Kleon Papadimitriou’s decision to cycle from Scotland to Greece was influenced in equal measure by the desire for adventure and personal challenge and out of necessity. Unable to stay in Scotland and with no means of getting back to his home country, he decided to go by bike, spending six weeks and six days on the move.
Kleon had been studying engineering at Aberdeen University when COVID-19 disrupted life. With the lease up at his house and unable to stay in Scotland, he planned his return to Athens, only for three separate flights to be canceled. He knew that if he wanted to get back in a safe way anytime soon, he was going to have to take matters into his own hands, and set about planning a 3500km route by bike.
“The planning involved finding a route through open borders, checking with embassies and governments to make sure I have the appropriate documents and permissions. It involved talking to others who had done such a trip and seeing what I should expect, what gear I would need, and obtaining some of the gear that I did not already have. Finally, it took a lot of mental preparation,” Kleon told Lonely Planet.
He approached it bit by bit, one day at a time, traveling through Edinburgh, Leeds and Hull, over to Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Cologne, through Germany and Italy, and finally on to Greece. He took ferries and passed through city and countryside.
“If I were to consider the whole trip and my daily progress, I would have quickly become disheartened and I doubt I would have made it past the first few days. I learned that my limits and abilities are much beyond what I thought they were. I learned the value of patience, objective thinking, remaining calm in stressful situations, as well as many other minor things. The main thing I learned is that when I’m so far out of my comfort zone I discover very meaningful things, whatever those may be!” Kleon said. Kleon also said that the moment he was finally reunited with his family was emotional and unforgettable.