remarkable meeting

An inspiring meeting on the side of the road

My favorite part of traveling isn’t always the beautiful places I explore. My highlights during a journey are more about the inspiring people I meet. That is what makes traveling priceless. Especially when those random meetings don’t appear to be so random and give me exactly what I need at that moment in time.


We just left Dubrovnik and were hitchhiking on the side of a little road. While waiting for the next volunteer who would bring us to the border of Montenegro, my mind wandered off. Reflecting on the past two months of our trip, I was happy with the journey we’ve made so far. We crossed six countries and saw stunning places. Destinations most people would only dream about. However there was something missing lately but I couldn’t point it out straight away…


A cheerful hello from the road snapped me out of my thinking. A cyclist stopped in front of us. By the sight of his bike, rough looks and big beard, you could tell he had been on the road for a long time. The cyclist introduced himself as Olivier Peyre. He was on his way home (France) from his adventures around the world. He cycled during seven years around our planet without producing any CO². He only traveled by bike, paraglide (!) and sailboats. He had many inspiring stories and he shared some of his experiences and tips with us. What a remarkable man!


We chatted for hours, comfortably seated on a little rugged worn mat that Olivier jokingly called his living room. Potential lifts passed us but we couldn’t care less. It was great to meet a kindred spirit. He was at the end of his journey while we just started. We enjoyed exchanging stories, life lessons and jokes with this extraordinary adventurer! He also gave us interesting information on hitchhiking boats and advised us to travel from east to west over the oceans. Thanks to his information we’ll have to make a few changes to the route we had in mind, which will save us a lot of trouble along the way (we’ll tell you more about that in the near future).

Chatting for hours on the side of the road
Chatting for hours on the side of the road


The sun started to set when we said goodbye. We couldn’t believe time flew by so quickly. The three of us felt inspired and uplifted after this ‘random’ meeting. And then I realized what I had been missing during a few weeks: making a real connection with someone. We’ve met great people while hitchhiking from Italy to Croatia but the conversations were always staying at the surface. It wasn’t like the time where we shared our daily lives in Ireland with our helpX hosts Elly and Roderic, stayed with friends in Lyon, met Roberto in the Cote d’Azure or like now, sitting on the side of the road chatting with Olivier. Traveling for me isn’t necessarily about the beautiful places I see (although I’m not complaining at all!!), the real highlights are the remarkable people I meet and connect with. This is what makes life so rich: the people I surround myself with. Who would we be without true and deep connections?! For Olivier this was also one of the most important lessons he learned during his world journey.


An Inspiring meeting on the side of the road - Journal of Nomads
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What is the most important lesson you have learned in life and/or travel?


If you want to know more about Olivier, here is his website Fly and Roll He is currently writing a book about his journey. You can also meet him here:

We would definitely suggest you to have a look at his video, watching this makes us want to travel the world by bike! Maybe a new challenge after we finish this world journey… 🙂

Follow Cynthia - Journal of Nomads:

Writer, travel photographer, Panasonic Lumix Ambassador and co-founder of Journal of Nomads

I have Belgian roots but the world has been my home for the past 8 years.I'm an artist at heart and often get lost in my thoughts. I like to create some-thing out of no-thing and once I feel inspired, I'm unstoppable.I love telling stories and taking photos, showing the beauty and extraordinary of the world around me.Oh, and I love making the impossible elegantly probable.Once you realize that you're a creator and the world is your playfield, there's no limit to what can be done!

4 Responses

  1. Vyjay Rao
    | Reply

    What an inspiring man, and it must have been a thrilling experience to meet him like that on the road and share your travel experiences. Yes travel is more about meeting people, people from different countries and cultures.

    • Journal of Nomads
      | Reply

      It was a very fun and interesting experience to meet Olivier! His stories were incredible and he gave us really good advice for the continuation of our journey! Traveling is indeed about meeting people and learning about their country and culture!

  2. Martina
    | Reply

    Oh Cynthia, what you are saying about the real meaning of travelling is exactly what I feel! It’s all about the people. And no matter which country I have been to or what job I have done in my life – it was always a great experience when the right people were there! Basically it’s one of the main reason why we are travelling – to meet like-minded people! Happy for you about that meeting – must have been very inspiring! Martina

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      Hi Martina,
      it was indeed a very inspiring meeting! Exactly what I needed that moment!
      And yes, I like it that you mention the people on the work floor. The jobs I loved the most weren’t necessarily about the work itself but about the people I was working with. The more fun I had on the work floor with my colleagues, the more I loved my work 🙂
      I wish for your journey that you and your family meet a lot of inspiring and great people too (and of course a lot of happy travels)! Cynthia

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