Molly and Haydn are cycling across the world to raise money for Help Refugees. So far, they have cycled from Dorset to Solferino in Italy and raised more than £2,000!
Molly wrote about their experiences along the way for us. Read about Molly and Haydn’s story below:
Wow. What a radical and profound experience these 3152 kilometres have been.
Haydn and I have now cycled from our house in Dorset, England, to Solferino, Italy. We are here thanks to our legs. What a novel and exciting thought.
Well really we are here thanks to our legs, our bicycles, an enormous amount of effort and patience and an huge amount of love and support from friends, family and total strangers.
Life on the road is incredibly intense and mercurial. At midmorning we could be debating about something in the heat of the sun, half way up a huge hill, being skimmed by cars, bitten by insects, thirsty and questioning why on earth we are doing this but later that evening be swimming in a clear, beautiful river, having set up camp in a spot that seems to have been perfectly designed for us. Wondering why we hadn’t been feeling this joyous all along and elated to be out here in the world, mind free and eyes wide.
We have learnt so much already, in these four months since leaving home. Firstly how to ride our fully loaded bikes with 40 kilos of luggage strapped to them. How to slowly, painfully inch up the mountains of the French and Italian Alps and rocket down, screeching around hairpin bends, remaining mostly intact. We have learnt how important it is to feed these incredible machines (our bodies) with really good food – seeing as they’re doing all the work. We have learnt the hard way how and when to rest and pace ourselves better to avoid exhaustion. Positivity is the key. If you expect the Earth and its people to provide you with what you need, you will be far more receptive to finding it for yourself.
After almost having a seizure about how much we had spent in France alone, we have recently had a breakthrough about money, realising how to live on the road for far less. We have gained a huge appreciation for the everyday luxuries that we become so numb to in normal life. Making a cup of tea with a kettle. Cooking dinner with a hob. Being able to just walk into a house, without having to construct the house. Or get into bed without having to blow up or unpack all the different elements of the bed. It makes us appreciate these things with the unashamed delight of a child.
I have discovered that learning to be nomadic is no easy thing. Even if you are free-spirited and have chosen to change your life in this way.
Being out in all weathers all the time can be hugely challenging. Sometimes you feel like the real animals that we are; a kind of deep, fierce, doggedly determined wildness emerges. Other times it can feel overwhelming and overpowering and you can feel small and tired and weak.
However the nomadic life brings us one step closer to the people we have decided to fundraise for. The people who have, more often than not, had no choice in leaving their home with a few possessions and traveling great distances. This trip has given me a far more visceral understanding of what it is like to really be ‘out-there’ and vulnerable in the world. To be a foreigner in countries where you can’t speak the language and often feel out of place. Feeling judged and observed when arriving jelly-like, sweaty and exhausted at a clean bar, with clean customers in their clean skin and clothes. To feel dirty and different and looked down on, with little you can do about it. We both feel a huge, growing empathy for the people we are fundraising for.
One of the hugest rewards we have experienced so far is the kindness, generosity and openness of the people we have encountered. People who are also choosing love, even if they don’t fully know it. We have been taken in, given food, a shower, a bed, company and encouragement by so many new and friendly faces. If anything can give you faith in humanity then this is it.
Support is what we need most. It makes the gritty times of digging deep feel worth it and lifts us even higher when we are doing fine. Personal messages, Instagram likes, people commenting on my blog, on the website, on the Facebook page and donations via our website; all of these things keep us feeling positive and enthused about continuing the rollercoaster ride of being on the road day in – day out. Keeping us determined, keeping us pedalling on and choosing LOVE everyday.
From here we will bee-line for Greece through the Balkans. Athens is 2000km away. Wish us luck, love – and a tail wind.
Donate here to support Molly and Haydn on their Cycle for Love.