The apparently lonely life of a solo traveler in Italy!

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The question “aren’t you lonely when your away”…often coupled with “don’t you have any friends?” (Charming I know) are so common I’m thinking I should come up with an amazingly witty set response which I can use to explain the truth of it to everyone who has obviously never travelled alone. It takes SO much effort to make traveling a lonely experience.
When it gets to the point that you can’t sit outside a supermarket making up a sandwich without being wished “Bon voyage” by a passing elderly lady. When you are constantly being quizzed by hordes of passing men as to the weight of your steed. Or can’t go for an evening snack in a small bar without ending up drunk with the barman (que photo)…

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…and his rabble of teenage friends (the awesome group above – with a rather red faced version of myself) none of whom spoke a word of English – to say I spent most of my time indebted to the translate app on my iPhone is an understatement! But regardless, in the safety of Europe you are never really in a language barrier. Even when too inebriated to spell english correctly on my phone we resorted to easy topics! Bands, place names, big name brands, movies – American TV is deffinatly popular across Europe!

Then there is what I learned in Sicily… To both my pleasure and annoyance (the alone time on the bike had thoroughly ended) was the ease with which cyclists can chat! The roadies that came to cycle along side me didn’t want Indepth life conversations – they wanted distances traveled, climbed, where you were going, bike technical jargon that I don’t even understand in English! But it really did come easy… And when they got bored with either the conversation or speed, away they could go! Although shocked at the low numbers of female cyclists I encountered in Italy I must say all the blokes were the example of kindness, shouts asking if I needed help/a pump were frequent whenever I stopped for a breather!

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This lovely bloke saw me struggling over the hill/mountain north of Messina, in torrential rain and gale force winds it felt slightly like god himself was against me that day. He didn’t speak a word of English but when he realised we were going the same way refused to leave my side, when the winds got so bad I could barely move the bike he physically put his hand on my back and pushed me up! Not even exaggerating the situation! It is a good job I’m not a proud individual or it might have been a touch soul destroying. But god I needed him! Salvadore you are the nicest man I’ve met in a long time! Amidst cheers at the top he attempted to give me detailed directions onwards before leaving for home. That man turned one of my worst mornings Into my best, hopefully one day I will return the favour!

RECAP: lessons learned the hard way, Italy.

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To say that I have been on a steep learning curve since new year would be like saying Vesuvius is just a slight incline or that sleeping in torrential rain is a minor discomfort… All I would now describe as slight under statements. Setting off from England with a front of confidence that would of seemed to rival Anne Mustoe I wish I’d felt it!! If only my friends and family had been aware of the nightmares that had plagued me and the constant worrying and fear I’d felt since committing to the trip, maybe they would of been less inclined to remind me of my likelihood of death/all the many other unfortunate things that occur to teenagers that wander too far from tourist paths.
But being the arrogant sod I must of seemed, I brushed their concerns off, acting ignorant to the world! …and with that away I went. Never have I been so glad I didn’t listen to reason or logic. In few places have I felt so at home and gained so many insane stories… Some I might bore you with later while trying to work out how this bloody website works before my next big trip! (The family want more updates to know I’m alive – pah! I’m now reasonably competent actually!). The days I spent on the bike were full of the highest highs and lowest lows I’ve experienced – i don’t think I cried so much in my whole life, be it from joy or pain! But they are days I would never trade in! I can’t wait to be back home on the road again at the end of March, but till then there is still so much planning to be done! Gosh I haven’t even booked flights or sorted visas >< argh stress!!!
Anyway, I don’t know what this blog is yet so I’m just gonna see what happens with it! Talk soon!

Home in one piece!

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Well after three weeks away it was nice to be back on home soil… Even if now just a few days later I am SO ready for the next adventure! My current mission being to give my bike the tlc it deserves!!! Bring on March…