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    Newsletter from Mauritania (UK)

    As some of you may have noticed on my Facebook status updates, the headwinds have been torturing me lately going up through Mauritania on the western fringes of the immensely desolate Sahara. It’s really tough going, physically and mentally, traversing the biggest arid zone in the world, with sometimes more than a hundred kilometers between tiny settlements and signs of human life.
    Sleeping out in the greatest solitude imaginable under the starry African sky, in my tent or simply just in my sleeping bag in the warm dunes off the road, is an incredible experience and somewhat makes up for the daytime struggles.

    Somewhat. Still, facing the brisk headwinds for hours and hours and hours, with nothing in the indifferent and stark desert-scape to cheer you up, or to keep your mind strong, is emotionally very demanding, very challenging. Checking my bike computer doesn’t help at all: 12-14 km/h on flat terrain, small chain ring, pushing hard. No free kilometers around here.

    But it’s not all bad. I feel delighted having come this far already, somewhat ahead of the “schedule”
    that doesn’t really exist other than in my fragmented mind. I now know what to expect from the next 1.000 km stage through Western Sahara – hard work, howling headwinds, inhospitable landscapes, slow progress, canned sardines, sand and grit everywhere, mental battles. No challenge is too big for the well-prepared, they say. I know I can’t go wrong, and the only way is up/north!

    I left Accra, Ghana 54 days ago (36 of which cycling days with a total of 4.010 km) and have traveled through Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania. When the going gets tough and there are no apparent changes in the landscape, only progress makes happy, and (mum, dad, sister, friends, others) it does feel great getting closer to Europe and eventually Danish turf. It really does…

    Thanks for the optimism you bring me.

    Nicolai (Nouadhibou, Mauritania – 56.793 km from home)

    BTW, did you check out the new WT-photos from West Africa?

    On this day..

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