When Céline and Xavier Pasche left Switzerland by bicycle in 2010, they had no real fixed route in mind. Their goal was merely to begin cycling, and their only agenda was to go where their bicycles took them and to trust the road completely.
Since then, eight years have passed, and the cycling duohas turned into a cycling quartet. Their first daughter, Nayla, was born four and a half years ago, and their second, Phoebe, is less than a year old. Both were born on the road.
Cycling, says Xavier, is an ideal way to discover the culture of a place, to see the landscape, and to fully experience the world.
“We travel slowly, and stop when we want and wherever we like,” says Xavier.
Their journey has thus far taken them to over 35 countries. Beginning in Switzerland, Céline and Xavier crossed through Eastern Europe and the Middle East, including Syria and Iran. They’ve cycled through Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan as well as parts of Russia, Mongolia, China and Japan. They’ve also ridden extensively in Australia, Malaysia, and of course, Taiwan.
Cycling Around Taiwan
“This is our third time in Taiwan, “ Says Xavier. “We came here first four years ago, when our first daughter was only a year old, and rode around for three months.”
On their first trip to Taiwan, the family cycled around the island, heading down the east coast to Kenting before heading inland to ride through the mountains, hitting Yushan (Jade mountain), Sun Moon Lake, and many smaller destinations. What keeps them coming back time and again are the usual things – the scenery, the good riding, and the renowned renqingwei (human touch) of the Taiwanese people.
“One of my favorite thing about cycling in Taiwan is hearing “Jiayo” (Keep going) as we ride,” says Céline.
A Spiritual Journey
In many ways, the Pasche family’s journey is a spiritual one as well
“When we left, we decided that we would trust the world, and trust people,” says Céline. “We never lock our bikes, and in ten years nothing has been stolen. We also trust our own immune systems, drinking the water like local people, and living like local people whenever possible.”
The family also trusts life in general, having crossed harsh terrain like Mongolia in winter and the Nullarbor Desert in Australia, despite the challenges of traveling with children.
“No matter where we go, we make time for the children to play, to learn, to rest. So we need to stop a lot more in order to put their needs in front of everything else.” Says Xavier.
Writing and other projects
In addition, to traveling, Céline and Xavier are also writers. Their first book, Nomads in the heart of the elements, tells the tale of their journey from Switzerland to New Zealand.
“It isn’t so much a travel guide as a book detailing what we learned on the journey,” says Céline. The book, along with the couples “Children of the World project,” exemplifies their philosophy of traveling fearlessly.
As for settling down, Céline says while this isn’t something they’ve planned, it is, of course, a possibility.
“For us, we are happy with this life, so as long as we are happy with this life we will keep doing it. But there’s no challengedriving us to go further. If one day, we’re no longer in balance with the journey, we’ll do something else.”
As for the future, there are still many places the couple haven’t yet cycled to, including Alaska, Canada and Northern Europe. Taiwan, however, will always have a special place in their heart.
“We love the East coast, of course. The road from Yushan to Alishan is beautiful and the south, Kenting, is also amazing,” says Xavier.
“There’s something powerful in Taiwan, something in the way the land vibrates,” adds Céline. “Everything is always moving, the land, the people. It’s quite different from any other place in that way.”
High praise indeed coming from folks who’ve cycled halfway across the world.
Follow the journey of Céline, Xavier, Phoebe and Nyla Pasche at their website L u m i è r e s d ‘ A i l l e u r s : A Nomadic Lifestyle by Bike
You may also learn more about their journey in their book Nomads in the Heart of Elements
Looking to cycle in Taiwan? Looking to cycle in Taiwan? Sign up for MyTaiwanTour’s Early Summer Sea and Valley Cycling Tour!