By 1st December 2014 we had been on the road for one month. How would I sum up the experience? Perhaps I could say it has been the sharpest growth and learning curve of my whole life. In that month, we have cycled from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, via mountains, deserts and beaches. We have shown the film “Cowspiracy” to interested pre-vegans, debated veganism and climate change with strangers, been applauded, questioned and been given a lot of strange looks. We have been interviewed by TV stations and newspapers and have sometimes struggled to get our message across with clarity.
I could just tell you all the good stuff and leave out the dirt. Truth is, there’s been lots of good stuff. But there’s also been some fairly hefty challenges. To begin with, Sven and I disagree on most things! He is careful and detailed and slow. I am quick and less careful and don’t sweat the small stuff. So we argue. A lot. I have even said that the easiest thing about this trip is the cycling! Even when we had to cycle 85km through the long, boring, undulating Langkloof into a relentless headwind, or when I was struggling over Rooiberg, the most challenging pass in the Western Cape. All that is easier than two opinionated hotheads learning how to be with each other 24/7, and I have considered throwing in the towel on more than a few occasions.
One of the things that keeps us together is having similar values: veganism and our concern for the health of the planet, relieving the suffering of farmed animals, and caring about our community of Earthlings so passionately that we want to do something to help. Most people we encounter think we’re nuts to be living this lifestyle. They are the ones that look at us askew, with a raised eyebrow and you can see them thinking, “but why? Why would they want to take themselves out of their comfort zone and into danger and discomfort, all for the sake of a few animals? What difference could they possibly make, anyway?” When I come across these people I am tempted to ask myself the same question, especially if I am having a bad day. But then I think about what I would be doing if I was home, and I realise that my sense of adventure and challenge is more powerful than my need for comfort.
There are some people, however, who understand what we are attempting and just want to help. Like Mignonne and Andre Van Heerden, for example, the “boere vegans” in whose house we have been living for the past week and who have spoiled us with delicious vegan food and the most amazing vegan rusks. Thanks to them, we have been able to rest, regroup and plan the next stage of our journey. I have talked about this subject in my previous blog, but people keep surprising me with their caring and giving attitudes. We have created a page on our website to salute everyone who has helped us in a significant way. That is going to be a very long page by the time we get to Ethiopia!
If you are following our photos on Instagram you will have seen some of the incredibly beautiful countryside we have encountered so far. It is such a privilege to be out in nature in the way we are, listening to the bird sounds, the wind and feeling the sun on our bodies. The freedom and joy of being in constant contact with nature, from a bicycle seat, is hard to describe.
We leave soon for the next leg of our trip: hugging the coastline up to East London and on through the Wild Coast, all the way to KZN. We will probably spend Christmas and New Year on the beautiful beaches of the Transkei. Wherever you are, I wish you the most awesome holiday season and hope it will be a joyful time for each one of you. I ask you to take some time to think about how we live our lives and some of the ways we can each help to heal our planet and save our beloved Earthlings.
Love and lots of hugs for everyone, and thank you for following this journey.