Last year the planets aligned and I had the opportunity to attend Italy's first Horizons Unlimited Gathering.
HU was started by an Aussie couple over 20 years ago when they saw a real need for long distance adventure travellers to share their info and support each other. By long distance I really mean RTW. ( to the unititiated-- around the world). I barely qualify though.
I met DRZ rider Rebecca on the ferry from Albania to Italy. She had been riding some TET trails in northern Albania and I had been in the same region but on roads not trails. She suggested I come to Tuscany to the HU Gathering in a few weeks time. I did.
Last year Dimitar arrived straight from his best mates wedding in Bulgaria. Very carefully packed in his soft saddle bags, the Bulgarian version of Andy Straps panniers were several bottles of rakija!! The tradition goes that when a daughter is born, the father makes as much rake as he can and buries it in the backyard. There it stays in temperature controlled bliss until the daughters wedding day! There was too much rakija to be consumed at his mates wedding so Dimitar as best man was offered a few bottles for his trip. He generously shared it, most people thought it was marvellous. To my uneducated palate it was 'fire water'.
Even though Dimitar has a high powered career he works hard at keeping his work-life balance. He passed through Zagreb, with just enough time for coffee and food before heading to Italy to maybe catch up with Rebecca, then catch ferry to Barcelona for two weeks of TET riding.
It was pretty awesome to catch up with him. He is a very enterprising young man who has an enormous passion for life. And I think he's just marvelous. .
He set off from Zagreb to hopefully meet up with Rebecca. ( and I'm not playing Cupid here😍😍)
Rebecca was not able to catch up with Dimitar, I'll let her off though she had a pretty good reason.
There were only about 30 of us that participated in HU Italy 2018 and I've made such great connections. Miriam, one of the presenters has been motorcycling around Australia this summer and found time to stay with me in Tasmania.
And me at last years HU Italy!!
And to add a postscript.
While Dimitar was riding around Spain and Portugal he sent many photos, mostly of him wheelstanding across ridges, he also paid me a huge compliment. We had been chatting about our fantasies, he as Pippi Longstocking, and me as Peter Pan, then he said when he grows up he wants to be an "Annie "