Many people dream of a trip around the world, but it never happens. Harry (55) and Roelie (44) Morskate did continue. They sold everything and left. By bike.
After heart surgery in 2015, the Morskates decided to change course rigorously. “I had received six bypasses, although I had not had a heart attack. When you come home after such an operation you suddenly look at life completely different. We said to each other: "Stress is no longer okay, we have to enjoy life more." I also wanted to tackle it in a somewhat healthier way after the body's warning", says Harry.
Three months after discharge from the hospital, the two started cycling. First to the Mediterranean Sea, not much later to long-distance routes to Rome and through Canada and the United States. Harry: “When we came back home, I thought: what are we doing with such a big house? And with two cars, fourteen tailored suits, ten pairs of shoes and a pile of unnecessary things? With as little as a tent and two bicycles, we are just as happy. "
Harry and Roelie quit their jobs and sold almost all possessions. Since June last year, they have been cycling around the world. Every day they have an average of fifty euros to spend. Roelie: “I am ultimately happy. I have a feeling of freedom. I enjoy the encounters, a flock of birds and a descent after a long climb. It is hard to imagine that until recently I was stuck in a traffic jam every morning and I made countless calls and emails before I had to get to the next meeting."
The world trip started with a trip through Europe through Turkey to Georgia. It then went through Nepal and India to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia, among other countries, before arriving in Australia and New Zealand. They took the plane when traveling overseas. Harry: “We made a route before departure and we try to stick to it a bit. But if we like it a lot, we will stay there longer. "
In Turkey, for example. “We cycled through Turkey three times longer than planned. The people are very friendly and hospitable", says Harry. "And nature is surprising", says Roelie. “I thought of a bare, rocky landscape in Turkey. But on a day of one hundred kilometers you can cycle through three extremely different environments. From a climb through dense forest you descend through a kind of tundra area.”
The first impression with New Zealand was also perfect. There, the couple were hosted with a couple that participates in Warmshowers: an online network of people who offer cyclists worldwide a roof over their heads. Harry: “New Zealand is said to be God’s Own Country. If we were a believer, we would certainly have thought that God did extra effort here at creation. What an environment. And what wonderful people! ”
There is not always a Warmshowers host or an affordable place to stay nearby. In that case Harry and Roelie pitch their tent, provided it is safe and possible. Harry: “We didn't even try it in India. We were a living attraction there. If we stopped to fill the bottle, twenty people appeared out of the blue. They just wanted to make selfies with us. Occasionally a car even came to us for a selfie. I am curious to see how many Instagram accounts we are on. ”
The world cyclists have the limit of thirty thousand kilometers in sight, but are not missing the Netherlands after almost a year and a half of cycling. "Only the Dutch cosiness and cuddiness on for example birthdays," says Roelie. Harry: “In Cambodia we came across a Dutch fastfood shop. We ordered - for way too much money of course ... - a portion of bitterballen. "
Son and daughter visited their cycling parents in Thailand earlier this year. Roelie: "The first thing they said: "We won't cycle, right?" We spent two wonderful weeks on the beach together." Harry: "Next October we will return to the Netherlands for a while. Our son then marries and he asked me as his witness. ”After the flash visit, the two resumed their journey around the world. That will certainly take him to a bunch of South American countries, the United States and Canada and possibly to Alaska. The cycle tour goes back to the Netherlands via Northern or Southern Europe. "We are happy with this simple life that we experience so intensely. And don't want to think about the end of this journey yet. "
Around the world in eighty days
Where most people go on a cycling world tour to be free and to discover beautiful places, some make it a performance tour. Mark Beaumont cycled around the world two years ago - after the classic by Jules Verne - within eighty days. De Schot covered the 29,000-kilometer journey in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes. So he drove nearly 380 kilometers per day on average. He visited 16 countries in total, including the Netherlands. With its fast cycle tour around the globe, De Schot has set a world record.
Jenny Graham from Scotland had 124 days and 11 hours to cycle around the earth. With that she has the world record with the women behind her name. With this ride, also good for some 29,000 kilometers, she passed through fourteen countries on four continents. Graham paddled through Limburg, among other places. The adventurous venture started and ended at the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin.