A wonderful woman called Pat gave me a lift to the Green Gathering last summer and during the festival she came to one of my workshops. Afterwards, she was overflowing with suggestions for involving the older generations. I said “I think they’re all fantastic ideas, but I think you should do them.” Tomorrow, at age 66 Pat Smith will embark on The Elderflower Project, an eight month cycle ride round the British Isles to gather tales of wisdom and insight from older people she meets.
Pat aims to travel around 8,000 miles, pedalling from the Shetlands to the Isles of Scilly, the Dingle Peninsula of Southern Ireland to Lowestoft in East Anglia, starting tomorrow in Ireland.
It’s the best way to travel. I have thermals and waterproofs so I’m prepared for most things. You go slowly enough to meet people – in my case, very slowly!
Two years ago Pat cycled the scenic route home from southern France, a journey of 1,000 miles. Her first long-distance cycle ride was through Romania in 1990, the year after the dictator Ceausescu was overthrown by the people. “Temperatures often soared to a hundred degrees and at times roads would simply disappear but the countryside was beautiful,” said Pat.
Pat has an extra ambition on this journey. “Wherever I go I want to ask our elders to share a piece of wisdom and a story about why it matters. Older people can be sidelined in society but they have so much experience of life. I’d particularly like to visit people living in eco-friendly ways who want to make a difference to the way we see the world. They are actually doing what so many people simply talk about.”
You can follow Pat’s adventures on her blog and add your own stories. We will feature stories during her journey as well as supporting with an Elderflower Project facebook page. If you’d like to get in touch you can email Pat on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Buzz Tour would not have been possible without all the kindness along the way so if Pat passes your way please do give her your support and love to help make the Elderflower Project a beautiful life changing journey.