Travelling for A Cause by Juan Soria – Story of A Traveller
Juan left an exceptional impression to me. I met him at a hostel in Hanoi, Vietnam called See You at Lily’s. He’s that traveller who plays the guitar to make the atmosphere cosy and comfortable. Juan is also a professional midwife.
When I found out about his big cycling trip from London to Spain for a cause, I was amazed and inspired to hear his story and the reason why he will cycle for over 2,000 kilometres.
Juan is travelling around for 6 months now and maybe will travel for another month, which is he’s not sure about.
What is your name, age and where are you from?
My name is Juan Soria, I am 34 years old and I’m from Spain. I was born in a beautiful city called Sevilla.
What made you decided to go travelling?
I backpacked [for] 8 months from Mexico to Argentina 7 years ago. I was missing backpacking and I needed to get out of London as life was stagnant. [So], I decided to just go for it and become a traveller again. There were a few things that I really wanted to do and I think I have actually got around to do most of them.
I volunteered in an Animal Rescue Centre in Thailand. I looked after the elephants, monkeys and many other wild animals. I did a silent meditation retreat in Chiang Mai, I motorcycled around Thailand and Vietnam. Right now, I am undertaking the most challenging project; cycling from London to Sevilla, which is more than 2,000 kilometres.
What do you love about travelling?
I like seeing new places, not knowing what is going to be next and having the freedom to do whatever I want to do. [All of a sudden] you will meet someone who was nobody a minute ago, that will always be in my memory. Then after a few hours, you will find yourself sharing an amazing experience together, or having a good chat, or playing the guitar and singing together.
For me travelling is about sharing moments with people, sometimes you need your own space, but what truly make travelling enriching, is the people. Museums and monuments carry history and they are very interesting too, however, people carry reality and that could be more powerful.
In your opinion, what is the worst part of travelling?
It took me a while to find an answer for this, but I guess the worst part of travelling is the feeling vulnerable. I have felt like this on many occasions and think I have learnt to deal with it, but I guess the fear or the respect is always there. Maybe this makes travelling more exciting.
What makes your travelling style unique?
When I was backpacking, I used to carry a guitar; I have not met many travellers going around with instruments. I guess that makes me unique. Music is very important for me, and a guitar can be a great company on many different situations.
Unfortunately, now that I am cycling from London to Sevilla, I cannot carry a guitar on my bike. I tried, but it was impossible. I am cycling around 100 kilometres every day. I am camping, staying with friends in different cities. It is an amazing experience, I am very glad that I have survived so far!
Since I started travelling, I have created a website called Juan of Many, where I publish short interviews with people and put up a picture of them. I was inspired by “Humans of New York” website.
I am also fundraising for an NGO based in Macedonia called LEGIS, they are doing a great job supporting refugees from the Middle East, North of Africa and other war affected areas. I proposed to raise 1 GBP per kilometre I cycled. So far, we have raised around 1000 pounds, which I am very happy about.
If you have a message to everyone who hasn’t travelled, what would it be?
I learned this one in Krabi (Thailand): Have the courage to be vulnerable. Open your eyes and your heart to other cultures, embrace the differences instead of judging them. Be flexible, be kind and do not try to control everything.
What is your message to someone who would love to travel, but full of doubts?
The clock is always ticking at the same pace. You may spend a week sitting at home doing very little or you might be somewhere else in the world living life to the fullest, meeting interesting people, sharing experiences, getting to know yourself better. You have to try at least ONCE, if you do not enjoy it, then you can always come back home.
What is your main goal of travelling?
To learn to grow as a person. To get to know myself better. To meet people, to understand how insignificant we are and to appreciate what we have.
Do you have any tips to your co-travellers or people who are about to travel?
Be flexible, open your eyes and heart, go for it 100%, but always be careful about your decisions. The adventure might be crazy, but you should always be sensible. Enjoy every minute.
Juan, up to this moment is still cycling and hoping to reach his goal for his fundraising. To DONATE to this cause, click HERE.
All photos are owned by Juan Soria.
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