Kleon Papadimitriou, a stranded 20-year-old Greek student who was staying Scotland, was forced to make his way home by riding his bicycle, a journey of some 3,500 kilometers, after his native country closed its borders, CNN reported.
Papadimitriou was about to begin his third year of studies in the University of Aberdeen, but coronavirus altered his plans. In early March, as the flights he booked were cancelled one by one, the future cyclist realized that he should prepare for a longer stay in Scotland.
After experiencing a brief change of heart, however, he decided to go on an adventure. Papadimitriou stockpiled canned sardines, peanut butter and bread, in addition to a sleeping bag, a tent and his bike, and he went off on his journey despite his family’s concerns.
Travelling mostly by day, between 56 to 120 kilometers, the Greek traveker first reached England. From there, he rode all the way to the Netherlands. Next he rolled into Austria, trailing across the eastern coast of Italy until finally taking a boat to Greece, from where he rode all the way to Athens - his home city. CNN described him sleeping under the stars, in fields and forests.Papadimitriou kept a constant track of his progress while checking in with friends and family. Despite the difficult conditions, he did manage to get himself into a warm bed and enjoyed hot showers occasionally, a courtesy of his friends from across Europe.
The experience clearly had an enormous impact on Papadimitriou, who told CNN that it has helped him to leave his comfort zone. He was forced to reach out to people, and to squeeze through difficult situations.
Finally, after some 50 days of traveling on country roads, he received a hero’s welcome when his family members, many of his friends and even complete strangers who were closely monitoring his progress celebrated his return.
In reflecting upon his extraordinary experience, the Greek adventurer told CNN readers that they should set a high standard and push themselves forward.