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(90) losing a soul mate that will shine brightly forever

June 24, 2014


Many of you may have wondered why we haven’t written a post for such a long time and yet so many of you do. Trying to write a single letter has become impossible but having so many followers I felt it important to let you all know what has happened, however hard it may be.

On the 26th of April 2014 Sharon and I were riding through an extremely remote area in the southwest corner of Bolivia when she was hit by a Toyota Landcruiser and killed instantly. From this point on my life has felt like I have been living in a giant fuzzy bubble turned upside down and inside out.  After spending almost 2 years on the road not knowing what the next day would hold, what we would see who we would meet, would it be hot ,cold, raining or freezing was the best feeling in the world but then to find myself being escorted on 4×4’s out of this lunar landscape on to a plane home without my wife beside me was incomprehensible.

Being on the road for so long and knowing the only person that would be there for each other was each other  made us 10 times stronger. Even after being tired and exposed to extreme conditions be it wild animals, stones being thrown, bandits, the searing sun and freezing temperatures all of which were stripping away the outer layers we got to see each other in a way that most could only imagine. We were so strong for it and loved the feeling of it which makes it even more painful.

Since being back in the UK I have been overwhelmed by the love and support from family and friends which has helped me through the toughest part of my life which has been beyond anything I could ever imagine. we have shared so much of our life together and I am so happy I did but looking at anything beautiful is hard just knowing i’ll never share another moment like that again.

why is it we only look at old photos when its to late or we find ourselves in the wrong part of the attic, so much happiness is locked away in old pictures and sometimes we need to be reminded of the good times.

Starting this trip was a hard thing to prepare and organise and I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our adventure and showing us how amazing people in the world really are, from being there from the start, handing us water, a happy wave or keeping us safe at night, it made us proud to be human.

I would also like to thank everyone who has kindly donated to ShelterBox, our nominated charity, which gives people hit by natural disaster a second chance.  Knowing I will never get Sharon back is hard but the kindness in your donations makes it even more heart felt.

The last six weeks have involved learning words in spanish I never wanted to learn and doing jobs I never would wish on anyone.  Sharon’s funeral and the messages from around the world were testament to how many people who were touched by Sharon’s life and loved her for who she was.

Embarking on this trip has been the best experience in our lives and seeing Sharon so happy even at the top of the hardest climb, fighting the strongest wind and riding in the heaviest rain was worth every second. She was so strong and so motivated and I felt lucky to be in her life.  Writing the blog and sharing our experience was something we both enjoyed doing, although very time consuming, knowing we could show anyone who followed us a glimpse through our eyes. The pleasure it gave people not only kept us writing but kept us cycling. On the date that Sharon lost her life we were about 6 weeks behind on the blog and not finishing it would be a waste of an amazing adventure.  Please bear with me as I prepare the last few. I will continue to write as we would have, However hard it will be. We have always tried to give a true recount of our time on the road and thats how it should be.

Thanks again from my heart. Tim xx

Here are a few pictures from this trip that showed Sharon for her strength love and spirit.

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Enjoying a stunning evening in a field ‘Southern Poland’

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taking the desert heat in her stride ‘north Sudan”

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Enjoying the salt flats ‘Sowa pan, central Botswana’

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being helped along by some amazing kids in losotho

 

DSC_0818As many of you know Sharon she spent a lot of her time with her tongue out.

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Enjoying carrying our bikes 14km around a lake ‘Patagonia southern Chile”

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Wondering how we were going to cycle over this one “torres del paine NP Chile”

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Enjoying another day on the bike

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 long road ahead ‘Argentina’

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Riding past Volcanos with a live lava flow 1500 below us “Paso Sico, Border between Argentina/Chile’

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Always smiling !!!

Thank you for Reading x

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Justin Zietsman permalink
    June 24, 2014 11:41 am

    She will always have a fond place in our hearts. You are always welcome back in Cape Town my friend. Take care and be strong.

