Instagram | @kleon.vs.lockdown

Student Biked From Scotland To Greece In 48 Days To Be With Family During Pandemic

A homesick college student recently embarked on an incredible 48-day journey cycling from Scotland to Greece in an effort to reunite with his family amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported.

20-year-old Kleon Papadimitriou found himself inexplicably stuck in Scotland when the pandemic first began with no way of getting home after all flights to Athens were canceled. But, determined to see his family again, the young man decided he would make the roughly 2,175-mile journey himself on his bicycle.

As the virus began really picking up speed towards the end of March, Kleon, who was studying in Scotland at the time, began trying to get himself home to Greece.

Facebook | Kleon Papadimitriou

Although most of his friends had already left to return to their own families, Kleon waited a little longer so he could finish his classes. But it would turn out he lingered there for too long, as the three flights he booked to get home were all canceled.

"By the first of April I knew that I would spend at least the next month in quarantine in Aberdeen," he recalled to CNN.

Stuck in Scotland, the young student began contemplating if it would be possible to make the trip home on his bicycle.

Facebook | Kleon Papadimitriou

Kleon did have some professional cycling training under his belt, but the thousands of miles it would take to return to his family was like nothing he'd ever attempted before.

In the end, he knew that if he wanted to get home, this would be how he'd have to do it. So he started preparing.

After purchasing a bike worthy of the cross-continental journey, Kleon shared the news of his impending return with his parents.

Instagram | @kleon.vs.lockdown

He said that they actually agreed to him biking home, though acknowledged this was probably because "they thought it was just an idea that I would eventually let go of."

But in fact, he was absolutely serious, and even purchased a sleeping bag, a tent, and some equipment for his bike, as well as food for the journey. He also set up an app to let his family track his journey, a condition his father had set.

On May 10, Kleon officially began his ride home, traveling anywhere from 35 to 75 miles each day.

Instagram | @kleon.vs.lockdown

During the trip, he would camp out in forests at night, or would sometimes reach out to friends in different countries who would offer him a bed and a shower.

"As a relatively introverted person, I was forced to kind of get out of my comfort zone in the sense that if I did not do some things, I would not have a place to stay, I would not have water," Kleon said. "It forced me to kind of have those interactions and reach out."

His route took him through England, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Italy, before he boarded a boat to the Greek port of Patras. From there, he continued biking towards his home of Athens.

Finally on June 27, Kleon's 48-day journey came to an end as he was finally reunited with his beloved family.

There, the student was met with dozens of friends and family members, as well as many faces he didn't recognize belonging to people who had kept up with his journey online.

While he'd been cycling, Kleon had daily shared updates of his trip on his Instagram account which steadily gained more and more followers the closer he got to Greece.

Kleon said coming home was a "very emotional" experience, and added that he's sure his parents, both adventurous themselves, were proud to see their son follow in their footsteps.

Instagram | @kleon.vs.lockdown

"But I think if anything, they felt relief," he said.

Finally home, Kleon has been reflecting on his lengthy journey and is actually looking forward to the "next big thing", though he isn't sure what that is yet.

"When you set the bar really high and you attempt to reach a really ambitious goal, whether you achieve it or you don't, you will have improved," he explained of his 48-day adventure. "You will learn things about yourself and you will surprise yourself."

h/t: CNN

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