Spaniard Guim Valls Teruel wants to travel the world on his electric bicycle. Now, travelling across continents for years is a lonely pursuit that could test the fortitude of even the most determined.
Green message: Spaniard Guim Valls Teruel (left) and Nguyen Thuy Anh pose for a photo in Ha Noi. — File Photo
Luckily for him, he now has a companion – his new Vietnamese bride he married recently after a lightning courtship.
The Barcelona-born Beijing resident left the Chinese capital on his bicycle soon after the 2008 Olympics, hoping to promote a global culture of energy conservation and waste reduction while also indulging his wanderlust.
The 36-year-old planned to write, take photographs, and shoot a documentary about what various countries are doing for the environment.
"My parents were not at all surprised when I told them my plan [to ride across the world] since they know I am always ready to travel and experience something new.
"I woke up one day and it was my first thought. I just knew."
But little did he know that on the way he would meet his life partner.
When he arrived in Viet Nam after passing through Japan and South Korea, he was interviewed by Viet Nam Television journalist Nguyen Thuy Anh, 31. He promptly fell in love with her.
Anh said she was not attracted to the man who seemed to love only his bike and go to strange places. "The more I chatted with him, the more I thought he was a mad man. I couldn't believe he was ready to give up a comfortable life and wonderful family to pedal alone around the world."
Teruel decided to stay in Ha Noi for two weeks and looked for chances to meet her. He told her about his love for her, but she turned him down, urging him to continue his journey.
"Don't let a girl spoil your life's journey. After finishing the tour, come back here," she told him.
Teruel was very sad but decided to continue with his trip to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Australia.
But it was when the "madman" went away that Anh began to miss him. They stayed in touch, chatting seven or eight hours online every day.
One day, when he was in Sydney, Australia, he suddenly decided to return to Ha Noi and ask for her hand in marriage.
Finally, his persistence paid off. She consented after he serenaded her by playing the guitar! They got married in January in Ha Noi. A month later, on Valentine's Day, Anh decided to continue with her husband's journey. The couple plan to celebrate a wedding in Barcelona, Teruel's hometown, when they reach Spain.
Teruel has launched a website called http://www.electricbicycleworldtour.com and is looking for sponsors to raise money for the trip, which has been mainly funded by his own savings and some help from his parents.
"I have received many supportive comments. Many people have left their contact details and promised to host me when I pass through."
To raise money, the couple also sell T-shirts printed with the logo of their tour.
When they arrive in a country, the couple speak to the local community, urging people to use environment-friendly energy and embrace the culture of energy conservation and waste reduction.
Anh plans to make a series of documentaries about their journey and about life and people in the various parts of the globe they visit.
The couple plan to travel through 20 countries before arriving in London for the Olympics next year.
After the Olympics, they will return to Ha Noi where Teruel could possibly resume his career as a finance professional. — VNS