Thursday, 4 July 2013

a year on the road in words

Very simply: people.

We have seen some wonderful landscapes and marvellous art and architecture and cities and this is what we had hoped to find.  What we had not foreseen was the generous hospitality we have experienced along our route and how it has affected us.  It's been a wonderful opportunity for us to visit old friends and fellow travellers.  In addition we have made many new friends thanks to Couch Surfing, Warm Showers as well as what we call Spontaneous Acts of Kindness.  It's a striking thought that in our modern world where we are cautious, perhaps distrustful, of outsiders, there are still many people willing to open their doors to strangers.  

Of these people we know their names, but there have also been innumerate occasions when we have been greeted and helped by people whom we do not know: passersby asking about our journey, the farmer in Sicily inviting us to stay longer in his field, the other cyclists who have returned our greetings, the woman in Tunis who gave us her mobile phone to make a call, the man who bought us coffee and biscuits on a rainy day in Norway, the waves, horn toots and shouts of encouragement from passing motorists..........

All of this has helped us along our way.  We are also extremely grateful to the support and contact from family and friends.

We are often bemused when people comment on how courageous and adventurous we are, cycling around like this.  However, the world is not such a dangerous place as the news bulletins would have you feel and it is very rare that when you ask for help the request is refused.  For this we are very thankful and we look forward to the forthcoming year on the road.

Radovan cycled with us for a few kilometres.  When a man suggested we were crazy for heading into the mountains Radovan shook his head and said "Not crazy"


  1. wonderful comments, thank you.

  2. This is so reaffirming - that the world is mostly a wonderful place to be. I've just been reading a very sad (but practical I guess) bit of advice on how to avoid being targeted by pickpockets which included: the following:
    "Don’t stop, don’t be helpful, don’t be friendly.
    Do walk purposefully, say “No” loudly & agressively, do report thefts.
    To expand on that :
    there’s little likelihood you will have dropped anything so try not to react when someone suggests you have.
    if someone appears to drop a handful of change or similar on the metro or other crowded place don’t help them pick it up.
    if someone asks if you speak English & looks in need of help or directions, ignore them & walk on."
    I know one has to be vigilant but I hope I never get so paranoid!

  3. Sounds like an American in Paris or just an ordinary Londoner? I'm sure this advice keeps pickpockets away but it'd also make for a lousy and alienating travel experience. Pickpockets work in groups in crowded places and go for tourists who are likely carrying cash. Our only rule is the no touching rule - unless you've been introduced. Touristy places may attract scam artists, but most of the time, on a bike, you are going where most tourists don't.