Tortoise and Hare

… or how to keep moving in global pandemic.

A hybrid Bike’n Hike from Keurbooms to Kirkenes
From the southern edge of Africa to the north-eastern corner of Europe
Touching the Indian and the Arctic Oceans
A literal & literary journey of a good few thousand kilometres
With abundant room for real and imaginary detours.

A journey on foot (the Tortoise) and by bicycle (the Hare). A fusion of real movement and virtual progress; of advancing on the map while counting kilometres locally in real life; of analogue and digital adventures. Tortoise and Hare walk, run, hike or bike every single kilometre wherever they can, moving through space and time, while heading north on a virtual globe. Embracing lockdown blues, wanderlust and ‘Fernweh’ (a yearning for far-off places; the opposite of homesickness) while giving the limited radius of local exercise and wanderings some direction; a journey of the mind, while harnessing the joy of movement and adapting travel to new dimensions; letting head and soul explore regions where the body – at this point in time – can’t go. 

Tortoise & Hare have dipped their toes into the Indian Ocean at Keurbooms Beach – and are now tracing their virtual journey on real maps across the continents to the Seas of the North, hoping to eventually be able to really get their feet wet in the icy waters of the Barents Sea. They plan their progress as if they were cruising along in real life, choosing back roads over highways, passing small towns and big cities, crossing rivers and deserts, wandering and wondering. Short term goals, the next destination only a few hundred kilometres ahead, break up the adventure into manageable steps, making a seemingly impossible distance eminently bike’n-hike-able.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Books, their stories and characters are companions, travel mates and inspiration along the route, giving depth to and supplementing the journey. A substitute for real life encounters with people that Tortoise & Hare can’t meet while advancing virtually, they’ll create mental pictures instead of photographs, leave a trail of memories along the route and allow for connections across land and sea.

Like most ideas, Tortoise & Hare’s Bike’n Hike didn’t sprout out of nowhere, but has grown out of a vast sea of influences, inspirations and intentions; it is sailing on an entire cosmos of concepts, memories and visions, often hard to trace back. There is Aesop’s ancient fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare” (persistence wins!), Zeno’s paradox of “Achilles and the Tortoise” and the more recent tale of “The Hare and the Hedgehog”. 

Most definitely though, Tortoise & Hare have taken a leaf out of Pete Reinders’s book: much-admired Karoo Microadventurer, local celebrity and soft-scraper extra-ordinaire, he walked the entire distance from Prince Albert to Cape Town (400 km) during lockdown, 5 km at a time.
Follow Tortoise & Hare on their journey, 
Help them along with suggestions for
Landscapes to see,
Places to visit &
Books to read!

Join Tortoise and Hare!

Choose a destination – wherever in the world you’d like to go – And run, hike or bike the kilometres until you’ve covered the distance. Let us know how it goes!

P.S. if this sounds a little too complicated, let me try again in not so many words:

During these month of lockdown and travel restrictions, I’ve been getting a little bored of doing all the cycling and walking around the same routes all the time. To keep on exercising, I tried to make it more interesting by imagining I was actually going somewhere, such as on a long trip.

So every time I walk or ride my bike, I count the kilometers and then trace them on the map, every time a little further. I have biked and hiked around 440 km already from the beach at Keurbooms, which I used as starting point.At the same time I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the countries  I’m ‘traveling’ through, and am planning to read books set there and written by local authors.

I know it’s a bit of a mad idea, but it just makes doing the same rounds a bit more exciting – and keeps on motivating me to keep on moving…


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