How a stray cat joined a person’s biking journey — and altered his life
When Dean Nicholson got down to cycle the globe two years in the past, he thought he would possibly get some good tales to inform his buddies again house in Dunbar, Scotland.
He acquired one thing higher: a cat.
“She was only a wee, scrubby factor,” Nicholson instructed The Submit of Nala, the striped kitten he picked up whereas biking via Bosnia. “However she was stunning.”
He couldn’t bear to depart her there, alone on that windy mountain highway. So he smuggled her into Montenegro as an alternative.
Nicholson’s charming new ebook “Nala’s World” (Grand Central Publishing), out now, chronicles their adventures via 10 nations earlier than the coronavirus grounded them in Hungary for 4 months. Alongside the best way, they come upon a refugee camp in Greece (the place they befriend a gaggle of Syrian kids), nearly get eaten by a bear in Turkey and even save a couple of different stray cats and canines, too.
“She modified my life,” Nicholson mentioned of his transformation from odd bloke to Nala’s social-media supervisor.
Nicholson mentioned he was “simply your typical 28-year-old” earlier than he set off to see the world. He labored as a welder at a manufacturing facility again house in Dunbar, and spent his weekends partying. As his buddies started settling down and beginning households, he felt caught. So when considered one of his (nonetheless single) buddies requested if he’d be eager about doing a little touring, Nicholson jumped on the probability.
The 2 set off on their bikes in September 2018, however that they had parted methods by the point Nala appeared that December. She was a tiny striped furball, meowing at him, chasing after his bike. When he picked her up, she climbed on his shoulders and took a nap there. When he reached the Montenegro border, he positioned her within the pouch in entrance of his bike, partially closed it, and prayed he wouldn’t get caught. They glided via customs.
As soon as they acquired to Montenegro, Nicholson took the kitten to the vet, the place she acquired her pictures and paperwork. He named her Nala, after the lioness in considered one of his favourite childhood films, “The Lion King.”
Straight away, Nala opened the world as much as Nicholson.
“I’m an enormous man and I’ve acquired tattoos, so not many individuals will cease and discuss to [me on my own],” he mentioned. “However hastily, while you’ve acquired a wee kitten in your shoulder, all people desires to speak with you.”
Previous males would supply to purchase him a pint of beer along side the highway; kids would ask for selfies. Nala’s Instagram followers tracked her down in Greece, the place Nicholson did a stint main kayak excursions, so they might see her in her cute orange life vest.
Their followers started providing them shelter in cities and cities they might be passing via.
“We met so many type, wonderful individuals from throughout,” Nicholson mentioned.
The ebook ends with Nicholson and Nala caught in Hungary, ready out the coronavirus. However by mid-June, they have been in a position to go away, lastly reaching Scotland in late August.
“I actually missed my household,” mentioned Nicholson. “Plus, my gran was at all times asking to see Nala on FaceTime, though her eyesight and her listening to are going. So, I assumed it was essential to get Nala house to see her.”
Now Nicholson and Nala are in Austria, with the hopes of constructing it to Russia by bike in spring 2021.
In fact, with the coronavirus and with a cat, that would all change. However Nicholson mentioned that being with Nala has made him extra versatile, easy-going and open-minded. “So long as the 2 of us are collectively, we’re blissful,” he mentioned.