It’s 3h15 a.m. In England. It is already getting light and the birds are singing. Here I am working to fund my vegan activist lifestyle and remembering Stage One of an incredible journey. This pic is of a donkey Sven and I made at Amapondo in Port St Johns. I wrote the following blog back in March and forgot to post it:
We are here in Port St. Johns, and our ride has ground to a halt. First of all, the freewheel hub on my bike packed up on the road to PSJ, so we had to get a lift to Durban to get it fixed. After an interesting time in Durban, we got a lift back to PSJ to continue our journey.
I have had a lot of time to reflect on our ride up through the Wild Coast. It has been an adventure unmatched by anything I have attempted in the past. The sheer magnificence of the scenery along the coast between Cintsa and Port St Johns has overwhelmed me. I take photographs and share them on facebook and instagram, but they don’t do it justice. I try and explain to people what it has been like to carry a bike weighing almost 40kg, the size of a small person, up steep hills along sandy tracks, and they just shake their heads in wonder, not able to really comprehend the experience. It has been all about the peacefulness of the beaches, deserted but for the cows lying down on the sand, enjoying the environment, and each other, perhaps cooling their hooves in the water; the organically created villages, each with their own food gardens and individually painted mud huts; the friendly, relaxed local people who never fail to greet us as we cycle past, sometimes with a horde of young children running to keep up for as long as they can. It has been an incredible and memorable time, populated with many wonderful new friends.
We have just waved goodbye to JP and Justine, two cyclists from Quebec, who have been making their way south from Uganda. It’s interesting to be on the outside looking in at them, and comparing our journeys. Because they are travelling in the opposite direction we have been able to learn a lot from each other’s experiences. This happens all the way along the route. Travellers talk to each other about the places they’ve loved the most as well as the places to avoid. Watching JP and Justine ride away has made me keen to get back on the road.
We have been off our bikes for almost a month, doing some volunteering at the friendly Amapondo Backpackers in PSJ. We have a commitment to finish our training to become World Peace Diet facilitators, before we continue our expedition. The World Peace Diet is perhaps one of the most important books to have been written this century. It goes into great depth explaining how and why we have become a species that has chosen domination of the earth and all other species as its major modus operandi. The result of this is a world full of death, destruction, pain and cruelty in the name of food. There is one solution to this problem, and it is a conversion of the world to a plant-based diet. Slowly, but surely, various organisations and government departments are beginning to see this as a cure to some of the major problems of our planet, such as global warming, pollution, ill health. There is not one of our major world maladies that could not be cured by converting to a vegan diet, and doing away with factory-farming and our lust for animals. I urge anyone reading this blog to read the World Peace Diet, at the very least to understand why we are in the pickle we are in on Earth, and to understand some of the solutions and how we can be a part of those solutions.
This is no normal bike ride. Most cyclists are moving much faster than us, because they are going from place to place with a definite plan for their route and an endpoint. We are doing something very different… which is trying to have as many interactions with people along the way, with the intention of sharing the ideas in the World Peace Diet. That’s why our expedition is called Peace Begins On Our Plates. It may take us years to complete, but there doesn’t feel like a more important thing for me to be doing on this planet, right now. My family are at odds with me, not really understanding why a woman in her fifties would be cycling around the world talking about veganism and the plight of all our animals. Perhaps they even think I am a few sandwiches short of a picnic! I have even been told our trip is “futile”. Tell that to the pig who is lying in a steel enclosure and can’t even turn around. Tell that to the cow who has just been raped by the vet in order to get her pregnant so we humans can take away her calf directly after it is born, and steal her milk twice a day. If anything is futile, it is driving on the freeway to sit in a windowless box all day long, in front of a computer, making money for a nameless, headless corporation and its shareholders, while frantically trying to save enough cash for a retirement which will be spent doing nothing useful, just getting older and sicker and spending all the hard-earned money on medical bills, wondering where our lives went. Phew! I feel better after that rant.
Monsanto, that evil American mega-corporation, is casting its net far and wide, and has reached as far as the Wild Coast, with the help of the South African Police force. During February this year, helicopters were observed spraying the marijuana plants with Kilo Max, another name for their glyphosate curse. I say curse, because in the process of killing marijuana they are also killing the crops that the subsistence farmers of this area live on (in other words, everyone here, practically). I don’t smoke pot. I tried it when I was in my twenties and never liked it. However, I am in favour of it being legalised, and for potheads to be left alone to do what they want to do. I do not believe in the condemnation and control of plants that grow naturally on this earth. Who are we to say these plants should not be allowed to grow? Ridiculous arrogance. Of course, the local farmers were given/sold? seed packs of gmo corn a few years ago, by Monsanto, so that when the spraying happens, their maize will be immune to these dangerous chemicals. If you want to read more about this heinous crime, you can go here and learn all about it. Get involved. Join the fight against Monsanto and its collaborators.
Sven and I have decided to work through the winter to raise the money we need, so we can continue on in the Spring. Unlike other cyclists, we see our mission as a lifestyle choice rather than a simple trip. We might be on the road for the next three years, or even longer and we need to work to sustain ourselves during this time. However, if any of you reading this blog or following us on Facebook or instagram feel moved to donate to our cause to help us in our work, we have set up a page on our website for donations via PayPal. Heartfelt thanks from us both to those of you who have already sent money!