There are lots of times this style of travel is everything you dream it might be…liberating, challenging, flexible and the best way to spend time with local people. Then you meet someone who seems to embody the spirit of it in a way that makes your trip feel super organised and almost clinical.
We were cycling out of Amarante in Portugal on a big climb to get from one valley to the next. As we rounded a corner we saw a cyclist on the side of the road and pulled over to meet Martin. A young guy from Hungary, he was spending some time pedalling around Spain and Portugal. Tanned, sweaty and eating wild cherries he had picked, this guy was effortlessly travelling with little money or direction.
No helmet. No technical performance clothing. No bike computer. He was wearing crocs and riding what looked like a ladies’ Dutch bike for goodness sake. The handlebars were rusted and all sorts of stuff was dangling off of the huge bundle on his single bike rack. Above all, he was utterly relaxed and at ease. He told us he had been picking up work on farms in exchange for room and board. As we rode away, Baden and I joked that the only work we could pick up was if a farmer had a load of filing that needed attention.
There is always someone else doing something that little bit more romantic and adventurous to inspire you..