Leandro Martins is a bike enthusiast who made his way from Brazil to the Netherlands. There he first fell in love with cycling and decided to start his adventures on the road. In 2013 he set out on a year-long bike tour around the world: 14,000 km journey through 18 countries. During this year he experienced the kindness of strangers – an ever present, vast and spontaneous support team – and had ample opportunity to increase his knowledge and expand his love for different cultures. This adventure came to an end in China, where Leandro changed the road for the classroom. He has since then been teaching English to children in Shanghai.
Leandro's journey around the world was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, in which he came into close contact with different cultures.
More intimate than driving and faster than walking, cycling is one of the best way to travel, as you feel that you become one with the landscape and local life.
During this almost zero-budget journey, Leandro never paid for accommodation. Most of the time he used his tent as his own hotel or slept in churches, temples, schools, police stations, gas stations, or in the homes of generous local people, who were always there to help and offer their kindness.
Among the wonderful people Leandro met during this one year on the road, there was one encounter that became one of the most memorable of his life: his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. During the hour-long meeting, they shared jokes in Spanish, spoke of their families, of football and Leandro showed him his bicycle. “I told him this is my house, my bed and my kitchen.” As everyone else Leandro came to meet during his journey, the Pope was asked to leave a message on his Brazilian flag, where he wrote: “Que Dios te acompañe (may God accompany you) Francisco - 18-7-13.”
As Leandro put his helmet back on and mounted his bike, the Pope’s final three words stuck with him. They became his own personal motto: “Life is crazy.”
Throughout his bike trip, Leandro always visited schools, where he enjoyed sharing his stories with students, and let them see the world through his eyes. Once he arrived in Shanghai, he received an invitation to work as a kindergarten teacher and he happily accepted: “How could I have said no? I am a grown-up kid myself and I was fascinated by the idea of living in China and being able to learn and explore this amazing culture”.
Now the cyclist kindergarten teacher is getting ready to live another chapter of this crazy life: his bike expedition to Antarctica, which with weekly calls will be shared with his students in Shanghai.