May 21, 2014 —
CALLICOON, NY — What do you do when you realize your dream? When Bruno and Isabelle Frebourg dreamed of traveling around the world and meeting new people, they got started right away. The French couple has been cycling across 54 countries since 2006 and recently made a stop right here in the Upper Delaware River Valley.
When Damascus resident Ramona Jan saw a couple getting ice cream at the Callicoon Creamery she noticed the sign on the back of their bicycle, which says, “French Couple. Around the world since 2006. Please help us. We need a little bit money to buy food. Thank you very much.” She asked if they would like to stay the night at her house and they happily accepted. Whenever Bruno and Isabelle are traveling, they rely on the kindness of strangers for food or shelter, and they said they have always found those people.
Bruno and Isabelle are from Normandy, France, from which they biked away eight years ago. They ran a small graphic design business before they realized their dream. They had been avid travelers, but not cyclists. They picked up cycling for this journey because they said it is easier to meet people on bike rather than by car. Bruno said when people see them biking, they want to come up and talk to them. The couple has met many people of many different cultures, and has learned about their cultures along the way. On their website, which is in French, they write (a rough translation): “Because it seems important to make every effort to achieve our dreams, we decided to go to meet people of the world.”
They have been to countries from China to Thailand, Ireland to Kazakhstan and almost everywhere in between (there are 196 countries in the world). Now, they have arrived in America from France, where they keep an apartment to which they can return to see their family. They flew to New York City, and after biking the Brooklyn Bridge, came to Callicoon. From here they will go to Niagara Falls, then Canada, down to Florida for the winter, then back to Vancouver. After that they will go to Los Angeles and then venture down to Central and South America. They say this journey will take five to six years.
Of course, their travels aren’t easy. The bikes, with gear, weigh about 120 pounds each. They always seek out routes that do not have a lot of traffic. For instance, from Callicoon they took the Pennsylvania back roads to get to Hancock, rather than taking Route 97. Many times they are low on money, which is why they have that sign on the bike right now, Bruno said, because they just spent their money on the flight from France to New York.
However, though there may be hardships, the two kept smiling as they talked about their adventure, and said it is now a way of life.