From Chinese Himalaya to the sea

the starting of this new adventure
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I am sitting on the sailboat. It sways gently. On the stove is getting ready, the autumn sun filters through the windows. I come back, as always when we start a new stage, to think about the beginning. Perhaps we can say that this sailing trip begins when Diego and I met, sixteen years ago, and we decided to get on a journey that quickly changed our lifestyle and led us to be nomads, wanderers, vagabonds. After two years walking from Argentina to Mexico, four years pedaling from Spain to China, four years touring Asia on a scooter and Argentina in a van, two years touring China in a minivan, and a European year, between the waves of the pandemic, discovering deeper France and Spain aboard our little caravan, now the four of us get on a sailboat. As Mael said, laughing, after the first night on board: “How can I have a home but keep traveling? The sailboat!!". The sailboat, and with it the dreams of traveling the Mediterranean, of discovering Africa, of returning to America with the force of the wind… there is nothing more romantic than the idea of ​​literally moving with the wind. How many times do we answer to people who asked us about our future plans: "We don't know, we travel with the wind." But it wasn't entirely true. We travel with our crazy will, we travel with our dreams so alive and presents, we travel with the faith that it is possible, and that nothing is worth more than the “now”, the moment, the present… We travel with the strength of our muscles, with the wheels, with the motor of the motorcycle or the Van, with the enthusiasm and patience and strength of our children who accompany us. And with love, of course, with much love through thick and thin. However with the wind, like this, sometimes pushing us and others stopping us, not yet. Sometimes, on the way to the East by bicycle, we dreamed with Diego setting a sail for the tandem...

 

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Even though we could say that this story began sixteen years ago, or 5 days ago when we got on board, sometimes I think that it began a year ago, in China´s Himalayas, in the Yunnan Province. We lived in the mountain; we took care of hundreds of roses, forty chickens and a large garden. The house had no comforts, it was very old and the only room that was really isolated was the kitchen, with its stoves, its large mattress, its immense glass that overlooked the mountains, the gray peaks and the white peaks and below the forests of pine. That morning the wind blew, the light changed, everything was suddenly contrasted and beautified, and the four of us took refuge in the kitchen to watch the summer storm pass. And while rainbows formed and thundered and the peaks disappeared and the trees moved, we imagined us following that great journey of life aboard of a sailboat. Who did name it first? I can't say. There was a simply “can you imagine, if ..." And we start imagining. Diego captain was already looking at the horizon, Oiuna installed a few cats on board, Mael caught some huge fish and climbed the mast, I finally understood some authors that I adore while I discovered myself in the sea ... We were there when the phone vibrated. Someone called "Qi" told me that he was in the nearest village, that he had "followed us" for a long time, that he knew we were in the area, it would be nice to meet them ... Diego did not know who he or she was, "maybe a girl who I sold a painting to? ” he told me. I sent him our location, he told me he would come, by walking.

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The storm passed, as fast as it had appeared, and each one resumed their own activities. I began to write, Diego went to his workshop that had no walls, Oiuna returned to the henhouse to see if she could teach the chickens how to fly, and Mael resumed his patient search for mushrooms and snakes.

We had almost forgotten about Qi when he showed up, a little while after lunch. He was a man, about my age, a balance vibrated inside him, an energy of light and peace, made you want to smile and listen to him, made you want to stay beside him and settle in his silence. We started speaking Mandarin, quickly switched to English until we found out that he spoke French too: Qi had grown up in Chengdu, near the Tibetan quarter. He had lived in France where he studied nautical, and had sailed a lot. After years at the sea, he had settled in Lhasa, Tibet, to teach English to the little ones in a school. So far away from the sea. His trajectory seemed poetic, simple, obvious to me: like all those that have no foundations but instinct, those that are governed by laws that do not admit rationalities. Laughing, we shared the dream that we had cherished the morning itself. It was already evening when the five of us headed towards the monastery, in front of where Diego and Mael used to gather with the apprentice children and the monks to play soccer. They proposed to Qi to play, I proposed to him to stay. But he had to go. After hugging me he grabbed my hand and put something inside. With his hand he closed mine around the object that I have not seen, and he said, smiling: "so you can put it on your boat". Qi walked away, on the path that would take him back to town, hopefully before nightfall. I clenched my fist on that warm and cold object at the same time, which I would one day put on my sailboat. It was already a certainty.

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We decided to surrender to the sea and the world of the sea was open up. Carmelo, a captain, befriended us and took us sailing. He knows a lot, about ropes and sails, and winds and currents. He is a professional. However, he told us: “you already have a large part, the most important perhaps. You have the courage to do it, to cast off, to go on an adventure… I learn as much from you as you from me”. It seems to me that he was exaggerating a bit, but I appreciate the words. I will remember them, when I will face the sea.
 

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Now we are on board, we took that step, the ship appeared as magic and it was evident that was the one. Wonderful people also keep appearing who teach and accompany us. And in me that confidence is always affirmed that life is wise, that things are happening, if one manages to endure the wait and see the signs. Someone told me in a conference that we gave in Santander that it must be very hard to live so many adventures: the hard thing is not the adventure itself, but those inevitable stopover moments "between two", waiting, enduring, without luggages or houses where to rest, without school, without a palpable structure to lean on….the ground and support is only our faith that it will turn out well, that everything will work out...

Now yes, once again the hardest thing is done and a new and great and crazy adventure begins. In the center of the sailboat hangs the object that Qi gave me. He reminds us of the energy of those mountains, which we love so much, and which I sense have a lot to do with the sea.

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