The Road Goes Forward

Road between Chile and Argentina
Everything passes
Everything changes
Just do what you think you should do
— Bob Dylan


The road is full of curves and it goes forward

Back in 2010 while living in North West London, I was bartending in a pretty cool bar and I was also taking some workshops of documentary making at London City University. That year, to skip a piece of the winter, I decided to spend 1 month in Cuba. Apart from the tourist resorts destinations, I covered up a good chunk of the island in February. 

Having spent the last 3 years prior that sharing a house (Casambuca) with 2 Argentinean, friends of mine, I was speaking ‘Portunhol’ quite well and I could interact more with the locals. I met a lot of interesting folks, most of them were either a musician or a doctor. No joke. 

I remember talking to a lot of folks one night at 'Casa de La Trova' down in Santiago de Cuba, and what made me really think was that most of the people I met there, were happy. I don't mean 6/7 mojitos happy as I was most of the time, I mean proper happy. The funny thing is that some of them seem to have a fine amount of that on Monday mornings too. 

I started to wonder

Hang on a minute! Shall I study medicine, become a doctor and drive a taxi as a second job or become a musician and have a second job as a tour guide and received second-hand t shirts as payments? 

Both of it had the kind of happiness I was looking for. Any of them would do really as I remember being so tired of self-criticism and self-judgments, nothing wasn't really good and really satisfying. Obviously, I didn't know back then what I know today, and being flooded with information and opportunities didn't help me either.  

I am not glamorizing communism and poverty, but Cuba's raw simplicity made me question myself if I really needed to chase all the stuff I was chasing. Why was I never satisfied and being so hard on myself? What is it that you need to be happy? I had countless booze filled conversations with my friends on that topic.  

I continue to wander and I start to research.

Anyways, I put the documentary making course inside my Ikea blue bag full of stuff that I started and never finished and decided to truly chase what I really wanted. One thing I knew for sure, I didn't want to be part of the highly competitive and comparative society I was in. At least not full time. I got bored of it. 

I changed roads

Soon after that I also realized that to choose what you love and actually follow it its a pretty difficult business. Sometimes you love a lot of stuff, sometimes you don't love stuff enough. While I was most in doubt, I started chasing what made me the happiest. And even if that sounds silly, immature, naive, hard to achieve and Impossible at first. I kind of knew that If I was chasing something that was meaningful to me I would stop being so hard on myself.

I knew I could do anything from flipping burgers to pourin' pints that It would be acceptable to me.  Not that there is something wrong on pourin' pints, I actually love it, but as I was getting older (age wise) I had a kind of pressure on me saying that I wasn't good enough. Somehow knowing that at least I was doing that to achieve something bigger, I felt better and stop caring if what others would think of it. 

Fuck it, let's go traveling! 

Since then I have tried to spent every penny I make on travel. I did a ton of different things in the past years, I worked as a bartender,  as a bar manager, did some gardening, I was DJing 'hock and holl' on weekends, worked in factories, sold art paints online and much more. 

I used to take long holidays of 2, 3 and sometimes 4 months and go traveling somewhere to continue my research. 

Sometimes fear of me getting old without any financial stability would knock my door but the experiences I was getting from the road made my life a lot richer.

The road that had a large curve in Cuba. The same road that sometimes gets dirty, dark and rainy and more curves. Sometimes also gets blue skies days and has a giant ball of fire illuminating everything around. 

The road changes. We change. It all changes. All the time 

The same road taught me that the only and true sense of responsibility we actually need to make sure to have is to keep on driving, moving, going forward, toward that imaginary goal you created with all the little things you love that makes you a better and and a happier person. We can slow down, drive only 5, 10 km per hour, and if something happens and you must stop, stop. It's okay. Have a look around. Once you feel like driving again you drive. But try drive towards something that makes you happy. 

What is it that makes you happy?

Think about it. And in case you don't know or have any doubts, hit the road. 

Join the club. 

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe


plural noun: milestones
a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
a significant stage or event in the development of something.

The road consists in small milestones.

