Many family and friends are probably wondering why we changed our names, so here is the low down.
When we decided to start up a blogsite, our first task was coming up with a name. We tossed around several names but nothing seemed quite right. Fin was keen on 12 Legs East; however, I argued it will be at least eight months before we even start heading east. All the names I threw out were quickly dismissed. We were at a standstill.
As we were going through this somewhat painful brainstorming process, I was reading Michael Ondaatje’s novel Divisdero. For those of you haven’t heard of Ondaatje, a Canadian author most famous for his book The English Patient, I highly recommend you give him a read. A main thread in Divisdero is a French poet’s friendship with a gypsy family in the Gers region of France (which we happened to be cycling through at the time).
The more I read about the gypsy family the more I started seeing similarities between their way of life and ours. Although we were cycling and not traveling by caravan, we were basically living the life of stereotypical gypsies. We were carrying everything we owned on our bicycles, making our journey up as we went along, depending entirely on one another, ‘free’ camping wherever we could find a flat enough spot to lay our tent, washing our laundry and ourselves in rivers, and I was even wearing a skirt albeit not as long and colorful as a gypsy skirt. “Come on Fin”, I prodded, “This describes us, we are the Cycling Gypsies!” Fin reflected for a while, hoed and hummed as men do, and with a little more persuasion on my part, we were to become the Cycling Gypsies.
From the book I also learned of the gypsy practice of giving a child three separate names:
-a “secret” name given and known only by the mother to confuse the evil spirits
-a “gypsy” name to be used by other gypsies
-a “common” name to be used in the general public
I said to Fin, “Now that we are the “Cycling Gypsies” it would be fitting to have gypsy names.” Fin was a bit more receptive to this idea and surprisingly it took us no time at all to choose new names for ourselves. Perhaps our inner gypsies were just waiting to get out.