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).
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.
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… 🙂