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I feel like I’ve mentally turned toward the trip and that it is now front and centre in my mind.

This morning I was catching up on some emails and watched the videos Matthew Harris had posted, in two parts, of his ride so far: from Eindhoven to Dubrovnik and from Dubrovnik to Istanbul. They were excellent.

On his blog post, I commented as much and he replied quickly with thanks. Matthew is an Australian who has been living in Europe for 21 years and is cycling home. He’s taken a winter break and come to summer in Australia. I suggested that if he came to Sydney I’d gladly shout him a beer/coffee to hear his stories in person. He replied he was in town now – how about this afternoon? 5pm Newtown? Ha ha – the internets.

Matthew is a lovely bloke – I really enjoyed meeting him although it was a little weird as it came together so randomly and quickly. We had a few beers and a big bowl of chips at The Court House Hotel. He inspired me with tales (and photographs) of riding under the midnight sun toward the North Cape in Norway.

Afterwards I met my friend Jonathan for dinner and we ended up chatting for several hours with Boris and Carla from Hamburg (he’s originally from Sibera). They have just arrived in Australia for a holiday. She had been an exchange student in Mackay QLD when she was 17 – 10 years ago. It was a really good night that went much longer and involved more beers than I’d anticipated – but was just the sort of encounter I’m looking forward to having many times over come my Big Ride.

I feel like my traveller’s year has begun.

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