The original quote is “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” and it is attributed to William Butler Yeats an Irish poet who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1923.
This saying became ingrained in the Irish culture as the Irish are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards strangers.
Even with the current dangers of being too open to strangers, online or not, whenever I can I try to live by this, especially if I find strangers who share the same passions I do.
Through the passion of cycling, I’ve made “virtual friends” (Facebook mostly) in practically all continents of the planet, the vast majority of them, I’ve never seen personally. Maybe some of the people reading this post will recognize themselves in this category and will understand that the power of the Internet plus a shared passion is all you need to bring people together, regardless of physical distance or language barriers (Google Translate and others are also a big help).
Despite all the technological advances, in my humble opinion, nothing replaces the joy of meeting someone new in person, that is why it makes me so happy when I have the opportunity to actually meet face to face some of my “virtual friends”. A couple of weeks ago I had such an opportunity… 🙂
I met Julie Assêncio and Thiago Ferreira Ruiz, a couple I’ve been following for a few years and Ada Cordeiro, a young lady I’ve also been following since the beginning of her South American tour about 2 years ago. They have all completed their journeys and are back to their (it I may say so) “normal” lives, in Brasilia, Brazil’s Federal Capital.
The English and Portuguese versions of this post are different because their blogs are available in Portuguese only, so I want to give the English speakers reading this post a little more background info.
Julie and Thiago started their 10,000 Km cycling tour in Portugal in 2014, which took them to 20 different countries in a period of about 18 months. Portuguese speakers can, obviously, go to their Blog and read about their amazing journey themselves.
Their blog is called “Dioca na Estrada” (Dioca on the road) and the link is http://novo.dioca.com.br/dioca-na-estrada/
In Europe their journey took them to Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgary, Turkey and Holland. They also pedaled in Índia, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and upon returning to Brazil they pedaled from Rio de Janeiro to their home adding more than 1,000 Km to their journey in Brazil as well.
Ada Cordeiro is a young lady I have been following through Facebook and other social media means since the start of her incredible 23,000 Km journey by bicycle around South America. Her blog is apply named “PedalADAs” in which the “ADA” part refers to her first name and “Pedal” means is Portuguese the same it does in English (the foot-operated levers used for powering a bicycle or other vehicle propelled by the legs, if you are in doubt 🙂 ).
In Portuguese “Pedalar” is the act of pedaling… well, enough of that… I think you get the point 🙂
As with Julie and Thiago’s blog, Ada’s blog is only available in Portuguese. Her blog is here: http://blogpedaladas.blogspot.com.br/
This video summarizes in 5 min her incredible journey.
Even if you are not able to read in Portuguese, I suggest you visit their blog anyway, if only for the wonderful pictures they posted along the way.
Anyway, I just wanted to leave a record of my meeting with them as an evidence that anything is possible, because as I started to follow them I would have never expected to meet them in person.
If you are reading this and are still not a member of my circle of virtual friends, please don’t hesitate to send in a request, but also don’t be mad at me if I do some checking first, such as to loo through your profile and call you in messenger for a chat.
It’s a shame that a certain degree of care is necessary in our society these days.
Take care and keep the wheels turning…