In September, Path Adventure founders Maddison and Kaasam embarked on a four month long trip, cycling from Falmouth to the Sahara. We kitted them out in Finisterre Merino base layers and recycled insulation jackets to take them from cool mountainous climates to warmer coastal weather. Armed with their cameras, they're now a couple of months into their journey, shooting on film and learning about what endurance and persistence really means when you leave familiar home comforts behind.
The Journey So Far
9 weeks, 4 days. Rolling down the west coast toward the sunset, rising on the east coast with the Mediterranean sun. Three languages, two seasons, one time change. Strong black coffee, a quest for flat whites, the perfect porridge and one euro biscuits. A never ending war on mosquitos, 2 nights in the sprinklers and 2 nights in the storm. All in 2500km pedalled. For us, life on the road is a balance of the simple things, capturing the moments and cultivating creativity.
Simplicity ensues in the basic principles needed to survive and thrive in your element; food, shelter and good company. It is the key to slow living, to design, to friendships and ultimately to happiness. But if anything, with all of these elements considered, it is a fundamental to adventure. By keeping things simple on the road, you give more time to what really matters.
Secondly, capturing the moment is as much about not doing so as it is about staring down the barrel of your lens. Shooting film on this trip has pushed our appreciation of texture, colour, light and injected an element of wanderlust into capturing the moments that matter. Every shot is considered, which in a time of disposables and single use is an attitude imperative to our growth and survival.
Deciding to cycle essentially meant that we could go further and see more with what we had; an unquenchable thirst for adventure and most importantly, time. Although the definition of our trip is not for all, we wanted to align with the notion that if you can do it for a day could you do it forever, or at least for a while. So far the journey has been an astounding feat of trying to remember what day it is.
When we began telling people about our ‘Cycle To Sahara’ they were more concerned about us cycling to Plymouth to catch the ferry. Arriving in Roscoff felt familiar, and we made light work getting to Nantes following the canal routes. Lost in the city lights we headed off into the wild once again, this time compelled to be by the sea. Sunsets every night and camping by the steady rolls of the waves, we felt a deep comfort in being by the coast: strong surf, warm seas, golden mornings and late glows, all amongst the amicable locals that took us in.
With strong climbs and long descents we arrived in to San Sebastian and instantly knew that we liked the place; 4 days and 3 nights fuelled by pintxos, cerveza, dancing late into the night and howling at the moon. However, tip offs of impending storms amongst the Pyrenees had us hopping coasts to the Med, and arriving in to Barcelona into the arms of an adorning family. One magical week later, that left us with a palpitating hole in our hearts yearning for home; it was a difficult moment having to leave.
The Mediterranean coast treated us with the same warmth and ease all the way to Denia. Unfortunately sleeping out during two storms got our kit damaged and drenched, so we decided to take a bus as close to Cadiz as possible. One colossal journey and another short trip later, we finally arrived home.
Home. Although we’ve never felt as though we’ve been ‘without’ on this trip, we most certainly did appreciate the lost embrace of a bed with linen supplied by the best of Mums.
They say that good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind. The stronger the tree.
Words and photography by Maddison Willmott and Kasaam Aziz