“On the night of my 33th birthday, I made a bucket list. What do I like to do? Cycling, dancing, meeting new people. My job as a logistic manager in Turkey was really stressful. It was time to change my life. I started to save money. Rented out two rooms in my house, sold my stuff and hardly had any entertainment for a year. My goal? Cycle through Latin America. I had made a lot of Latin American friends during my master in Barcelona. I found them very hospitable and open minded, and wanted to see the countries they were from. Why cycling? I hosted a lot of cyclists through Couchsurfing, and they inspired me. If they could do it, so could I. I just needed to make some big investments: the bike and the equipment. I recorded a video and started an Instagram page: @adventuredsocks. Because I love wearing red socks! Through crowdfunding I collected the money. If someone would donate 5 dollars, I’d promise to send them a postcard from Peru. For 25 dollars I’d send them a video of street musicians mentioning their name. This concept was new in Turkey, people liked it a lot. So far I’ve sent 4 songs. I’ve cycled from Los Angeles to the South of Mexico and made a stop in Cuba. I have been away for about 7 to 8 months. My plan is to pass through 18 countries and cycle 30.000 kilometres. Rio de Janeiro will be my final destination.”

“What I like most about traveling by bike, is the freedom and the flexibility. You don’t have to depend on anyone. Not on bus drivers, not on other travelers. I like being alone as well, which I didn’t expect beforehand. There’s not much you can do while cycling, but I listen to music and podcasts. During my trip so far I may have stayed in a house for 15 days, 40 days in a fire station and the rest I camped. I need a lot of sleep, about 10 to 11 hours a day. I set up my tent around 6 or 7, though I never know for sure when I’ll arrive. That’s why Couchsurfing can be challenging, also because it’s sometimes hard to park your bike in a city. I need to keep it somewhere safe, and preferably not on the third floor. My bike is my house – it’s my most important possession, next to my safety. Because unfortunately, this way of traveling is not always safe. I was cycling with a German guy for a while. We stayed at the same host in Mexico City and got along very well. He stayed there a bit longer than I did. One day, he passed the same road I had ten days before, in Chiapas. He was with another experienced cyclist from Poland. They got rubbed and were murdered. Horrible. This affected me a lot. He had become a good friend. Also, I felt more scared afterwards. Stayed in houses more often, tried to find somebody to cycle with me. After this happened, a Facebook group was created: cyclists in Mexico. We can give each other updates, find other cyclists. I had to convince myself to continue. This can happen, I said to myself, there is always a risk. Overall, this way of traveling is very special. It takes you a whole lot longer to get to a place, but you see more. You also smell more, things you wouldn’t smell on the bus. The grass, the trees, the leaves. And the dead animals and rubbish too, of course. You get to experience the local life in small villages more. People invite you to dinner, offer you a place to stay and water. Especially when you speak Spanish. The people are so welcoming and kind.”