Across the borders: Antonio Di Guida between Israel and Palestine by bike

My name is Antonio Di Guida and I am a writer but above all, a cycle traveler.

I have been traveling the world for 10 years now. I am the type of traveler who wants to connect with multiple cultures, indigenous peoples and fully understand their essence, their secrets and their life that lies behind their looks, their wrinkles and work in the fields or in large factories in order to to be able to grow and learn more and more the mystery of this incredible life.

Thanks to the bicycle, I can reach places and people that almost never have glimpsed a tourist and this for me is the greatest wealth: knowing them, listening to them, living them and helping them through my voice and my stories. 

I will briefly tell you my story.
In 2013 I decided to leave that safe harbor that was the place where I was born. In a moment of great inner malaise, where I could no longer see the beauty of living my life through a permanent job, a relationship, a mortgage and a family, I decided that the road and the journey should be an integral part of my life. I took a one-way flight to Kenya, where I lived for several months in a humanitarian project and where thanks to this incredible experience, I realized how important it is to connect with indigenous peoples through one of the strongest experiences you can do in your life: volunteering. Sometimes you think that volunteering is a form of help to others, it is also true that through volunteering you can learn many things about that place, you can know your limits, to experiment and understand what you like to do and what not. After Africa I lived for two years in Australia where I worked hard to allow myself to buy a camera and then travel for two years in Asia. I then opened a website italianbackpacker.com where to date, I tell of my travels, my books and the online course of cycling that I realized.
After Australia I made an overland journey through Asia, from Indonesia to the Arab States. And this is where I approached the cyclo-journey. I had little money with me, and I wanted to cross Iran in the slowest way possible, to reach above all people who could tell me about their culture, live it deeply. I bought a bike for 80 dollars and tied my backpack with a rope, crossed the entire Persian land. A journey that then became my book: Iran by bicycle.

antonio di guida

From that moment, I learned the magic of cycling, but above all, that incredible possibility that a vehicle with two wheels, moved with the strength of the body but especially by the mind, can make you know stories, cultures, families and lands that you could never have known on the road or with a motor vehicle. 

After arriving in Italy and crossing Turkey and Greece, I decided to take another flight. This time to America. For two years I wandered by land and sea with my backpack from the United States to Colombia, then from here, to travel again with a bicycle, this time made by a great craftsman: Eugenio Simoncini. 

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile are part of a big family that raised me for 3 years. I have lived intensely through my pedals, realizing experiences of all kinds in contact with indigenous cultures, learning more and more of the many issues and difficulties that these populations live today: such as the Peruvian villages intoxicated in the valley in Cerro De Pasco because of the Japanese mines, the exploitation of the Quechua tribes in the Ecuadorian fields, or the many Aymara villages in Bolivia that are fighting against the government for the many industries built in salar to extract lithium; I could go on forever…

This year, perhaps also because I stayed still for almost a year because of covid, I went too far. Crossing Palestine, the occupied and conflicting territories was definitely not a walk in the park.
I wanted to get to know the Palestinian families, their present, their stories, but above all, to bring their voice to Italy and through my stories, in order to help them in any way possible.

I have crossed the great wall that divides Israel with the Palestinian Territories and it has not been absolutely easy: the young military who are afraid, are the most dangerous thing you can find while traveling, Especially if they point a gun at you and yell in your face not to move. I sneaked into the mountains and then I got into humanitarian projects that support Palestinian families through organic farming.

I continued my journey, where in every village the Palestinians stopped me abruptly, even showing me the gun to make sure that I was not the ‘enemy’, then the Arab hospitality presented itself to my soul: they welcomed me in their homes, decorated with many photos of family members killed, disappeared or in jail for no reason.
Many, many stories that cannot be told in a text like this, and for this reason I need spaces like the Bam to be able to share.
My journey continued to Egypt and then to Jordan, dry lands, full of hospitable people but at the same time not really free, and this journey made me understand how lucky we are to be born in the right part’ ( so they call it) in a free country and have the opportunity to move and travel around the world. 

Travelling to break down every kind of wall, every kind of border and every kind of flag, to be able to help families and peoples completely abandoned by every government. Help them in being able to pay for a night at their home, their food and their hospitality. You travel without ego, without necessarily having to break records or want to make the ‘History’, you travel in order to be able to improve, to know yourself inwardly but above all, to live so many experiences that through every type of life ¿normal’ chained in the routine, You could never live. 

Long live the cyclists and dreamers. 

See you at BAM!

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