I was in Greece with my friend and her family and we decided to go on a bike ride around the island, it was my idea. We rented bikes and mine was a beautiful pink setup with a little wire basket on the front, like the ones you see in movies. It’s something I’d always wanted to do as I love bike riding but never really got the chance to do it at home, so the idea of biking around a beautiful island underneath the sun was an idea that definitely appealed to me.
We cycled all day, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d done a circle around the whole island – you’d think it would have been tiring but I was enjoying it so much that the adrenaline of feeling free was keeping me going, I don’t even think I felt it. We went to many places and stopped off at a couple of restaurants on the way, parking our bikes outside and sitting down for a cool drink. We visited the tops of what felt like many hills but the view was always worth it, we were looking out across the whole island – I’m very grateful I got to see it.
There was one point where we were cycling up what seemed to be a mountain, it was steep and seemed like it went on forever but I was determined to reach the other side because what was waiting for us was apparently unmissable – a hot spring. I wanted to see it.
I’m not sure how, but I ended up pulling away from the rest of the group. I was so determined to get there that I was pedalling and pedalling and before I knew it, there was no one else in site. I thought about waiting but the thought of reaching my destination got the better of me and so I continued on, I wish I had a photo of it to share but all that lay before me was an open road and an open sky. The sun was beating down on me and there wasn’t a single cloud that I could see, the crystal blue ocean lapped around the cliffs below and the only thing you could see for miles were little white houses and the surrounding ocean.
I cycled down the open road which luckily, was on a slant – I’d made the ascent and now it was time to make my way back down the other side, towards the hot springs. I reached the corner of the cliff and still couldn’t see a single person, but I didn’t want to turn the corner and be out of sight when everyone made their way up, so I decided to wait. I parked my bike on its stand and sat on the edge of the clifftop, looking out at the ocean and houses below. There was not a single other person in sight, not a single sound, not a single movement. It was just me, alone, with my bike, sat underneath the sun on the top of this cliff with an empty road and sky surrounding me.
I remember sitting there and acknowledging that this was one of those moments in life I would always remember and want to go back to, I forced my eyes shut and told myself to remember that moment for everything it was. I was the only person in the world at that time. I was sitting on the edge of the world and I’d never felt so free. My bike stood parked behind me, its wheels and stand digging into the dusty floor that I was now sitting on, but I didn’t care. I wrapped my arms around myself and stared out at the ocean, the sea, the sky. There was nothing. There were no cars on the road behind me, no people, no birds, no clouds, no plants, no sound, no nothing. Just me, the sun in the sky, the ocean, the empty road and the bike that had got me there. It was the quietest place on Earth, I was what felt like the only person for miles – the only sign of life, and yet I’d never felt more at home. I’d never felt such a sense of comfort.
I’d never felt so peaceful, so calm. I remember sitting there knowing that this was a time I’d wish to come back to years down the line, because at that moment I was the only person in the world and I’d never loved myself more. It was just me. I was the only sound, the only movement, the only thing that existed. Nature and I were truly at one together, the world had created this moment for me, and me only, and I would never get it back.
I probably sat there for half an hour at most, but it felt like forever. I didn’t want to leave but I knew everyone was probably wondering where I was, so I forced myself back onto my bike and pedalled back up the open road I’d just travelled down. I eventually found the others and we made the decision not to carry on biking as some of us were getting tired, and so we pedalled back to a restaurant we’d visited earlier that day and sat down for another cool drink.
I never got to visit the spring, but that didn’t matter, because I’d experienced something much better. I’d experienced myself. It’s a feeling you won’t understand unless you’ve lived it, but feeling like you’re the only person in the world gives you a sense of an undying love for your own being, because I was truly and utterly alone in that moment I sat on the clifftop, and yet not once did I feel lonely. I felt warm. I felt safe. I felt home.
That was 3 years ago, but I still think of it from time to time. Maybe I’ll go back there one day, to my little clifftop in Greece. Maybe I’ll see what else it has to offer me. I’ve said it before but there are some moments in life I like to get down on paper because I never want to lose them, and this is one of them. This is a feeling I always want to remember. I wish you could feel it too. I hope you get the chance one day.
I should have carved my name on the cliff looking back on it now, or wrote my name in the dust only for it to be swept away again. It reminds me of this quote, which is one of my favourites and yet one I never share. I think now is the right time.
“I want to carve our names on a rock in every country, so that one day if we are no longer together,
on a hidden wall in Malaysia,
we still are.”
All my love,