This time, 16 months ago I was cycling from Skopje, Macedonia to Sofia, Bulgaria as part of my journey from London to Australia.
Thanks to Ivana Kostovska for the opening interview and thanks to everyone else for putting up with me for the remainder of the episode.
Hope you all enjoy Part 9 x
Last October I gave a talk about my Explore More journey to friends and ex-colleagues at the Southbank Centre in London. There was a strong turnout of friendly faces to hear the 2-hour talk in which I managed to cover the first 6 months from London to Tehran.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time to cover the whole adventure (I would have talked for 5 hours otherwise) but I think everyone left with a much better understanding of my time on the road.
Stay tuned for further updates in the near future…
Here is the latest (shorter) instalment of ‘On the Road’. This was filmed from the Croatian border to Sarajevo at the end of August and at the time it really felt like I was heading into unknown territory. Today as I set off for Iran some 3 months later I have the same nervous excitement but to a much greater degree.
Thanks for your patience with the video updates. They’re a few months behind but it’s quite nice to revisit the journey and remind myself how far I’ve come. I am eager to show you all the fantastic experiences that have happened in between as it really does start feeling like a proper adventure from Bosnia onwards.
More updates in the New Year!
Here is the 3rd instalment of that crazy guy on a bike across Slovenia & Croatia way back in August. Plenty of signs that he’s losing his grip on reality in this one. Unfortunately no more Rudd (he’s on holiday in Mongolia) but Mr T makes cameo appearance
1 Month Face Fur Update
After 2000km, Henry is now sporting a fine swathe of sun bleached facial follicles on his African pub crawl. Currently in Zambia having crossed the scorching desert of Namibia and successfully run the gauntlet of the Kalahari game reserve of Botswana, his only concern is the copious amounts of bushman’s heroin that he has been ingesting. Last seen precariously close to the edge of Victoria Falls shouting ‘Don’t make me come down there’ he fears that he may never see his face again.
Follow Henry’s progress here
Aaron currently has a wire brush for a face. He reaches for the razor each morning but cannot bear the thought of Henry’s smug fuzz face laughing at him in the mirror despite this added wind resistance markedly hampering his progress east since leaving Istanbul 1000km ago. Living in Tbilisi, Georgia for the past two weeks in a state of semi-hibernation, it appears as if he has synchronised his complacent attitude with the falling temperatures. Visa issues, bad weather and mountainous terrain are the excuses bandied about by this lazy ‘orospu çocuğu‘ but many suspect that he has fallen for the charms of a gorgeous Georgian.
Follow Aaron’s progress here
The Explore More Project is a series of short documentaries with the interesting people that I meet on this adventure. In the first week of my trip I visited Roermond, Netherlands to ask documentary film maker Juul van der Laan to share some tips on interviewing others.
Juul had recently spent 5 weeks in Ghana filming a pilot episode her new series ‘Multiverse’ which focuses on scientists in Africa. During that time she conducted over 30 interviews in various locations around the country in challenging conditions.
Interviewing the interviewer helped me understand some of the technical and personal considerations that I would need to be aware of in the months ahead. This was the first interview in the series so it will be interesting to see how the future documentaries progress as my interviewing techniques develop and my confidence grows.
Two weeks ago I was getting ready to leave Istanbul and continue my journey east. At the same time my good friend Henry Williams was about to leave Cape Town and travel north for the next two months through the African continent on his own cycling adventure.
We had shared various tips on equipment and how to approach such a physical endeavour but one of the weirder discussions was whether it was best to shave or not. It didn’t take long for our childish minds to turn this into a challenge and a the following day agreed to have synchronised clean shaves… and then not shave for the next two months.
If I’m going to grow a beard then this is the best part of the world to do it I suppose.
More hairy updates and crazy eyes to follow.
Leaving Istanbul was always going to be a hard proposition. For so long my only goal had been to reach this buzzing metropolis and enjoy being ‘normal’ for a while that I hadn’t put much thought into setting some new goals further east. I’d quickly distanced myself from the nomadic life and enjoyed the simple pleasure of not having much of a plan, finding myself living like a local in the Çukur, Mecidiyeköy and Çihangir neighbourhoods. But my three weeks of good times and meeting new friends had come to an end all too quickly and by the time my friend Zeynep had thrown a traditional farewell glass of water onto the road to assure my safe return I was crossing the Bosphorus and onward into Asia. In my mind it felt like I was starting the journey all over again. I didn’t want to leave.
Turkey is a huge country and the biggest I’d crossed so far on the journey. Most of it’s rugged mountainous terrain still lay ahead of me and so too Autumn. My first goal was to reach the Black Sea and then follow the coast road 1200km to Georgia over the next two weeks. After a second long day in bad weather I arrived in Karasu and was greeted with more of the same. The town seemed to be a cheap out of season beach resort with a chaotic mess of identical holiday homes connected by muddy dirt streets and a black sand beach covered in rubbish. It wasn’t the Black Sea welcome that I had dreamed of. To be honest, I probably wasn’t seeing it in it’s best light as it was dusk and a strong northerly wind was howling across the beach to chase plastic bags through the streets. It had been a tiring day to reach the coast and I just wanted shelter from the storm and another taste of comfort now that I was so used to it. I checked into the first hotel I could find. It was three times my budget and had a pool full of sand. I didn’t care, I was back on the road.
On my final night in Istanbul I was invited to talk on student radio about my adventures as part of Radyo Vesaire‘s Globetrotter travel show. I had a great time speaking with the host Nilce Bıçakcıoğlu and my fellow guest Tina Dahmen from World Study Travels. I even got to play a few of the tunes that have been stuck in my head while cycling across Europe:
New Killer Star – David Bowie
Mojo Pin – Jeff Buckley
Hey Brother, Pour the Wine – Dean Martin
Gypsy Woman – Crystal Waters
Great Southern Land – Icehouse
You can download the mp3 here – Aaron Austin-Glen – Radyo Vesaire
My chat starts 62 minutes into the show on the Mixcloud player below:
After 3 months on the road it’s time to share with you some of the wonderful experiences I’ve had so far.
Although I’ve filmed a lot of the journey for personal record, most of this footage was never intended to be seen by anyone else until I realised that it’s the best way to share what I’ve been up to with my friends. Constantly saying ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’ to everyone doesn’t really cover it.
The first of these videos captures some random and rather silly moments during the 10 days from London to Nuremberg. These first tentative steps across the Netherlands & Germany seem like an absolute age away already as so much has happened since. In revisiting these recordings I can clearly see the uncertainty and doubt of the task ahead thinly disguised behind my surface level observations and silly jokes. It also allows me to reflect on how I’ve changed throughout the journey and I hope that the future videos will allow you to see these changes as well.
I’ll follow this up with parts 2 & 3 and some more interviews in the next few days.
I hope it makes you smile.
Part 1: London to Nuremberg