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‘It’s true companionship’: He’s biking around the world, with a cat on his back

‘It’s true companionship’: He’s biking around the world, with a cat on his back
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The burly and bearded 31-year-old itinerant, with a thick Scottish brogue and a Maori design inked on his left upper arm, pressed on his brakes and dismounted.

Nicholson had set out three months earlier from his home in Dunbar, a town on the eastern coast of Scotland, to traverse the world on his green Trek 920 bike. He cycled from Scotland to England, hopped on a ferry to the Netherlands, and then traveled through Belgium, France, Switzerland and down to Italy. From the coast of the Adriatic, he caught a ferry to Croatia and then made his way into Bosnia.

He was seeking distance from his job as a welder, which had left him listless and depleted.

“I couldn’t do the 9-to-5 thing,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I wanted to see the world and see what state it’s in.”

That meant choosing a bike and the open air over a bus or train compartment. “Otherwise you miss out on the smaller towns,” he explained.

And it meant going alone.

I wanted to see the world and see what state it s in

Or so he thought. The Balkans had a surprise in store for him, in the form of a feline and fellow traveler. He called her Nala, after the lioness friend in his favorite film, “The Lion King.” The tiny animal, with eyes like jewels, wouldn’t leave his side.

So began a second, not-so-solo leg of his round-the-world ride, as Nicholson and Nala took their place in the pantheon of epic duos melding man and beast, from Snowy and Tintin to Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Their journey became a sensation on social media this week. A video posted by the Dodo, an animal-centric website, had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter by Thursday morning.

“If you’ve got a pet, you know what it’s like,” Nicholson said. “You’re never alone. It’s true companionship.”

At first, Nicholson didn’t know what to do with the desperate kitten on the side of the road. He was already carrying too much cargo. Besides, he had grown up with dogs and considered himself loyal to man’s best friend. But the animal seemed intent on joining him.

“As soon as I got her to relax, that’s when I decided to bring her with me,” Nicholson said.
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