NEWS: Setting off after the COVID-19 pause!

The time has come – I am finally setting off again! Come Monday (13th July) I’ll be packing my bag and getting the legs to work, heading step by step to Mongolia, after 4 months – to the date – of COVID-19 disruption. It’s possible that it won’t be the end of it, but for now I’m getting going again.

That also means parting ways with Mike, after 4 months of non stop company (what a lucky guy – right Mike?).

Mike in Valbona River

I’ll be heading through Kosovo (passing through Prizren again), the very top of North Macedonia, and into Bulgaria, heading to join the Kom Emine trail and eventually arriving at the ferry from Varna to go to Georgia. Mike will cycle off South down Albania, into North Macedonia further South, maybe a bit of Greece, before meeting me in time for the ferry, if not before, in Bulgaria.

If anyone knows anyone (who might know someone who knows someone etc) in these areas, please give me a shout! I’ll be trying to be safe and socially distance, etc, but any help along the way e.g. a garden to camp in, or  a washing machine to use, is always the-most-helpful-thing-ever.

My main takeaway from lockdown has been a lesson in equality – or rather, inequality. The perspective of viewing the UK from Kosovo, a country with no furlough schemes and mass losing of jobs, has been eye opening. So has learning about the extreme lack of gender equality in Kosovo and Albania, the minimum wage that means some people work for less than 1 euro per hour, fully realising the bizzareness of border control based on country, the stigma attached to certain countries or areas, and learning more about racism through the Black Lives Matter movement.

Equality is so linked to the climate crisis that we can’t try to solve one without trying to solve the other. So, the next part of the journey will have some focus on these types of issues!

But first, time to pack my bag and get out the door again. As ever, thanks for all the support!

The Albanian Alps – Valbona National Park

P.S. If you’re not on social media and haven’t heard about and seen the photos from the jaw dropping-ly beautiful Albanian Alps, click here!