From Finland to The Gambia on the bikes

Matilda & Peyman are travellers who decided to travel the world on bicycles. Their journey started in Helsinki, where they went on and cycled all the way across Europe, then over to Morocco continuing on to Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia where we met them as they got stuck due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

We are impressed with their energy, a positive view of the world and people.

They left Helsinki one year ago. Due to work they do whilst traveling, they are travelling at a slow pace.

When they first met, Peyman told to Matilda that his dream was to cycle the world. By that time, he was living in a small van, working in Helsinki to save money to begin his dream journey. He asked Matilda if she wanted  to join him, which she decided to do.

Peyman’s first plan was to end his journey in Africa but Matilda suggested to go to Africa as they reached Spain and Portugal just before wintertime. In the end, their Instagram followers agreed with Matilda that they should continue to Africa first instead of Asia.

Matilda hasn’t cycled much before this trip. Peyman had done few cycling tours before this trip.

“The difference in traveling with bicycles is like day and night”.

Peyman used to travel on a motorbike but he felt it was way too fast. “You do not see people, the corner of the house, that tree and the bird…. you just go so fast. You don’t understand, you don’t breathe in the culture, the nature,” he explained. You get the time to explore a country better while traveling on bicycles. He thinks that traveling on motorbikes is too fast, but walking is too slow. Cycling is a fantastic balance.

Traffic is the only thing that made them feel uncomfortable sometimes. But they have never been afraid of a person or animal. The only incident with animals they’ve faced so far were wolfs coming very close to their tent in Germany.

“The risk is part of the life”.

One person has once told to Peyman: “If you are scared of dying, you die many times. But if you are not scared, you die once”. Though, he believes no one should take stupid risks of course.

An emotional in a combination with physical challenge is sometimes hard to handle. “Like coming to a new country or new continent where you have never been before and suddenly you need to try to understand the cultural rules can put some pressure”, said Matilda.

The only challenge that comes to Peyman’s mind is traveling around India with bicycle rickshaw due to traffic and infrastructure.

Both of their parents accepted their decisions and are being supportive.

“The world is connected.”

While they are traveling, they are editing videos for their YouTube channel Nomad’s Trails and patreon website. So, luckily, they had internet connection almost everywhere, even in Sahara. There were some days without it mostly they are connected with the world.

If you want to get access to extra photos and content, you can choose yearly access at their patreon page 2$ on. You can also order postcard from the country where they stay. This are two ways to also support their journey. They are not planning to stop traveling.

“We planned to stay in The Gambia for 2 weeks.”

Peyman’s bank suddenly renewed his bank card so they needed to organize parcel to The Gambia. But they were happy that happened in The Gambia as pandemic started and they had to stay for some months.

They think The Gambia is a fantastic place and have many new friendships. While they were stuck here, they were editing and recording videos. Apart from work, they were growing vegetables in the garden of friend’s compound where they were staying. They also had chickens and ducks.

Their advice to people who want to travel to The Gambia is: “Just come. It’s amazing place, people are super friendly, helpful and just come and visit. It is a fantastic place. In general, we have been happy in Africa.” They felt safer in The Gambia then is some big European cities.

Financially, African continent was the most expensive so far. Mainly because of they can’t dumpster dive and they don’t know all the eatable fruits in the nature. In Africa, they needed to buy all the food and prices in supermarkets are high.

If you are going to backpack or travel on the bicycle, they would recommend taking your own camping multi fuel stove and cook your own food. It will be cheaper.

“We slept at the police station few times.”

Most of the nights they sleep in the tent. Sometimes people invite them to their place and insist to stay overnight. Moroccan police offered them safe place to stay, so they slept at the police station few times or on the parking in front of the police station. Peyman also slept at public toilet for 2 nights.

“I love not knowing which day of the week is. It is absolutely amazing.”

They have created their own structure of working days in combination of being spontaneous. They work, they cycle, record, edit and it takes a lot of time. But it’s freedom that is the most amazing. Cycling gives you the smell and the taste of freedom.

They are very close and never get bored of each other. Like in every relationship, they disagree sometimes but they are happy together and deeply connected. In addition to love, they are both very stubborn and they always walk to the end of what they have decided. If people doubt them, it become more possible for them.

Matilda’s message to the world is: “Be open to challenge yourself. If you think it is difficult to travel in Africa, challenge that, talk to people who have done it and always be opened to learn more and maybe learn that you were wrong. And just know that most people are amazing. And most places are amazing so don’t be scared and worried.”

 

Peyman added: “People around the world are amazing. We have much more amazing people than what we all hear in the news. People are amazing. Don’t so much listen to the news about countries being dangerous. Of course, there are some red zones but people are super nice. And if you want to do something for yourself which you really love it, you really want to do it and then you tell it to the people who will tell you it’s not possible, take it as encouragement not as a brake.

“If there is something we are not happy with, we try to find the way to change it. And if it’s not possible to change it then maybe is not worth not to be unhappy about.”

That kind of philosophy they live by.

If you want to know more about them, we invite you to listen our interview with them. We’ve planned to cut out our voice and questions from the video but the conversation with them was so natural and amazing that we just left it as it is. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

You can follow Matilda and Peyman on:
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