  2. Sheila Booker permalink
    June 24, 2014 11:57 am

    So sad to have heard about Sharon. I have followed your blog since meeting you in Norway – you had a cup of tea in our camper. Will always remember you both. You have more memories than most couples. Remember the good times and stay strong Tim. So honored to have been a tiny part of your lives. Sheila and Owen Booker xx

  3. June 24, 2014 12:23 pm

    Sharon will always have a part in our hearts. Since you told us what happened there hasn’t been a day we haven’t thought or spoken about her and about you, Tim. From the day we met you in Bulgaria and Turkey we admired what you did and how you managed all the obstacles. You were our secret heroes! We often worried if there wasn’t an update and were relieved when it finally came in. Through your blog we felt very close to you as if we’ve known each other for a very long time and not just a few days. We spent days in shock and tears when you told us about your loss and we can hardly imagine how hard life still must be for you. I often still wake up and just think that all this was just a nightmare.

    This way we are sending all our love and thoughts to you hoping to give you some strength for the still tough months ahead. We sincerely hope to see you somewhere in the near future.

    Hugs
    Xxx
    Baerbel and Johan

  4. June 24, 2014 12:35 pm

    So sad to hear! We wish you all the strength in the world. It was an honor meeting you at Dean´s Hill View Lodge, Chipata, Zambia. I took a nice photo of you, Sharon and a friend of yours. If you´re interested in the picture, contact through my blog.
    We wish you the very best!!! We´ll never forget Sharon & you!
    Ulf & Anke

  5. Philippa permalink
    June 24, 2014 4:00 pm

    Hi Tim, We are so sad to hear about Sharon. What a special life encounter we had for 1 night in Plett. When I met her outside Pick n Pay sitting next to her bike with her British flag flying high, I was drawn to her and had such a lovely chat and warmed to her immediately ~ hence the invite to spend the night. I remember her with huge fondness and feel so sad for you. This is beyond heart breaking and unreal. We think of you two often. Take care Tim. Love Philippa and Simon xxx

  6. Heather Pitts permalink
    June 24, 2014 4:42 pm

    Chris and I would love you to come and visit us in California. We were looking forward to your visit later in the year. Sending you big hugs and sweet loving memories of Sharon xox

  7. Francois Marais permalink
    June 24, 2014 5:57 pm

    Hi Tim, So sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you. Martie and I met you at Golden Gate, South Africa one Thursday evening in September last year. It was very cold the evening and you made your evening meal in the kitchen at the caravan park. We will always treasure your story. Francois and Martie Marais, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Note our new mail address.

  8. Sara permalink
    June 24, 2014 8:38 pm

    Dearest Tim, Your courage is outstanding to do all you have done together and still able to keep us all informed along the way in your grief. Carry that strength with you that you had together, Sharon’s spirit lives on in you when you feel happy or sad. Sharon was my dear friend and I cherish the times I had with you both ‘on the road’ , I am definitely blessed to have shared so much time with you both. You both changed lives with those you met along the way with Sharon’s open heart drawing people in and your Good Samaritan acts be it mending bikes, building see saws and carrying double the load. You are an inspiration to us all Tim and I am here for you when you need a shoulder, or a companion on the road. xxxx

  9. Mark Hill permalink
    June 24, 2014 9:21 pm

    Hi Tim, this is Mark, we spent a lovely weekend together on the campsite in Harstad, Lofoten. It was Sharon who persuaded me to man up and camp next to you guys instead of renting a hut. It was Sharon who razzled up a cracking meal out of next to nothing while we discussed woodworking tools on your laptop and all with a BIG FAT hand that was very uncomfortable for her. I have had total respect for you both from that weekend and have boasted to many people about your achievements. I have forwarded your blog to many friends and that is how I heard about you tragic loss. Thank you for sending this letter out, it must have taken much courage, but it has given us followers a chance to let you know that even though most of us only shared a tiny part in your lives, the love and respect people the world over have for you (both) is well deserved, that includes me.

  10. Carol Carter permalink
    June 24, 2014 9:49 pm

    Tim that is the most terrible news. We met you in Jolly Boys in Livingstone Zambia, we were from Tormead School. We only spent one evening with you guys but you made such an impression on us. My heart goes out to you, Sharon was an amazing, beautiful young woman. I am so very, very sorry for your loss, the world will be a much sadder place without Sharon.

    My thoughts are with you. No words can help, but we are thinking of you.

    Carol Carter.

  11. June 24, 2014 10:38 pm

    I’m so sorry, Tim. I never met you and Sharon but I’m on my own bike trip around the world and all the cyclists out there seem like part of my family. I hope a little love from an unknown cyclist will give you just a tiny bit more strength to help you endure the unendurable. Love and best wishes.

