Homesick student cycles from Scotland to Greece after flights home cancelled due to coronavirus

The 20-year-old cycled 2,175 miles from Aberdeen to Athens over 48 days

Joanna Whitehead
Tuesday 14 July 2020 14:10 BST
A cyclist watches the sun set in Greece
A cyclist watches the sun set in Greece (istock)

A 20-year-old student cycled from Scotland to Greece in 48 days after his flight back home was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kleon Papadimitriou, an engineering student at Aberdeen University, decided to cycle the 2,175 miles to his home in Athens after three of his flights were cancelled.

Realising that his hopes of being reunited with his family were shrinking by the day, he made the decision to travel by bicycle.

After installing an app for his parents to track his whereabouts, Papadimitriou set off on his epic cycle ride on 10 May.

Armed with a tent, sleeping bag, canned sardines and bread, Papadimitriou would travel anywhere between 35 and 75 miles per day, reports CNN.

His home for the night was mostly in forests or fields, but he was occasionally offered a bed and a shower by friends or acquaintances.

“As a relatively introverted person, I was forced to kind of get out of my comfort zone in the sense that if I did not do some things, I would not have a place to stay, I would not have water,” he said.

“It forced me to kind of have those interactions and reach out.”

Papadimitriou finally arrived home on 27 June where he was greeted by family, friends and complete strangers who had been tracking his progress and wished to celebrate his arrival.

“It was very emotional,” he said. “Coming from a family from two parents that were very adventurous in their younger years, seeing me kind of follow in their footsteps, I think is very emotional to them and obviously gives me a lot of meaning.”

“But I think if anything, they felt relief,” he added

Now working a summer job, Papadimitriou has been reflecting on his adventure.

“It’s just now dawning on me how big of an achievement this was,” he said.

“And I did learn a lot of things about myself, about my limits, about my strengths and my weaknesses.”

He added that he hoped his trip “inspired at least one more person to go out of their comfort zone and try something new, something big.”

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