I have always wanted to be not only a photographer but also a journalist. Not only take pictures but also tall amazing stories about amazing individuals who dare to pursue their dreams. I have always thought that a good story must have an extra wow-factor to get a decent amount of attention. Especially these days when TV and newspapers cover almost every aspect of our lives. But all of the sudden there it was or actually there HE was. My first story to tell - a friend of mine, 25 year old Italian man who had always been known for his passion for literature (Especially adventure and travel books) and then a push bike trip from London to Barcelona. At work I would always see Simone with a massive, at least 300 page brick, he would cover it on his desk with a newspaper, he would be reading it or news online when our manager wasn't watching. Still, Simone would get caught quite often due to his day dreaming and total absence of mind.
There was no surprise he took something to read for his cycle trip. Not only 1 book, but 3! 'Peter Pan', 'Biography of Jim Morrrison' and 'Songlines' - as he told me. Would any of us think of reading during cycling to another country? 26 days of summer spent pedalling from London to Barcelona. I much doubt.
I decided to meet up with Simone and try to conduct some sort of an interview. I wasn't prepared very well. I had an old diary full of my grandma's recipes and a black pen. But then I realized I had a voice recorder on my phone. Ad the beginning Simone and myself we were a bit shy and we didn't know how to start. He has never been interviewed, I have never interviewed anyone either. Put then I pressed 'record' key on the phone, read aloud first question and we started talking and it went like this:
- ok, so first question. Probably not a very exciting one. Why Barcelona?
- Just because - said Simo and laughed.
- What do you mean? There must be something - I hesitated.
- Ok, initially there was 4 of us thinking of going on a trip. We wanted to cycle from Paris to Madrid.
- Would that be a shorter journey?
- No, it was only because one of us was from Madrid. But then everyone has changed their mind and it was only me still planning to go.
- So why Barcelona?
- I don't know, perhaps because of the sea and I thought it was fairly easy to reach.
- I know you caught a flight on the way back to the UK. Did you manage to transport your bicycle easily? (this was a genuine question!)
- Uhm..... I didn't.
- What do you mean? You left it back in Spain?
- Uhm.... yes. Actually the middle of a terminal.
- Why is that?!
- Well, when I was getting a ticket I ignored to read terms&conditions&prohibited items which are usually written in very tiny letters at the bottom of a ticket, or a reverse. There was info about bicycles, basically they have to be folded, dismounted, most importantly boxed. So I had to leave the bike, as I mentioned I abandoned it in the middle of the terminal, but I was immediately approached by a man who asked me whether I was leaving the bike. I said yes. So he asked if he could have it. I said yes and the guy took it.
- Wow, this is a proper recycling!
- Yes, indeed. But that was not the only odd thing that happened to me at the airport. There was a bunch of Italian guys who didn't know I was Italian(Simone has blue eyes and blonde hair) and they were talking about me, wondering whether I was a homeless lost at the airport. You know I managed to grow quite long hair and a beard I was also very tanned.
- Well, in the end you were quite a wealthy homeless person, you managed to afford a flight.
- Let me change the subject only so slightly, I know at some point it's jumping into the main point but what was the coolest thing about your trip?
- Couchsurfing I suppose.
- I have heard of this, you are alive, so I guess it's quite safe. Who did you stay with?
- In Caen, Normandie, I stayed with Clarisse.
- And how did you find her?
Clarisse was a young archeologist living in a student house located in the old historic town centre. It was my first stop after getting to France I spent there 2 nights instead of 1.
- And why is that?
- Because I was DEAD!
- Did you meet any interesting people?
- Yes, Clarisse was very interesting, then I met this ex-soldier
- Again - couchsurfing website. The ex-soldier hosted me in his mothers house. 2 months earlied he had hitchhiked from Paris to Ukraine to see Euro Cup. Then, in La Rochelle I stayed with Yannick who in past had cycled from Vancouver to Panama, got a job as a waiter on a cruise ship to Andalucia (Spain) and then cycled to Niece where he was born.
There was also a mother with 2 kids that lived in a house that used to be a school and then the local council has converted it into flats for single and/or divorced mothers.
- Very different people, different backgrounds.
What was the most difficult about the trip?
- At some point loosing my bank cards was a bit inconvenient...................