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Chapter 3: With a Little Help from My Friends

Baghdad, Iraq. April 6-7


To start the journey, there were still many arrangements needed.


  • One million Iraqi Dinar in cash

  • Using them to buy the bike plus apparel

  • Securing accomodation for a first night


The last point may sound trivial but felt tricky with no hotels on the road. Even if there were, Iragi hotels in cities are for the wealthy - there are no hostels. For my budget I had to find other options, and so far I had no luck with individuals to host me online.


Adil, who never stopped helping me in every regard, drove me to the ATM he knew with best chances of large withdrawal for decent rates - to no avail. Trust issues from the bank in my home country prevented the transaction. After multiple attempts on different platforms, I could finally send money to Adil, and he could withdraw for me. I had the money.


During ramadan, opening hours of normal shops are more nocturnal, and our chosen vendor was of course excited to serve the NBA player (all Iraqi believe I could play professional basketball, without seeing me touch a ball). At 11 in the night, after much assembling, translating, selecting, and haggling, I cycled back to Adil's. I had the bike.



The following day I met with Adolfo "Fito", a spanish friend from the days with my ex-girlfriend. Just a day past, I was unaware that I had a European friend in Iraq, in Baghdad least of all. My head tells me our reunion in Baghdad was mere coincident. My heart is not convinced. After walks and talks of our travels, outer and inner, Fito casually offered me a tent and a sleeping bag of good quality with minimal weight and packaging size. When I rode back for my last night Baghdad, i did not haye secured roof over my head for the following day, but a back-up plan should I fail to find. Fito did warn me of a little hole in the tent, but Adil had sewn it shut before bedtime.


The like intricacies of the needs in my quest may be of little importance, relevance and interest to others. To me though, the time, effort, resources and care gifted from those around have been invaluable. It is truly thanks to them that I was now "ready" to cycle from Iraq home to Sweden.



1 Comment


AnneLie Duveblad
AnneLie Duveblad
Apr 11

I a so proud to have a son who trusts other people, who finds friends everywhere, and who always expect good of everyone. You really live your life like the line "strangers are friends you don't know yet". Lot's of love from your mother

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