Fylde couple's world trip to be extended
A Fylde couple travelling the world have revised their originally-planned route to allow for closed borders during the pandemic – and are set to extend their dream journey by up to two years.
Chris O’Hare and Gabriella Gratrix left behind their careers and home in Thistleton, near Elswick, in July 2018 to embark on what was intended to be a seven-year trek across the globe.
They aimed to finish in Madagascar in 2026 - and the couple plan to tie the knot at some stage while on their travels.
But after several months of being locked down in Thailand – the 27th nation on their trip – the couple will be moving on as the country shuts its borders – and have decided to reluctantly take the first flight of what was intended to be a land and sea only trip.
“The government here want the last remaining tourists out by September 26,” said Chris from Thailand, where he and Gabriella have spent the last seven months.
“So we will be getting on our first flight with our bicycles – we never wanted to get on a plane but there’s no other option.
“Due to all countries’ borders out here being closed, we’ve decided to fly all the way back to Italy and head back to the ‘stan’ countries and Mongolia, as we plan to live with the eagle hunters in the North, then trek across the Gobi desert.
“It means the trip will be longer now. The restrictions and the unknown will certainly add two years on.
“Mongolia was on our original route, but we never had time due to our visas in China.
“It’s funny when we look back, as we cycled through Wuhan, where Covid started, while we were in China. If we’d have gone to Mongolia first, we’d have been in Wuhan when it all started. Luckily we had just left China into Vietnam when the Covid started to spread.”
During their trip, Chris and Gabriella are raising money for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity, as Gabriella was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and underwent treatment, including a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, before the couple set off.
Details of their progress and how to donate are at www.chrisandgabsworldcyclingtour.com