I Went Home With a Stranger …

It’s been a long while since the last time I checked in! Sorrento truly feels like a lifetime ago, and between now and then, I not only covered a shit ton of extra miles but also enjoyed some beautiful experiences. 


A few weeks back, just as I was about to start looking for a camping spot for the night, I run into some guy. He was uber excited to talk to me and asked me myriad questions about the bike trip. There was something about his positive energy that endeared me to him almost instantaneously, and… I went home with him. From there on he introduced me to half of his family, I slept in an old movie theater that his grandparent built in the 50s (it’s the only cinema build on a cliff, right next to the sea), then his brother took me to his friend’s farm, where we attended a harvest festival and ate some amazing food! It was also the last time I used my camera, hence all of the pictures. 

I met more people there, including one lovely lady who offered to host me when I went to visit Etna. The farm owner became a friend too and came to see me in Syracuse, where we went to see a tragedy performed in an ancient Greek theatre. 

I find it truly remarkable, that just by saying yes to this one opportunity, a whole beautiful bouquet of options was given to me!


I think it is important to remember that life is made out of all sorts of cirsumstances. And the so-called negative ones do not cancel out the so-called positive ones. But this one hit me hard. Within one week both the lens on my camera has disintegrated and the battery on my phone literally melted away in the southern sun of Italy … As much as my heart was distressed by the fact that my big, expensive camera is now pretty much useless, I had to roll with the punches and just move on (still hoping to get it fixed at some point!). That followed my phone’s battery swelling up and refusing to work … Getting a new phone wasn’t easy as I had to do it fast and did not have time to research but the one that I’ve gotten seems to be working well so I keep my fingers crossed that this one will actually stay with me for a while. 


Someone special decided to come to the south of Calabria for vacation and so I enjoyed a little quiet time and his lovely company for a whole week. As proven to me on numerous occasions, no steep hill, heavy rain, strong wind, or high temperature is as challenging as saying goodbye to someone that you care about. Letting go may be a beautiful practice, but it certainly isn’t an easy one …  


Even though at some point I was considering skipping visiting the island, seeing Etna across the Strait of Messina left me craving more. I stayed with the lovely people I met on the Calabrian Farm, Valeria and Mauro, and once again was left speechless in a face of almost overwhelming kindness and good hearts. On top of that, Etna turned out to be one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen in my life and I spend nearly 9h running around its ashy hills, getting some serious blisters on my feet, taking about a million pictures, and picking up as many volcanic stones as I could carry. The grandiose of the Mountain made a massive impact on me and I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to anyone who ever gets to this part of Europe.


And so it finally happened. I began to miss home :) A trip that was meant to last 6 months turned into an 11-month expedition and a life alternating experience. But I knew I will need to stop at some point. And so my plan is to circle around Sicily, and make my way back to Calabria, to get on a ferry to  Greece from Brindisi, and go visit one of the most amazing people that I EVER had a chance to meet - the one and only - Margarita.

After that, I will take the shortest way back home - the shortest still means doing about 2 500 km, but that’s about a month of biking which from a perspective of a full year of traveling sounds like finally wrapping this thing up. 


As you are reading this post I am arriving in Palermo closing on about 11 000 kilometers (6800 miles) done in the past year. 

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