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Cycling the Mediterranean

To explore the world for oneself, through personal contact, is the most valuable knowledge and the most full-blooded experience of life, and travelling is the best and most direct way to do it. Ventsislav Iliev from Shumen is convinced of this. The 38-year-old Bulgarian has been travelling the world for years with just a bike, a backpack, a camera and a lot of enthusiasm.

Every place he stops and every person he meets on his long journeys is captured in photos and stories that he shares with his followers on social media. And after writing the next chapter of his life story, he also shares his visual memories in professional exhibitions.

During his travels, Ventsi has walked the hundreds of kilometres of the Camino de Santiago, cycled across Europe several times and travelled to Morocco. More than ten years ago, he also reached the Arctic Circle on two wheels. At the beginning of this autumn, he is hitting the road again.

“This time I just instinctively decided to cycle around some parts of the Mediterranean – Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and parts of Greece where I have never been before. For the first time my trip has no beginning, no end, no planned duration and no expected kilometres” – Ventsislav Ilev told Zdravka Ruseva from BNR-Shumen.

In neighbouring Greece, the Bulgarian has already completed the first part of his journey. His aim is to ride, to give his mind a much-needed break from the drudgery of everyday life and, as always, to capture and record interesting urban and natural sounds and landscapes. As well as being an avid traveller, Ventsi describes himself as a nature lover.

The bike has racks for everything – tent, luggage and camera equipment. He has solar panels on his bike to charge his equipment. He says he uses his instincts to overcome any difficulties he may encounter.

“Most of the difficulties have to do with finding water. Riding up the mountains on long climbs is the biggest (physical) difficulty, but I deal with it. As far as I know, there are no cycle paths in Greece. The good thing is that they have built the main road E90, which is very convenient for cycling, with about half a metre in each lane for cyclists,” explains Ventsi. And yet, he says, you can never be too careful on the roads of the Balkan Peninsula.

A few days into his Mediterranean adventure, the Bulgarian admits to being enchanted by the sight of Kavala “plunging” into the Aegean. He compares what he sees to the pastoral panoramas of the French and Italian Rivieras on the Alps, cascading down to the Mediterranean. “There are the same climbs, descents and bends. The difference is that the road here is wider than theirs,” the traveller admits with a smile. Ventsi will be documenting, describing and uploading this journey to social networks. And so, with a rucksack on his back and handlebars in front of him, the Bulgarian sets off for his next stop with only one motivation – to experience happiness and freedom on two wheels.

Text Vesela Krasteva (based on an interview by Zdravka Ruseva, BNR-Shumen)

Photos: Personal archive

Translated and posted by Elizabeth Radkova

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A Little About Me

Professional traveler traveling the world in search of unique locations for photography and sound recording.
Hello, my name is Jacob Riley. For ten years I have been traveling the world to photograph the unique places I visit. As I cycle or walk around I see and hear unique things that I record with my camera and microphones. In my library of sounds you will find both natural sounds and many others that I create while on the road. My photography portfolio is mostly landscapes, but I also create others that touch my heart.
If you want to know more about me, you can read here.

Jacob Riley Creator

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