Xenia & Joscha trip of collect donations
We asked Xena & Joscha : Introduce yourself, talk about anything you want, your age, your country, how did your passion for travel begin, yours goals…?
They said: In the summer of 2022, we, Xenia (32) and Joscha (31), quit our jobs in the Berlin start-up scene and swapped our laptop work for life on the saddle. With no deadline, no experience and no training for this long-term bike trip, we set off. First east to Thailand (about 15000km), but without a fixed route, is our motto.
However, the decision for this new stage of life is not based on a passion for cycling, but on the enthusiasm for this type of travel. We have traveled to many countries before but always as backpackers or tourists who are traveling on routes with touristic infrastructure.
We were missing the true authentic experience with locals and the possibility to let coincidence rule your journey to collect forgettable stories. With the bike we can slowly discover the world, and the vulnerability that inevitably opens up real encounters. At the same time, we hope for an adventure with unforgettable situations, ups and downs, negative as well as positive feelings.
The journey is meant to challenge us. At the same time, we want to collect stories and get to know each other better as individuals and as a couple. In addition, we will give back for the privilege and support an important cause for us. The creatures we ride for usually have no voice. They are beaten, hit or dragged on roads and humanity often doesn’t give a damn what happens to them.
Diseases such as rabies are also a great health risk, which puts a strain on the relationship with humans and causes immense suffering.
We want to give a voice to the voiceless with our journey and point out the challenges of street animals as well as show solutions. In doing so, we are raising funds for a trusted animal welfare organization in Thailand (Soi Dog Foundation) to fund a mobile clinic to provide medical care and holistic containment for street animals.
We Pedal for Paws!
The donation link for the mobile clinic: gofundme.com/pedalforpaws-soidog
Question: Traveling by bike is it easy ?
They said: No it’s not easy, but having a vacation and easy life is not the purpose of the trip and will not bring us close to the motivation of our journey. The ride costs us a lot of energy and effort. We both don’t really know what we’re doing most of the time and reach some kind of limit almost every day. A relaxed moment where we enjoy life at the beach or beautiful spot are rare. And in the end it is just that: a short perfect moment. But sometimes the process to this point can be painful, e.g. desperately looking for a campsite, physical exhaustion, weather conditions (rain, coldness, extreme heat), the legs and butts hurt, problems occur on your bike where you don’t know how to fix it. On beautiful campsite pictures you also don’t see how much time it takes to repeatedly unpack and pack our things. You also don’t see that shortly afterwards we were bitten by many mosquitoes. And you also don’t see that we spend quite a long while worrying about whether this campsite is safe.
Yet, we get used to the challenges and know how to respond best…until the next unforeseen challenge hits us. Traveling by bike through the world is a little bit like a huge academy where you go from level to level and learn a lot by doing and experiencing. We did not sign up for something easy, but the experiences we make are so rich and intense. We have the feeling the 8 months traveling so far could fill 4-5 years of our previous lives in Germany.
Question: What are the most important difficulties you face?
They said: Jordan – we needed to take a break from our journey. Due to contaminated food or drink, first Joscha and then Xenia get food poisoning. We are just able to save ourselves in a shelter in front of the ancient rock city of Petra. After two days Joscha is better, but Xenia’s condition worsens. After contact with German doctors, several visits to doctors and infusions as well as a transport to the nearest hospital, there is still no improvement in Xenia after two weeks. The situation is extremely stressful and the helplessness, what we can do, leaves us only one choice. After thinking about it for a while, we flew to Germany for a few weeks and stored the bikes and equipment in a hotel basement in Aqaba. This felt like a huge setback at first, as we find ourselves back at our starting point in no time.
But it turns out to be a great opportunity. Then we could reflect on the wealth of experiences and enjoy the time at home with the family and especially the one-year-old niece as well as our 95-year-old grandmother.
Question: Is money an obstacle to financing the trip and how to act ?
They said: We had the privilege to save enough money with our jobs in Germany for this trip. Moreover we have several sponsors that supported us with some costs of the equipment and bike. Throughout the trip we live from our savings and the way we spend money decides how long we can travel. That is why we try to avoid paid accommodation, restaurants and expensive touristic activities. We rather use this possibility of „restricted resources“ to live a more local life and connect with the people instead.
Question: Tell us about your most important travels, how many distances did you travel?
They said: We don’t count the kilometers per day or try to break a record. Sometimes we cycle 30km, rarely above 100km. The number on our tacho is not relevant for what we are looking for. So far we traveled almost 6000 km with the bike, but the number can never tell the amazing, tough, tearful, intense and surprising stories and experiences we made so far.
But a Small fun fact about Joscha and his connection to Tunisia: Joscha’s parents met each other in Tunisia on vacation. So without your country, Joscha would not been born 😀
Question: What are your dreams and plans for the future?
They said: We have many dreams and ideas, whether it is a long-distance hike, learning new things, like a ranger education in Africa or traveling the world with a dog & children. But right now, the only thing we wish for ourselves is staying healthy and having as much time as possible to travel the world by bike.
Question: What are your tips for those who want to experience traveling on a bike?
They said: We had 0 experiences before. We did not even know how to change a flat tire, we did not train for the trip and had no route. We just had the strong motivation that this is the way we want to travel and took the risk. So taking the risk by just doing it is our biggest advice. Of course the preparation took effort and time. We needed to plan things about our equipment and find solutions on how to finance it. We also got COVID and our start got delayed because of it… BUT the biggest achievement for us was to START this trip. Everything else will follow. So starting and not overthinking, thinking about the possibilities and less the potential threats (which rarely come true) on this journey are our biggest advice.
Question: Has your trip project been successful and what do you feel like after the trip ?
They said: What is your definition of success? Everybody needs to define that for themselves, but we consciously did not set many goals. The idea of this journey was not to have a goal and see what happens.
Question: What is your impression about the Arab countries that you visited ?
They said: Xenia traveled to Bahrain before and Joscha to Morocco as tourists. But cycling through Jordan and now Saudi Arabia has been a completely different experience. People are very friendly and supportive. People stopping us on our way to give drinks and food or to invite us to their houses. We had the opportunity to visit many people’s homes because of that. And in case of sickness, a lot of people wanted to help out as well. You can find many of these stories in our Insta posts: E.g. https://www.instagram.
It is interesting for us to travel through countries where religion is so present, ruling people’s lives and how it affects them and their behaviours towards others. Although we are not Muslim, the majority treat us with so much respect, and this is part of being a good Muslim from what we learnt.