We are facing a rite of passage, an initiation. Together, we have to find a way, a new balance in our nomadic life.
Okinawa welcomes us in the perturbations of the world, in a political scene that no longer make sense, in anger deeply hidden in the heart of the people. The American base with all that it symbolically carries is the visible image. Yet the islands of immortality have a magic that slowly unfolds along our journey. We immerse ourselves in the high energies of the place, in the ancestral wisdom that vibrates in these islands.
Reinventing a new balance
We are facing a rite of passage, an initiation. Together, we have to find a way, a new balance in our nomadic life. Reinventing it with who we are now. We dive into our mutual instability and fragility, into our buried pains, into our reaction patterns. The fire energy vibrates in us. Anger is omnipresent. It pushes us to the explosion in a whirlwind unfolding doubts, anger, fears, pains in each of us. We do not know if we are able to continue.
At the same time this imbalance pathway is also up to the big leap we have to take. We plunge again into the unknown. Physically the steep climbs of the islands are a challenge, often more than 15%, and our bikes are so heavy. In the first three days, we have to sort out our equipment and get rid of the inessential. For the rest, the body will get used to it, but it is strenuous, demanding and obviously reduces our mental resistance. Our equipment plays tricks on us, and the time spent on repairs sacrifices the precious moments of playing together. Fibie must embrace her bike trailer, and she starts to diversify her diet. At times, her teeth bother her. So her sleep is sometimes peaceful, sometimes it is paced by many awakenings, which offer us a difficult start to the day and a fatigue that accumulates.
For Nayla, it is not so easy to find her balance. She must reinvent it, finding her place in this nomadic life the four of us. To top it off, the weather also plays tricks, between a howling and icy wind and some precipitation. We are also had to face a storm and torrential rains. There has never been so much water under the tent, we literally float. Xavier is then forced to dig ditches to evacuate the water and I stay locked up for 10 hours in the tent with Fibie and Nayla. In this tiny space trying to manage the emotions of both.
In the midst of our emotional waves, we feel that there is a conscious choice to make. That of being in the journey again, welcoming everything that happens. From the magic that unfolds at each curve, to the difficulties that accompany us.
Island to Island
We are going north from island to island. The landscapes are truly amazing. They captivate us. Nature shows its purity. Each one of these islands reveals its face, its panoramas and atmospheres. The colour of the ocean seems to belong to the dream world. The blues are magical, the sand white, the water is so clear. The hills are plunging into the ocean and bright red hibiscus flowers are blooming, symbol of the Okinawa Islands. The spirit of the turtle is with us, Nayla has called them many times and hoped to meet them so much. And magic happened, Nayla could swim with one of them!
The meetings are moving. Nayla is invited in the schools to follow some classes and learns how to plant the rice. She also learns to fish with Zamami San family, who welcomes us with open arms. Besides, they don’t let us go without making an omamori, a protective handmade talisman with shells that we picked up on the beach. These talisman are now on our bikes, protecting us. Nayla painted with Ichiro San on the washi, the traditional Japanese paper. We appreciate the unique paintings of this artist, the animals that seem to be alive, and the use of space, like deep breaths. With Chica, they make us taste the flavours of this island, small octopus, grape seaweed, raw fish, Okinawa tofu.
Then Masahiro is the surprising encounter. We meet him for the first time as he comes out of the water at the first light of dawn with his harpoon and his hood. Every morning at 2 am, he enters the cold water and dive in search of the seafood. Lobsters, gigantic shells, fish, crabs, which he catches every day in apnea.He is so expressive that we instantly understand him. At 9 am, he invites us to eat sashimi, raw fish, an incredible treat savoured with beer and sake.
VOLCANIC LAND – MT ASO
We feel that we are starting to find a balance, to be fully nomads again. We feed on each light, each atmosphere, each meeting in the sumptuous landscapes that we discover.
The mountains appear, the ones we are waiting for, the ones that guide us through Kyushu Island. They culminate at 1,500 m altitude, bare of the luxuriant vegetation which usually covers the summits. We enter the sanctuary of Aso Volcano. When we arrive in Minamiaso, we are greeted by Mr Kira San, the mayor of the region, and Yamamoto San, the manager of the Mount Bell store of Minami Aso. We taste the specialties of the region: basashi, raw horse meat; as well as shabu-shabu, a beef hot pot. Then we learn how to make soba noodles, made with buckwheat flower.
We are in a sacred place that vibrates the power of volcanoes. It is one of the places where men and volcanoes coexist, the traditional houses stand out facing the peaks, men and women are linked to this land and its sumptuous landscapes.
Aso volcano is alive. It is also one of the most active in Japan. Its caldera is one of the largest in the worlds. There is greatness in this place, the dimensions are gigantic and we have the feeling we belong to a powerful nature that surpasses us. Connected to the millennial history of these volcanoes, to the geology of this place, we dive into its fire energy.
Humble, powerful, impressive, sumptuous, and at times certainly terrifying. We are at their feet, and instantly we vibrate in harmony with this place. The mountains call for elevation, for a breath of freedom, humility and authenticity.
Nayla says out loud what we all feel deep inside as we leave. “Why do we have to leave? I’m sad.” We too are touched by this region and its inhabitants, here the welcome is extraordinary, the scenery sumptuous, and friendships are created.