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Book details
  • Genre:TRAVEL
  • SubGenre:Africa / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:230
  • eBook ISBN:9781620955659

A Hitch-Biker's Guide Through Africa

Cairo to Cape Town on a Folding Bike

by Jo Charnock

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A Hitch-Biker's Guide Through Africa is about a unique journey from Cairo to Cape Town using folding bicycles.
After a sailing trip from South Africa to Belgium in 2007, Jo Charnock, and her partner Jan Wouters found themselves stranded in Europe with winter approaching fast. Instead of taking the easy option of flying straight home, they decided to travel overland from Cairo to Cape Town. With their mode of transport undecided Jan came up with the idea to travel with folding bicycles; almost certainly a first in Africa. In November of that year, confident of the fact they would not cycle the whole distance, they set off to traverse the length of Africa by whatever means available. Their experiences saw them travelling with missionaries in the desert, Sudanese and Ethiopian truck drivers, on trains, a plane, buses and of course hitch-biking. A Hitch-Biker's Guide Through Africa is the story of their extraordinary adventures, and of the incredible people they met while travelling within the most beautiful and diverse continent of Africa.
About the author
Not staying behind for a parents visit when she was away from home for the very first time, at the tender age of 7, was perhaps a defining moment or realisation that Jo would always want to travel. Jo was born on the 5th of November 1968, into a world of changing times. The Vietnam war was in full swing and the day after she was born Richard Nixon was announced as the 37th American president. Earlier in the year, America had formed the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and in England Led Zeppelin performed their first-ever live concert. Strange days indeed! The nondescript industrial town of Bolton was the place of Jo's birth, but the family moved to various places including Aspull, Blackrod and Sale in Cheshire, all before she turned 6. Fortunately, her parents then moved the family to Cornwall to run a guesthouse. Growing up in Cornwall was a pleasure. Kids of this generation were probably the last to have the kind of freedom that they were able to enjoy (before the advent of cell phones and paranoia). Jo's free-time was almost all spent horse-riding. She had the freedom of leaving home in the early hours and not coming back until before dinner, having spent the day roving around miles and miles of countryside on horseback. All this came to an end her my parents moved yet again, to run a pub outside Helston on the other side of the peninsula. Changing schools at the tender age of 14 was probably not a good idea as she now went from a grade A student to just scraping by when it was time for the now defunct 'O' levels at 16. This was also the time of her rebellious youth when she got into punk and goth music as well as a goth/hippy crowd (even going so far as shaving her hair and dying the remaining bright purple!). But after a lot of dedication and hard work concentrating on her art, Jo's portfolio got her into Edinburgh College of Art and so she moved to the other end of the country. After studying for two years she came to realise that studying and fine art was not really her thing, and so she left to start work and to start saving to travel. November 1994 (and coincidentally the year of the end of apartheid), saw Jo arriving on a backpacking trip in South Africa. She quickly fell in love with the country and it became her home. Various experiences awaited, including stints working on overland vehicles, travelling around Southern Africa and later opening her own restaurant. In November 2003, she met (now husband) Jan Wouters who literally introduced Jo to sailing and changed her life. Since that meeting, Jo has sailed (almost) around the world delivering yachts, as 1st mate and partner in their company, Indigo Yacht Management, which they continue to do to this day. 2007 - 2008 saw them take on another endeavour, and they travelled from Cairo to Cape Town with folding bikes. The fantastic experiences they shared and the many people Jo and Jan met along the way were the inspiration for this book ' A Hitch-biker's Guide Through Africa'. "Hopefully, our adventures will long continue as we have many plans for new projects including lots more sailing to faraway ports, and other ventures with our folding bikes."

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