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Report 12: „remarks in between“

(Germany: July – December 2002)
     By land into Mongolia across the borders of twelve nations, far away from touristic regions: Two people of the advanced age of 128 had the intention to reach this goal and they now have arrived. They managed 11.500 kilometres (8870 miles) on their loaded bicycles across countless mountains, fighting head winds, cold and heat. They could have arrived home, proud of what lies behind themselves, ready to tell stories from a stunning journey.
     It was deep personal disappointment for both of them at first: to be forced to go home because of a disease before finishing their trip around the world completely on bikes. Ulan Bator was supposed to be just a stop over.
     Several Months have passed since then. Summer has gone and winter has arrived in Germany.
We are ready to leave for the world again. Our plan never staggered. Jutta has fully recovered, she is fit and healthy – that was the only requirement. Advanced inoculations shall help us to resist future risks of infection. We want to take care of each other.
     But why take the two the strains and privations, when they could enjoy ”the last years” at home just as well? What motivates them to leave their ”normal” life, to break out into the world, into the unknown? It is the memory of the experiences. Mentally we still are somehow in Asia, seeing all the people in front of us, whose affection we enjoyed so much. People write us from every country we crossed. Some of our reports have been translated into Persian or Bulgarian. People prayed for us in mosques and orthodox churches. We confided ourselves to the Muslims. What happened on September 11th did not irritate us; on the contrary, it encouraged us to get to know these people. We also crossed Serbia, where the effects of war are still obvious.
     Our motto of believing in the good sides of people has not come out as naïve or blue-eyed. Our expectations have been surpassed. In Iran we somehow felt saver than in Germany. Our mission is now to tell the world about our positive experiences; to fight against intolerance, prejudices and the hysterical polarisation the ”war against terrorism” brings.
     But the question still is: Why are these two people doing this?
     Looking forward we are dreaming of the day we arrive in Germany on our bikes, when we finally let our memories pass by, memories of all the people with their different cultures and living conditions, but also the effects of globalisation and the efforts this journey demanded.
     I personally don’t like to be stuck in daily routine in front of the TV with the same little problems every day. We are now looking forward to leaving all this behind us. Some of these every day life things will be forgotten very quickly, for example the far going coverage of soccer games on TV. I might be an outsider concerning this question. But our home will be in our hearts and minds every day. I often hear Jutta speak out loud: ”I am looking forward to that moment when we turn around the corner and see our house again”.
     Every good wish coming from Germany, from friends and people we have got to know on our journey makes us happy. We appreciate it and we are very grateful. We wish everyone who reads this ”Merry Christmas” and a ”Happy New Year”. We ourselves are going to have a peaceful Christmas Eve before starting off into a new age on our second trip around the world on January 1st – then at the age of 130. It feels good to know that many good wishes accompany us on our way.
     Jutta and Gerhard Krauss

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