In modern society, it seems that many of our connections are made in a world of algorithms, a superficial sphere where swipes and likes have replaced the more tactile world I grew up in. This seems intrinsically wrong; we need to be connected physically but we are increasingly isolated from one another, caught up in a world where our eyes and hands are fixed to our screens.
“I love it when a plan comes together.” That catchphrase that Hannibal Smith used in the eighties sitcom, The A-Team, could perfectly be the motto that has guided my professional career. I’m used to organising shoot productions, managing large teams, and to the volatility of people when working together. In my personal life, I have only recently learned to enjoy changing a route, any last-minute changes, and the excitement of improvisation. Therefore since I am by now used to plans going awry, I’m also well versed in re-routing them. Hence everything that happened on this bike tour around Val d’Aran didn’t lead to frustration.
Spain is known for its people and their energy. Dinners at 10:00 p.m. are not unheard of, if not mandatory, in order to fuel the even later “madrugada”—a word used to describe that amorphous and intoxicating time spent in the streets after midnight and before the sunrise with hundreds of other souls savoring every last scrap of their waking hours. When I visited Spain twenty years ago I was a sponge for this lifestyle and spent six months in Madrid soaking up the culture, the clubs, and the calimocho. But this trip would open my eyes to an entirely different Spain, one more suited to my forty-year-old self.
It was the speed at which it happened that shocked me the most. One minute Tomas and I were laughing hysterically as I tumbled into the snow for the umpteenth time, the next I was genuinely scared my buddy was about to collapse into some awful hypothermic coma. It was terrifying.