We have been robbed

When I get robbed, I can get really pissed off. If they were at least master thieves, then I might feel some kind of sympathy. Do you remember “Dagobert” (Arno Funke) or have you ever heard of the Sass brothers. At the latest with Robin Hood everyone agrees with me, we are sympathetic to this kind of thief. The master thief is a particularly cunning and courageous thief. He has learned his thieving profession like a righteous craftsman and he has advanced from apprentice to journeyman and finally to master. But when it comes to our own belongings, such thieves cannot be funny enough for us to sympathize with them.

I have a bond with my bicycle

If someone stole my bicycle, I don’t know what I would do.

My bicycle even has a name “Lilo”, before the “gender change” it was light blue and called “Blauchen”. But it’s still the same bicycle. Every now and then a few changes, but just the same bicycle. By the way, Klaus’ bicycle is called “Gelblein”. It was always yellow.

Our bicycles have no branding. In 2008 Klaus and I started to look for these parts together for a touring one. Most important part, the Rohloff Speedhub for the gears.

Together (Klaus, me, Gelblein and Lilo, aka Blauchen) we have experienced a lot, really a lot. We always like to look at them again, even after 15 years. When they stand there like that and wait for us. And when they carry us and all our luggage and we move on, kilometer by kilometer.

Getting rid of some weight

After we arrived in India we decided to send our winter clothes (there will be no temperatures below 25C for the time being) our stove (India and Asia the land of street food) to friends in New Zealand. A risk, because a package from India seemed to us already quite reckless. The joy was great when it arrived there in New Zealand and was safely stowed in our friends basement waiting for us. 2 months later came the news: the cellar has been cleaned out by thieves.

Ortlieb bags, clothes, stove, tripod, all gone. I’m going crazy. I’m a bicycle guide in Berlin and also earn money from time to time with photo workshops. It was some tough time to save the money for everything needed for the trip. And now someone has stolen from us and really a lot of money, just gone. Of course, it’s also about the emotions, because these things were incredibly valuable to us. Not only in monetary value. Besides what we still have with us, that’s all we still own. And that is not much anyway. Each piece was carefully considered, selected and found important. That’s why it was with us.

For days after the news, I sat on my bicycle, quite dejected. It hurt and I cried. Knowing that they are just things we lost, it was interesting how my body and thoughts reacted.

They are just things and yet there is an emotional attachment

Maybe I just take too much responsibility for things and from that there is an attachment.

This would also explain why many long term travelers can leave their bicycles behind at the end of their trip. We’ve met a few and marveled at how carefree they travel around. Few can patch a tube. Change brake pads? They’re more likely to take a bus to the next town to get problems solved on their bicycles. Since they have never taken any responsibility, have no idea how to patch a tube or lubricate a chain, they can’t build up any emotional attachment to the bicycle.

It’s not uncommon for us to become grubby kids when we work on our bicycles. Cleaning and maintaining them. And yes, I like being a grungy. We take care of them. We regularly check tire pressure, tighten bolts, maintain the chain and a few other things.

Back to what all is no longer there

These for sure with no master in steeling things, those thieves have stolen mainly used clothing. They were not particularly cunning or brave. They were just brazen, mean and stupid thieves.

And today, another 2 months later, we hardly remember the things. We have forgotten what else we had with us and we will start to miss the winter clothes earliest when it gets cold again. We will buy a new stove in Australia and for everything else we will wait and see if we need it.

The good news for today, 60% of the material loss has been paid by the insurance. Lucky us.

Loss and responsibility in our relationship

This also has something to do with our relationship. Klaus and Andrea. We are allowed to be flawed, to be dirty, to show weakness and to ask for help. Of course the usual free space is missing in our relationship. Usually, in the morning we go to work and in the evening we see each other again. But how much free space does Klaus expect, how much do I? Isn’t it rather the problem in a relationship when the expectations are different? 

Who dictates what kind of free space is important?  And how much responsibility do I have to take for my partner?

Every relationship needs a good measure of closeness and distance. How this measure looks like, we decide ourselves. So why should it be more difficult to exist on such a journey as a couple. The only advantage or disadvantage is that difficulties cannot simply be ignored.

To make this journey without Klaus is unimaginable for me. I need a counterpole and teammate. He is reflection and at the same time my accumulator.

Distance takes place for example when he learns new programming languages and I explore the area with the camera. Distance also takes place while riding the bicycle. Everyone is with his own thoughts. Closeness always takes place when things get difficult, when we take care of food or have time to talk to each other, to philosophize or listen to podcasts together.

Of course, we never agree on everything. Then it’s a matter of weighing up how important one’s own point of view is. So if Klaus doesn’t want to give me any of his chips, because he’s afraid of losing them, or I don’t want to give him any of my chocolate, then it can get difficult.

Everyone would like to appear strong and competent at all times and, if possible, never vulnerable.
Failures are concealed, mistakes hidden. Being a grubby child or being robbed by “master thieves” feels like one’s own failure. But this is nonsense. When eye level is created, we show ourselves human and approachable. This gives us the opportunity to achieve much more together, e.g. to master crises successfully.

Of course, we must also be willing to take on all the work that comes with this kind of traveling: Stuffing socks, cooking, washing clothes, maintaining and repairing bicycles, planning routes, arranging visas, cutting each other’s hair, shopping, washing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning bags….
Does this sound familiar? 🙂

And besides all that Klaus is of course the perfect Partner to take me with my craziness to photography 🙂

We take responsibility for each other and for ourselves.
We are travelers and want to experience life, not escape from it.


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