Since I began this journey, people have been telling me how brave I am. That I’m brave for doing it alone, for going to concerts, amusement parks, baseball games and even restaurants alone. The thing is, I don’t feel very brave for doing it. Since the very beginning, I’ve been very determined to do this on my own, and to not let anything stop me from living my dream. And within that dream are all the little things that most people would never consider doing alone, like going to a concert or go ride roller coasters. But to me, that just seems very silly. If I let the fact that I’m alone stop me, I would never get much done at all, and thats not how I want to live my life. And I’m never lonely, as I’m constantly meeting fun people that I can interact with. So I don’t think it’s brave at all, I’m just trying to enjoy life and have a good time, that’s all. And I think the whole idea that you’re not “supposed” to do some things alone is ridiculous, if you want to do something, just go for it! I promise you will enjoy it.
And I’m having a very good time, that’s for sure.
I got in the car and left Santa Claus on Saturday morning. It was a pretty pleasant drive, I once again rocked out to Taylor Swift in the car (if you follow me on Facebook you might have noticed…) and arrived at my hotel in St Louis at around 14 in the afternoon. Since I booked my hotel two days in advance and it’s a very busy weekend, I didn’t have too many options but luckily my favorite brand: the Hampton Inn had available rooms and this is the view I’m currently enjoying.
Can’t complain about that view!
I decided to go for a walk, and I had barely gotten outside of the hotel when someone asked “are you going to the game?” I had no idea what game he was talking about, but it turned out that I was very close to the Busch ballpark where St Louis’ baseball team the Cardinals are based. I decided to walk over there, and on a whim I walked up to one of the ticket booths and asked if they had any left. They did, so I just thought “why not” and that’s how I ended up spending my Saturday evening watching the Cardinals take on the Chicago Cubs in front of a 46 000 person strong crowd. Since the accident this has kind of become a “spare no expenses, do all the fun things!” kind of trip, and I love it. I just think “I could have died!” and suddenly nothing is too expensive or out of my reach. We should always live with that attitude, in my opinion. Life is precious, and we only get one chance.
Before the game I walked around some more, and then went back to change and to apply more sunscreen if I happened to end up seated in the sun all afternoon.
After some rest at the hotel I walked back to the park, and decided that if I was going to participate in America’s favorite past time, I needed to do it fully. So yeah, I had some hot dogs and beer. So happy to be out of dry county! Even though I get slightly offended every time they ask me for ID, I don’t look that young…
As the game began, I realized that all those games of softball my PE teacher Kattis made me play in junior high actually payed off, because I actually understood some of the rules and what was happening. Well, some, not all. And here is the thing about traveling alone again that I love, had I been at the game with someone else, I would most likely have spent all night talking to them and not interacted with anyone else. And this might come to a surprise to anyone who has ever known me, but when traveling alone I actually become pretty outgoing and talkative. Yes, it’s true! So I decided to talk to the people sitting next to me, to try to get to know them better. And that’s when my night got even better.
On the other side I sat next to Thelma and Janet who were there with their husbands. Also Cardinals fans, and Janet lives in North Carolina so it was fun talking about my experience cycling through her state. Such extremely nice people, I couldn’t have asked for better company.
Basically I just had a great time, the game was fun and the people I met was great and I’m just so incredibly thankful and happy for how welcome I feel wherever I go. As I was walking home later that night I just couldn’t stop smiling because of how happy I felt. And the Cardinals won so that helped a lot too. I’m definitely a Cards fan now!
The ballpark has a beautiful view of the Gateway Arch.
Happy, happy, happy!
This morning I had a ticket to go up into Gateway Arch at 9:30 in the morning, which can seem early, but since I came to the US I haven’t been able to sleep for longer than 7 a single day. At home I usually can’t get up before 9…
This is the place where I went to pick up my ticket. Pretty cool.
Gateway Arch was built between 1963-1965 and is 192 meters/630 feet high, and is also known as the gateway to the west. It’s a very impressive sight to see, and it only costs $10 to go up which I thought was super cheap.
We got to ride in tiny little trams that took 5 people each in 8 tiny cars. One of the women riding in mine suffered from claustrophobia, she did not enjoy the 4 minute ride to the top…
But once up there the view made up for the ride. On one side you can see all of St Louis which is in the state of Missouri, and on the other side you can see the east side of the city, which is in the state of Illinois. It’s divided by the Mississippi river.
The ballpark is on the left side, and my hotel is the red building in the right corner by the road.
It was a lot of fun visiting the arch, and I’m glad I did, but 10 minutes at the top was enough for me. I walked back to the hotel to get Elsa the Bike and walk over to a nearby bike shop. As we were walking we came across the St Louis Pride Parade! I had absolutely no idea that it was happening today, but I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I love Pride Parades, how can celebrating love ever be wrong? Everyone is so happy, and especially with the historic decision to legalize gay marriage in the United States the other day. Finally it’s just “marriage”, no matter who you are.
But then it was time to take Elsa to the bike shop, and after having given her a once over I was told she was working fine and there’s nothing wrong with her. I didn’t even have to pay for it. I did buy a new pair of cycling gloves though, without the old pair I’m pretty sure my hand would have been ripped open, now the glove took most of it thankfully.
So Elsa is fine, but I can’t really say that I am yet. Clapping my hands at the baseball game hurt like you wouldn’t believe it, and it’s still very sore both to touch and when I squeeze my hand in a fist. The bruise is fading pretty fast, but I honestly thought it would be better by now.
I have been very honest on this blog up until now, and I want to keep being that. The truth is that I’ve been thinking a lot. Or more like my brain has been working overtime trying to think of what I really want out of this adventure. Cycling was fun and challenging, and though hard, I enjoyed it and it’s why I decided to actually quit my job and travel the world. But these past few days have just been amazing. I’ve enjoyed being able to be more spontaneous, and to be able to have more options when it comes to what I do and what I see. And I’ve been thinking of how amazing it would be to be able to travel America for the next two months and see all the sights, like Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, go down to Nashville and listen to music, continue on to Texas and see what it has to offer, maybe even go down to Florida, or google where the best 4th of July celebration is and go there simply because I can…
But the point of the adventure was to cycle the world. And I still want to do that. It kind of feels like I would let people down if I change the adventure now, and that I would let myself down too. But I want to be able to travel more freely too, to just grab a backpack and get on a bus or train instead from time to time. If I could somehow solve that logistically I probably would, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet…
So right now I’m very confused. And it doesn’t help that my hand still hurts. Tomorrow I’m returning the car and spending Monday and Tuesday at Six Flags, but from Wednesday the schedule is empty, and for the first time it kind of scares me. Whatever route I choose, I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself immensely and have a lot of fun, but first I have to make the choice. And at this point I have no idea what that choice might be. Especially since I’m not even sure that I’ll actually be able to cycle without being in pain on Wednesday…
If you have any thoughts that could help, I would appreciate it a lot. Any feedback is appreciated right now.
Let’s finish this post off with the beautiful view from my room this evening. It looks like a painting.