07 October 2011


Three major efforts and a number of minor ones come together on one fantastic day. And to cap it, I'm sitting in this random town's most popular bar, which happens to be attached to the inexpensive and historic refugi I'm staying in. I'm drinking a quinta, a Catalan word for small beer. Speaking Spanish, I learn Catalan. Speaking Spanish, those Catalans who speak a bit of broken English prefer my 2nd language to theirs.

Leaving Reus (outskirts of Barcelona) this morning, I pedaled towards Lleida 60 miles away, my first stop on the way to Amsterdam. A late 1130 start as I said goodbye to a new Spanish friend with an irresistible accent, I rode North West. Into a headwind and over a mountain pass 2000 feet high, I realized my breezy 100 kilometer plan was a bit ambitious if I hoped to avoid injury over consecutive weeks of cycling. Making probably the best decision of the trip, I only pedaled a third of the way, stopping here in the mountain town of Cornudella de Montsant. Rather than feeling beat, my legs feel happily fatigued and ready for tomorrow. As I ease into this trip, the 60 mile days will come soon with far less risk of problems, paving way for 100-mile days. I had all but forget, but cycling 400 miles in 4 days in Gotland, Sweden did leave me with a sore achilles that took a week of resting to heal.

But besides an awesome day of riding in Catalonia including my first and thrilling European mountain-descent, I too found the working vacation I've been seeking. Having largely struggled the last 3.5 months to get much non-pleasure things done, I've decided to combine my riding with plenty of non-riding time spent job searching, writing, and entrepreneuring. What cooler way to get work done than to have 2-6+ hours of cycling every day balanced by endeavors that only requires the 3.5 lb laptop in my pannier and a wifi connection? Without the usual legion of distractions plus a the benefit of extensive daily exertion/meditating, I'm on to something brilliant.

And yesterday I solved a necessary logistical step that provides the illusion of geographic location while actually freeing me. What's that? A US phone number that reaches me anywhere in the world. And today I put it to use. A startup seeking to import commodities from third world countries, after finding my website, contacted Edward and me. Setting up a meeting in DC, Edward met in person while I could conference in. We are moving forward on coffee importing. Not only that, but this number and my new work schedule has allowed me to set some additional appointments in the US that I've been hoping to do for the last 3 weeks.

Up next, I'm looking to hire the virtual assistant I've been talking about for months. So as I cycle, work get done. Indeed, brilliant.

Working on my third miniature beer, I'm at a decision point: do I stay at the bar or head upstairs and read? Pulling off another remote accomplishment, today I checked out a digital copy of Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 from the San Francisco library. Downloading it to my phone, I travel with an 800 page book without it's corporal burden.

Having fun,

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