27 countries in 12 months… by bicycle SEARCH NEWS

Two bicycles by the roadside in Albania

21,000 kilometres, 27 countries, 12 months, three pairs of lycra shorts, two bicycles, and one camera.

When Camilla and Julian Read decided to move to New Zealand from the UK, they chose to see how much of that journey they could do by bike, and while enjoying the world’s natural landscapes by road, try to save endangered habitats by fundraising for World Land Trust on their way.

As you read this, they are currently on the road cycling the southern coast of Turkey, after setting off in March from Bosham, in West Sussex, with their maps and two laden bikes.

Two heavily laden bikes ready for the long distance journey

Setting off from Bosham, West Sussex, with two laden bikes. © Camilla and Julian Read

Leave no trace

Camilla and Julian have been wild camping as much as possible throughout their trip through Europe so far, trying to keep their environmental impact as low as possible through the ‘take only photos, leave onto footprints’ principle.

“Except in this case it would be tyre tracks,” Julian tells us, as we contacted them on the road to find out how their journey had been going. “I think what’s important to us is the fact that you can travel the world and live minimally. Our world surrounds us on our bicycle. We have to carry it everywhere. We therefore consider everything we do.”

“The biggest challenge so far has been minimising plastic bag waste,” adds Camilla. “When at home we do a big shop, buy in bulk and use our reusable bags. On the bike we can only carry enough food for 2-3 days and so end up doing lots of small shops.”

Albania road with mountains

Camilla and Julian wanted to see as many beautiful, natural landscapes as possible on their route. © Camilla and Julian Read

An environmental conscience

Both Camilla and Julian have followed career paths that suit their desires to lessen the environmental impact of our everyday lives. Julian has worked to develop renewable energy in the UK, particularly offshore wind farms. He says “My career and this way of living have given me a definitive understanding of the energy industry and how important it is to reduce and conserve our energy needs.”

Camilla’s work as an environmental consultant has also affected her way of thinking. She tells World Land Trust, “Finding the balance between meeting our needs whilst preserving our environment to ensure the needs of future generations are met is still something I think we’re struggling with as a global population and something I will always strive to address through my work.”

No hands! Cyclist on the road in Crete, mountain in background

Camilla and Julian are dedicated to protecting the environment in and outside work © Camilla and Julian Read

International impact

Long-distance travel has been a part of Camilla and Julian’s relationship since they met, as Camilla is from the UK, Julian is from New Zealand, and over the course of their relationship they have lived in both countries.

“Having travelled and lived at opposite ends of the globe we’ve seen first-hand the need for international cooperation in tackling large scale environmental issues such as climate change,” says Camilla. This was partly why they chose to support World Land Trust by fundraising to protect endangered habitats around the world on their journey.

“Rather than focus on a specific area we really liked the fact World Land Trust works across the globe,” says Julian. “The empowerment this creates at a local community scale from each project is also incredible to see.”

“Yes, World Land Trust’s work with local communities is really important to us, as it empowers the people who live near vulnerable areas to take ownership and protect them,” adds Camilla.

Bike handlebars with World Land Trust flag and map visible

Camilla and Julian decided to use their journey to fundraise for wildlife conservation through World Land Trust. © Camilla and Julian Read

Wild highlights

What have they enjoyed the most about their trip so far? Camilla tells us, “The freedom of feeling the wind in your hair, every day! When I started this trip I thought that it would be the landscapes I’d enjoy the most, and they have been amazing, but one of the best parts of each new country is meeting the people. Each person has a new and fascinating story to tell, and you learn so much more from locals than you ever would from a guide book or the internet.”

Julian says that although finding suitable places to wild camp has been one of the most challenging aspects of their trip (they have wild camped 47 nights so far), the hours spent searching for the ‘perfect spot’ have always been worth it. “The results however have always been incredible. We often find ourselves talking endlessly about the wild camp spots we savoured.”

Wild camping in Greece

Finding spots to wild camp throughout their journey has been difficult, but sleeping in beautiful locations is worth it © Camilla and Julian Read

Follow Camilla and Julian’s journey

Camilla and Julian are not yet even halfway, and are planning on visiting three World Land Trust projects in the next year- the Garo Hills (India), Khe Nuoc Trong (Vietnam) and Kites Hill (Gloucestershire, UK, when they return for a six week break). You can check out their route and progress on their website, read about their travels in their blog, and follow them on social media (Instagram, Twitter) for updates.

To support their journey by donating to their World Land Trust fundraising page, visit their JustGiving page here. They are aiming to raise £1 for every mile ridden, and all donations will go towards our Action Fund, which supports our partner’s most urgent conservation projects all over the world.

Inspired by Camilla and Julian to make a difference and become a fundraiser for World Land Trust? Browse our fundraising ideas and find out how you can get started »

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