Twenty-one-year-old university graduate Patrick Vasy was greeted by his family in Rincón de la Victoria on Monday evening as he completed a journey which took him by bike from the UK.
Patrick was born in Madrid to an Irish mother and Hungarian father. and in 2013 the family moved to the UK. Patrick went on to study History at the University of Warwick, from where he graduated earlier this year. He wanted to come back to Malaga to see his family, but without taking a flight.
Patrick, who told SUR he had "not cycled since moving to the UK in 2013," left Leamington Spa on 16 July on a bike which had been left outside a house with a notice saying it was free. In fact there were three bikes, so Patrick took the trio and "tinkered about for about a month, following YouTube videos" until he'd taken the best bits from each to form one rideable machine.
The by-chance find, he says, was absolutely fundamental to the premise of his trip; an environmental mission and research project for the University of Warwick, which had agreed to fund Patrick's journey.
"Scientists travel and take planes a lot to do research on environmental problems," says Patrick. "As part of what I am doing, I want to show that researchers can still do their work, they can just do it more slowly and in a more environmentally friendly way."
He stayed in ecovillages along the way to learn more about sustainable living and alternative ways of life. He put an advert on Facebook and attracted a lot of attention from people living in ecovillages in France and Spain, who were keen for Patrick to find out more abort what they were doing and feed in to his research.
"I didn't want to take a plane, I thought about a train, but I'm interested in environmental things and so I looked into ecovillages and came up with the idea of cycling," he explained. He proposed his idea to the university and got funding for it.
The journey took him down the west coast of France, then across to the Mediterranean coast before crossing into Spain through Catalonia. He admits to taking "four or five very short train journeys," but the vast majority of the trip was done by bike.
Once he's completed his research project and handed it in to the university on 24 September, Patrick will be starting to think about his next ecoproject, which is to travel to Barbados via a sail ship with the Fairtransport company, which aims to promote climate-friendly transportation (www.fairtransport.eu).
Again he will be writing a report for the university to help its research into sustainable futures.
To follow Patrick's journeys visit Facebook: Patrickvasy or Instagram: the_vain_vagabond.