  12. Kate Barlow permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:44 am

    Dear Tim. Like most people writing on this blog, I only had the pleasure of your company for one night in Jolly Boys, Livingstone last July. That chance meeting left an unforgettable impression on me and I talked about you guys to everybody who asked about my trip as I regaled them with your adventures. It wasn’t just your adventure that grabbed my attention but the pair of you were so humble and generous in your praise of others you were truly inspiring. I remember talking with Sharon and thinking I wanted to be like her, so full of enthusiasm and a wonderful lust for life. In these terrible times hold onto the thought that you both brought a lot of joy to others you met on the way and encouraged people to go and live life to the full, an attribute not many people posses.
    Sharon was a truly wonderful beautiful woman who made an indelible impression on me. My thoughts are with you and your families. All the best Tim.

    Kate

  13. Abe Visser permalink
    June 25, 2014 8:40 pm

    Tim,you guys were such a great example and insparation to me and my family for showing us to live life to its fullist and what a person can achieve by going into the unknown and enjoing it all the way! You,travelling through my country with bikes and not knowing where you are going to sleep,is something I will never attempt and you went through much worse places than this. Respect is all I can say! Be proud of what you guys done and remember that you2 changed peoples lives,something that not even world leaders can do!!! We will never forget you 2 brave people!!! Abe Visser and family, Reitz, South Africa.

  14. Lillian Ulland permalink
    June 27, 2014 7:04 am

    Dear Tim. Your loss is breaking our hearts. You and Sharon left footprints around the world and in people’s lifes. Ever since we met you and Mark Hill in the camp kitchen in Harstad,we have read every single blog post loud,-to practise our English and to share with each other the valuable glimpses into your adventure and life. They were like gifts. Thank you. Your trip through Africa inspired us to dare take on Madagascar for a month, your descriptions from Rwanda is the reason that country is our destination next summer. Although not a couple, but roughly your age and none of us having children, we have been identifying with you two. Like you we are soulmates and travel companions with a long history of shared experiences,-small funny episodes, weird encounters and life changing moments “on the road”.
    You are living our worst nightmare right now. And we can just hope that if all the people you have inspired around the world unite in a heartfelt thought for you, or prayer, or whatever their way is, -that it could ease your loss and pain for one second.
    Hang in there. You still inspire us. Take one minute at a time, just like you did up those long hills and across those ever-lasting plains.

    Annelise Nilsen and Lillian Ulland, Norway

  15. pieter permalink
    June 27, 2014 7:42 am

    Dear Tim. I am so encredibly sorry to hear about Sharon. You both touched the lives of many people, including mine. Thank you. Her legacy will live on.

    Pieter (biker in South Africa)

  16. Mum and Dad Pitts permalink
    June 27, 2014 6:15 pm

    Tim what can we say .You are such an incredible person with such courage of whom we are extremely proud. We love and admire you so much. Love from Martin and Wendy XXXX

    • Bridget Charity Rendall permalink
      July 5, 2014 10:11 am

      Martin and Wendy having only met you both once on the very sad day I must say you are two of the most amazing parents I have ever met, no wonder you have such an amazing family xxx

  17. June 27, 2014 8:21 pm

    My deepest condolences for your loss. We haven’t met before but I have followed your blog a while. My heart and prayers go out to you at this time.

  18. June 28, 2014 5:57 pm

    Dearest Tim. This must have been the hardest thing to have written, but you write from the heart and so beautifully. Every day we think of Sharon, we miss our fellow crazy English cyclists so much! When we first met you in Buenos Aires, I knew we had to cycle with you,and we were so happy to finally catch up with you and spend an incredible month with you in Chile. Such fantastic memories from so many people around the world will keep the wonderful memory of Sharon alive. Stay strong my friend, with so much love, Lizzie and Joe xxx

  19. Pete Scott permalink
    June 28, 2014 6:52 pm

    So very sorry for your loss Tim.
    Kindest regards – Pete Scott / Sidmouth

  20. Bridget Charity Rendall permalink
    July 5, 2014 10:01 am

    This must have been one of the hardest things you have ever written Tim, yet you write it from the heart and with such passion who cannot help but be touched by it. As I said many times you are both and still will be my heroes. Life has some cruel features, one being taken way before your time and Sharon was so full of life, so bubbly, so perfectly lovely that it makes it all the more hard to cope with. Those precious moments, the challenges, the intimacy your shared together will live in your heart forever. You will find your way again Tim because with Sharon in your heart you will one day find inner strength. It truly is the most awful time for you, your retrospective families, your friends and your supporters all around the world but we will always be here to support you all in times of need, sometimes even the smallest of things will help. Love you Tim xxxx