 After living in a Rehab center for 3,5 months and then back in Brazil with mum for about 6 months, I moved back to Sweden and started living by myself. I remember when I moved all my stuff to my new apartment and close the doors behind me, I remember when I went to the supermarket by myself, the first time I cooked Mexican and the first time I changed my duvet cover.

Every time time did something for the first time I remember going to bed super happy like a little child that climbed a mango tree for the first time!

The funny thing is that only after losing all this little things that seem so insignificant and I used to take it for granted, I started valorizing them.

This is why I feel grateful about my injury. Somehow, I am becoming happier with my small (and most of the time, ‘insignificant’) milestones. I am learning how to appreciate the small things, the little stuff, the stuff you don't think about if you don't need to think about it.

Don’t take me wrong, spinal cord injury still is and always will be shit, but I wonder if I would have the same level of life acceptance, self awareness and patience if I had not been injured. Probably not. So thats a good thing.

Talking about good things

Roddy 01  X  00 Spinal cord injury

Roddy 01  X  00 Spinal cord injury

Last October I went to one of my best friend's wedding, in Mexico. 

I confess that I was quite afraid and a bit nervous but I left my apartment door, took a cab, 2 trains, 3 planes and 32 hours later I was arriving in Guadalajara, I had a backpack hanging on the back of my wheelchair and one in my lap. I had a few issues but I did it all by myself. I was super happy. On this same trip, my friends helped me to surf for the first time, I danced for the fist time and I also experienced a hurricane for the first time.  

I came back to Sweden with a backpack full of milestones and it was when I started beating depression, it was when I realised that with a good planning traveling still possible. 

That trip boosted my self-esteem and replaced my fear with confidence. 


That's what traveling does to you. 

Soon after that I started building this website and also doing some research to find out what was left on the plate for me. 

I found out that they have a 'disabled-friendly' wagon from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian express and also a rental car company that rents out hand control driven cars down in New Zealand. Fuck yeah! 

There is a 'fuck yeah!' feeling that pops up every time you discover that you are still able to do the stuff you love. Sometimes you get it every week, sometimes everyday. And I feel very grateful to be able to experience some of those from time to time. 

Every day there is little something to be grateful for. 

When I think of driving in New Zealand I think of something that for me, today, right now, its huge! It's far away. It's a distant goal.

And the goal is not really the goal; the goal, is just an imaginary point that you create to have some kind of direction. What really matters is the daily, small insignificant things that you do, those ones that brings you small doses of instant inner happiness and gratitude. Small daily doses of 'fuck yeahs!'.

The goal is just there, the real and the Important stuff is the road. The road that leads to it. When Kerouac quoted 'the road is life', I believe he was right, the road is what has the most value, and by the road I mean the journey, the small daily milestones toward something that today, for you, Is big. 

I believe that If you can still collect small milestones every now and then and be grateful for them, you are winning. 

Both thumps up.  

My milestone this week will be to start going twice a week to Funkibator, the NGO where I am currently working. It's kind of a Rehabilitation Program in a working environment, where I am learning what I can still do, how much I can work, how long I can sit still in my wheelchair before my spasticity goes crazy and stuff like that.

Funkibator is a place where everyone with a disability or a health condition has a  job that suits their needs,  it’s really amazing because it enable folks to take control of their lives, do stuff and become more independent.

It's all set to be a beautiful week. 

I hope yours would be too.

Enjoy the road folks, celebrate your  small milestones, enjoy the little things, be a winner. 

Fuck yeah!

Roddy X 

The Road is Life

Texas Usa

Texas Usa

The road is life
— Jack Kerouac

Hi and welcome to my first blog post.

The road for me is where life happens. 

Firstly I must say that I am still quite brand new on this “living with spinal cord injury, blogging and wheelchair travelling” and as amongst many other things in life, I will learn it during the process, while making it. I am glad I figured out what I am gonna do, now I just need to figure out how I am gonna make this happen, but that is the fun part.

This is kick off journey where I am gonna blog about going back to the road.

I hope there will be someone out there that will benefit and learn something from it.

Anyways, I hope you are all well and thanks for being here.

Roddy X