. There I met Troy, not in the junction but in Reitihi and he offered me to sleep over. Quickly I changed my plan and asked Troy to leave my bike at his place the other day so I could reach the volcano by hitchhiking, performing the 20 kilometre long hike in 5-6 hours and hitchhiking back by night. He was in, so there I got accommodation and my bike had guarded parking. Keeping the Maori traditions was important for Troy and as soon as I found it out I started teasing him to go for a shooting, where he could demonstrate the tribal Maori dance, tha haka at a nice spot. He liked the idea, so immediately we set off, not wasting a single minute, because it was getting dark. There still was some light by the time we got up to a lake, where Troy prepared a real tribal outfit from branches and fern leaves, while I started to take pictures and recorded the haka. It made me very happy that I managed to record that nice tradition genuinely.

Troy

My hitchhiking went bad the other day, it took 5, I mean five rides and almost 3 hours to reach the volcano. It would have been faster by bike, but I couldn’t have put it in a safe place. It was past 11 a.m. by the time the trail covered in black ash moved off under my feet.

The sun has disappeared for a while and a dense fog enfolded the landscape as I was climbing up.

To my fortune, as I got across the top, approaching my goal I could see again. This was waiting for me:

I managed to make up for the disadvanatage I got by the hitchhiking, so downward I winked at the view finder of my camera more often.

From the mount I was walking to the higway, then turned my thumb towards the sky. This time I had to do it once and there I was at Troy after 40 minutes, before dark. As a bonus, next morning right after I got up, with a spade in my hand, I expanded the number of trees in the world with a manuka. I named it Honey, because the most valuable honey is made of the pollen of this tree by the busy bees of New-Zealand.

Honey

Unfortunately I am short of time, as I am writing these lines so however much I strive to finish this blog entry, I have to say goodbye. I will continue from here soon, but now I am moving on, because the cherry trees are already beginning to bloom in Japan. In the country of the rising sun I am to arrive after tomorrow, from where I intend to bring everything as best I can to you.

Until then, you can visit my new English webpage on the following link:

The Art Of Mindful Cycling Around The World

 

With love, Szalag

2017.05.01      29.000 km

 

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