“You always have time for the things you put first.”
That’s right, in Kathmandu I met a couple who has been riding for the last seven and a half years around the world, racking up over 75,000km in the process. When Kevin yelled down to me “Shirine, I see touring bikes! There are other cyclists here!” I never expected to meet some of the most well traveled cyclists around. Though we only got to speak briefly with them as we all happened to be shifting hotels, here is a small glimpse into their amazing story.
The man, now in his mid to late thirties, started out on his adventure alone. He cycled through Nepal and India to begin with, describing how much he loved it as he was still in his naive excited state (he has since been back to India and no longer enjoys it, and him and I spoke about how the first couple months are great until you realize what is actually happening all around you). Then, as he was finishing up his first year and what he though would be the end to his trip, he met his partner, a beautiful Spanish girl who happened to be from the same area as him back in Spain. She dropped her plans to continue yoga in India and instead bought a bike and began touring with him. Seven and a half years later they are no where near finished.
Wearing keens and simple clean clothing, you would have never guessed that this friendly, intelligent, and welcoming duo has traversed much of our globe, visiting countries such as Yemen, Nairobi, and Tajikistan where hardly any western travelers visit (these three countries all came up as favorites). They also loved Turkey, Iran, and Mongolia, as have every cyclist we have ever encountered. He told me they are now making their way towards Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and finally onto South America. He jokes they may never make it though, or it may take another seven years, as they keep getting distracted zigzagging through Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Their accomplishments, in the number of kilometers and countries they have visited, are astounding, but the thing I was most impressed with was how put together they were. Many long term travelers I have met seem lost, traveling purely because they have no home and have no where else to be. This couple on the other hand, even after so many years, was still traveling with a purpose. They were traveling to see other cultures, to experience other ways of life, and to continue their never ending education about our world. And they did so with an air of happiness and enthusiasm which was contagious.