Gallery: Jilly’s life-changing cycling adventure
PUBLISHED: 14:16 13 April 2012
SHE has pedalled her way alongside the winding River Danuabe, through the barren deserts of Iran and the high altitude mountain range of the Pamirs.
For the last 12 months, Jilly Sherlock has endured sandstorms, blizzards, icy chills and scorching heat – after embarking on the kind of life-changing adventure most of us wouldn’t even dream of.
After being made redundant last year, Miss Sherlock packed her rucksack with essential survival gear and jumped on her bike.
Since that day – April 9, 2011 – she has cycled a staggering 14,000km, travelling through more than 20 countries, including Armenia, Iran, Tajikstan, China and Thailand.
Incredibly, she has survived on just £5-a-day, spending her nights camping in the wild or enjoying the hospitality of friendly locals.
Since leaving her mother’s Felixstowe home, she has managed to acclimatise to her ever-changing surroundings, which have included deserts, mountain trails, forests and jungle.
Miss Sherlock said that at times she felt like a fugitive on the run.
“It’s amazing really that from taking the ferry to France you can actually travel overland by bicycle all the way to Singapore before you need to take another boat or a plane,” she said.
The former Deben High School student said friends thought she was “crazy” to take on the challenge alone.
She added: “I had been made redundant and after a few months of unsuccessful job hunting thought maybe I should go on a long bike ride and live on £5 a day instead.
“I wanted a challenge that would take me out of a comfort zone I’d become accustomed to.
“When you are suddenly stripped of the material things in life and your daily concern is finding food, water and shelter, your priorities and mind set change, I believe, for the better.
“I also wanted to travel in a greener fashion and see the bits in between that you miss on a bus, train or plane.
“Being a notoriously unlucky flyer and also a non-driver I thought it would be an idea to head off East on my bicycle.
“I have learnt that the world is a nice place – the majority of people are there to help not harm.”
Her journey has taken her through a host of European countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, and on to the beauty of Middle Eastern nations such as Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Most recently she has tasted the delights and charm of China and Laos.
“There have been so many highlights it is impossible to name them all,” she said.
“Overall it must be the people I have met and the kindness I have received.
“The family that took me in during a storm in the mountains of Georgia, the yak farmers in Tajikstan who gave up their beds and fed me yak liver and freshly baked naan and ate for themselves my leftovers, the wonderful Iranians whose hospitality was overwhelming.”
Miss Sherlock said the hardest part of her challenge was during her time in China when temperatures plummeted to a bitter minus 30C.
She said she is still suffering from numb toes and damage to the nerves in her feet.
“I must admit I did not have a clue (about my route) when I set off. Like Bismarck I knew my general direction but not my exact path! I reached China which was my goal but I realised if I could keep to a budget I could reach Singapore... and then the land runs out.
“My desire is now to circumnavigate.
“I may not have the money but if there’s a will there’s a way.”
For more information and to follow Jilly’s journey, visit www.sherlocktales.blogspot.co.uk
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