We went to see a young couple speak in Beaumont last night about adventure cycling. Claudine Arnaud, 33, and Olivier Borot, 30, are in the middle of a three-year trip around the world on bicycle. They have completed the first of five very distinct legs of their journey, following parts of the Silk Road for seven months in 2009.
We chatted a bit with them after the talk. They rolled out their bikes with their gear for everyone to see. Rémy & I have the exact same bikes as them. The exact same bike racks on the back. The exact same mud guards. The same odometer. It was crazy. It felt like looking at exactly what I want to be doing at exactly this moment. It has started again, that flame, that slow burn that drives me to travel.
Of course their trip was different from the route we want to travel, and their budget much different from ours. They traveled by plane and train several times, as they will continue to do throughout their adventure. They stated that they often stayed in hotels, which we will most likely avoid. And this leg was much shorter than what we plan on doing throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. But the principle is very much the same. Leave on bicycle. Travel the world. Tell others about it.
Of course I spent most of this morning reading other bicycle adventure favorites, specifically Peter Gostelow's journeys. In 2005 he decided to return home to the UK from Japan, where he had spent a few years teaching English. His three-year 30,000-mile journey across 30 countries, is documented as A Long Ride Home, which he updated from the road. It is witty and engaging, incredibly clever, and his photos are simply stunning. Plus it covers quite a chunk of the countries we are planning on visiting on our own journey. He travels closer to our style; low-budget, lots of wild camping & pasta-eating with limited to no shower time.
He is currently back in the saddle, this time heading south across Africa. He is still in Europe for the moment though his days there are limited, as he should be reaching the Strait of Giblraltar any day now. This time his journey is not solely for the thrill of the ride; he is hoping to raise awareness (and funds) about malaria in Africa. One in five child deaths in Africa is directly caused by malaria. He is helping fund and distribute mosquito nets throughout his trip.
Which leads me to our trip. Almost two years in the making now, and set to take place in yet another three, we still have much work to do. Rémy & I have been trying to decide on a cause for our own journey. Originally it was to help organize, network and fund The Global Education Organization, a non-profit we were supposed to help set up with some friends. Unfortunately that seems to have come to a dead end, and we are back at ground zero. For the moment, all we really know is that Rémy wants to make a documentary about human relations, I want to photograph and write a book about our travels, and we need more money. We would love to add a cause, sponsors, newsletters and a valid webpage (ours is quite sad at the moment). It's still in phase one and I am itching to move on to the phase where we've already decided all the ground rules and really get to dig in. Hopefull we'll get there soon.
In the meantime, I suppose I'll just keep dreaming, researching, planning & reading other adventurers' tales. May their time in the saddle be worth their while! Happy riding!
(Other favorite's are anything by Willie Weir or Joe Kurmaskie, as well as The SolarCycle Diaries and Revolution Cycle, though there are many out there worthy of a glance or two.)
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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