I awake in the tent at 4 am with Lucy’s big eyes staring back at me, her face as close as it can get to mine without touching. Her cuteness makes me laugh. I love these moments. I am grateful to the UK’s pet immigration’s rule book. That Lucy must serve this 3 month quarantine period before being allowed entry to unite with her happy ever after family. I giggle at being so thankful to the rules – this may well be a first for me. Once every day, I ensure I think of the moment when I cycle away from Lucy in England. To help prepare myself for what’s coming. I love her so much. I have no idea how many years it will take me to cycle the globe. I have no idea if the shot gun pellets inside her are slowly poisoning her as so many have advised me. Will I ever see her again?
The hill I have to over come to begin the day’s cycling is brutal. The steepness is much worse than I had imagined in my tent the night before. This would be a valuable lesson to me in life as the experience turned out to be one of absolute joy.
The compelling beauty of the landscape envelopes us, nullifying all else which exists in this time. With such sensory exhilaration, there is no room for attention to the steepness of the road. In parts, I simply can’t turn the pedals quick enough to keep the bike upright. So I get off and push the bike up with not a care in the world about having to do so. It’s a glorious day and I feel good. I want to remember this hill. Even though in life I may see an obstacle ahead of me; I cannot foresee all the factors that will contribute to how I will experience this. The result may well be joy rather than hardship.
We stop off at a school in Bozyazi and enjoy a great response from the children. Many are now following our journey online. The more kids who have the chance to play with Lucy on our journey the better. Each of these moments plants a seed with the capacity to alter their behavior towards dogs induced by fear. What stronger way to attempt the change of beliefs than to allow a child to personally experience the opposite truth to what they are being taught by the society they live in.
We spend the day cycling a coastline untouched by tourism. This is a new experience for me. Farm land greets the sea instead of hotels and eateries. I notice new roads being built and I wonder if such tranquility will last much longer in this area. Having cycled the touristic developed coastlines of Turkey and now this I am conscious of the negative impact tourism can have. Not just to the landscape but also to traditions and culture.
Today I am delighted not to have given up. There were many moments I had wanted to. To be here now, experiencing this beauty which probably has the inevitable sell by date that such places of untouched nature have.
It’s getting close to camping time and a dark cloud is chasing us in the distance. We stop at a road side cafe and are welcomed by the entire staff in recognition of our mode of transport. I am enjoying roasted chicken when a lady places a neatly folded skirt on my table gesturing it as a gift. I suddenly become aware of the holes in my clothes, my money bag positioned to hide the ones in my top.
I notice Lucy has not eaten her dinner which lies on the floor beside me. Strange. I know she is hungry. I venture outside to investigate and there is Lucy sitting to attention, guarding her bicycle with another dog facing her a meter away. Lucy thinks all dogs want to steal her bicycle and she guards it with passion. It warms my heart that a 10 year old girl who loves riding her bicycle is waiting to be part of her new family in England.
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Love WBG & Lucy xxx
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.