Illness of Dervla's mother worsened and she died when Dervla was 30 years old. With no obligations, no duties to comply with, Dervla decided it was time to leave. With so many dreams to fulfill, a strong physique and a passion for travelling by bicycle, in 1963 she left Ireland to India. A long and dangerous adventure, but also necessary to an indomitable spirit as Dervla's one. There are people who are satisfied with a normal life, others, a minority, just want to follow their dreams with all their strenght...
To reach India, Dervla crossed former Yugoslavia, Iran, Afghanistan. She traveled with a gun which she used to scare away a group of thieves in Iran, but that could not in any case protect her from the cold of one of the worst winters of those years. In Delhi she became volunteer at Save The children wich, at that time, worked with Tibetan refugees in India. She pedalled even in the valley of Kullu.
In 1966 she undertook her first trip to Africa, accompanied by a donkey, walking from Asmara to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After her first trip to Africa she travelled many other times around the world, sometimes alone, sometimes on foot, sometimes with her daughter Rachel. In 1992, she traveled by bike from Kenya to Zimbabwe and realized how much poverty affects Africa as well as AIDS does.
In 2002, at the age of 71, she tried to travel by bicycle in the eastern regions of Russia, but she broke her knee and, unable to continue her journey on two wheels, she began to move by train, bus and local transportation. Among her travel books there are more than 20 publications dealing with some of the most remote corners of the Earth.
Dervla Murphy's official website is a good source of information and... inspiration, take a look! You can find two interesting articles about Dervla Murphy also on two British tourspapers: The Telegraph and The Independent!
Another great traveler which is worth to mention is certainly Annie Londonderry... do you already know her story?