Everybody falls, and we all land somewhere.Robert Charles Wilson, Spin.
Among other places, I spent a year in Japan. As my stay came to an end, friends often asked if, or when, I was returning to “my country”, my o-kuni (お国). Each time the question came up, I found myself struggling to find an answer. Indeed after living “abroad” for ten years, I am no longer sure where this “my country” is located for me. So I decided to begin a journey to find out, and to write a blog about it.
My original plan was to take three months off work and cycle the length of Japan, following the blooming of sakura (桜), the cherry blossoms, as they propagate northwards throughout the spring. I had planned the road in careful detail, but then 2020 struck, with the coronavirus pandemic and some more personal setbacks. I cancelled the flight.
So I did take three months off work, but at my parent’s home, in the house where I grew up. During this time, I could have worked, albeit for free, but something in me called for something new. So I wrote Confinés au Groenland, a series in French about glaciological fieldwork in northwestern Greenland, based on my own experiences and field photographs.
“Well, you can always cycle to Japan”, the colleague who drew the gorgeous card above had suggested. When June came and the European borders began to open up again, my bicycle touring gear had been readily packed for three months. So I cycled out of my door to Belgium. And then to my grandparents in the French Ardennes. And then to friends in Switzerland. And then on.
The blog’s title is inspired by the novel by Alaskan writer Lynn Schooler Walking Home, a novel about glaciers, photography, and Japan, incidently. I decided to write in English although it is not my first language, so please excuse grammar errors and shortcomings. I speak French, German, English, a bit of Swedish and Japanese, maybe still some Vietnamese, Python, photography and the language of love. Feel free to comment in any of these.
Cycling east across Europe
View my complete cycling route at ride with GPS.
- Cycling east in northern France and Belgium
- Cycling through the Ardennes and Luxembourg
- Cycling up the Saar Valley and the northern Vosges
- Cycling through Alsace and the Black Forest
- Taking a break in Zurich
- Cycling across the Swiss Alps
- Cycling through South Tyrol and the Dolomites
- Cycling in East Tyrol and Carinthia
- Cycling through the Julian Alps and Slovenia
- Cycling about Croatia’s Krk Island
- Taking a break in Rab
- Cycling on Pag Island and to Zadar
- Cycling north to south on Dugi Otok
- Cycling and visiting cities in Central Dalmatia
- Cycling along the southern Dalmatian seashore
- Cycling into Montenegro and the Bay of Kotor
- Cycling through Lovćen and along Lake Skadar
- Cycling along the coastal plains of Illyria
- Cycling in coastal Labëria or the Albanian Riviera
- Cycling in inland Labëria or the long way to Greece
- Cruising the Adriatic Sea to Brindisi and back again
- Cycling along the Ionian Sea coasts of Epirus and Arcania
- Cycling into the Gulf of Corinth and to the Aegean Sea
- Taking a break on Poros
- Cycling around Argolis but no further than Hydra
- Cycling across Arcadian highlands and to Sparta