  21. Andy permalink
    July 9, 2014 8:38 pm

    Hi Tim Only just caught up with the blog and I’m speechless. There’s nothing I can say that others haven’t. I only spoke to you both for 10 minutes in Hamburg 2 years ago but your story has inspired me and many of my English students. I hope in time you feel better and know what a fantastic thing it was you both did. You did more in your time together than most do in a lifetime. Stay strong and best wishes.
    Andy

  22. alexandra cyprus pioneer hotel permalink
    July 9, 2014 10:08 pm

    Sooooo sad 😦 amazing woman! I will remember you forever!

  23. July 13, 2014 5:14 pm

    Ayer vimos vuestro post y nos quedamos sin palabras. No podiamos creer lo que estábamos leyendo y no pudimos evitar que se nos escaparan unas lágrimas. Coincidimos con vosotros en un Hostel en Salta (norte Argentina), estuvimos hablando por un rato e intercambiando experiencias. No se que tiene conicidir con otros cicloturistas que enseguida se crea un vínculo, por corto que sea el encuentro. No nos podemos sacar de la cabeza lo ocurrido. Tienes todo nuestro soporte, un fuerte abrazo y un fuerte beso,
    Joan, Beti, Ares y Maiana
    Petitsnomades.cat

  24. July 13, 2014 8:26 pm

    Hi Tim, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I met Sharon cleaning our teeth the morning after a very windy night on the ‘W’ trek in Torres Del Paine. I loved our brief chat, she was so bubbly and engaging and I’ve followed your blog ever since. I only met you guys for about 20 minutes but have told countless people about your adventures. It was such a shock to find out about Sharon and I’m thinking of you during this difficult time.
    Helen x

  25. Ali Nika permalink
    July 26, 2014 10:55 pm

    Dear Tim I didn’t know about you guys and your blog but I want to say how sorry I am to hear of the tragic accident, losing Sharon would be devastating. Thinking of you Ali and Joe xx

  26. Thomas Steiner permalink
    July 28, 2014 10:17 am

    Dear Tim, this is shocking and unbelievable news. Like many others I met you and Sharon only for a very short time (in Brasov /Roumania). For almost two years I followed your blog. I loved it to escape for a while and to follow your inspiring and courageous journey. Reading sentences like “Seeing how amazing people are…made us proud to be human” which you are able to write even in this darkest hour, touches me very much and shows me that something is lacking in my life. You and Sharon have had and will have a positive impact on my life and I am sure on many others. Stay strong and go on. And if you ever want to come to Bavaria, feel free to contact me. You are always welcome! Thomas

  27. Thomas Steiner permalink
    July 28, 2014 2:11 pm

    Dear Tim, I am still totally shocked by the news that Sharon died. I know this sounds extremely pathetic, because I met you and Sharon only for a very short time in our lives. I don`t dare to imagine the black hole you must be in at the moment. But maybe it is good to say what you and Sharon symbolized for me in the last years. You did what I always dreamed, but never dared to to. You left all behind and sailed out into the big blue planet. You crossed dozens of borders and demonstrated that it is possible to find solidarity, help, friendship and humanity in almost every place of the world. People are friends, only politics turn us into enemies. This is the oldest, but also most important message of all times and you and Sharon proved it once again. You changed my vision of Africa and of many other places. A lot of times when I was bored or depressed I thougt “Well, what may Shaze and Tim do at the moment? I am sure they are at the end of the world. So lets see how it is there..” and I entered your blog and I entered another world.
    This was a great gift you and Sharon gave to me and many others. It is a legacy and I hope one day you will find the power and the strength to write a book about your and Sharons great journey and the many great human beeings you came to know. Stay strong Tim. I hope one day we will meet again Thomas

  28. Nonie Insall permalink
    January 22, 2015 9:51 am

    So profoundly shocking, when life changes in an instant. I know about your journey as I heard about it from Ali and Lizzie who met you when they were cycling the length of Africa, and were so impressed by what you were doing “unsupported”, yet very supported by each other. What an impact you have both had on so many people in so many countries across the world. Nonie

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