By Niamh Shackleton
A Scottish backpacker who adopted a stray kitten on his travels has customised his bike so the pair can cycle across the world together.
Dean Nicholson, 31, began his journey in his hometown Dunbar, Scotland, last September and picked up four legged friend Nala in Bosnia.
Dean, who was tired of his nine-to-five job as a welder, kick started his travels by cycling 200 miles to Newcastle where he got the ferry to Amsterdam.
He then cycled through to Belgium, Grance, Switzerland, Italy, got a ferry over to Croatia, and then travelled on to Bosnia where he found Nala.
Adorable moggy Nala has since been to Albania and Greece with her new dad and even has her own pet passport.
Dean, who is currently in Santorini, Greece, said: “I was going up a steep hill with my music blaring out of my speaker when I heard a desperate meow from behind me.
“When I clocked the kitten, I got off my bike to stroke her then that was it, she wouldn’t leave my side.
“She was a wee, scrappy little thing and so far away from anywhere.
“I wasn’t going to take her with me at first, but I soon fell in love with her and I couldn’t bring myself to leave her there alone.
“We’ve been inseparable now for the past four months. I named her Nala and got her a collar as well as a passport so she could travel with me.”
Nala has since been travelling around with Dean on the front of his bike in a basket, and she generates quite a lot of attention – as her owner has proved in a selection of adorable videos filmed from the front of his bike.
Dean added: “Everybody loves her when they see her popping out of the carrier on the front of my bike and always ask for pictures of her.
“People even sometimes give me money but that might be because a I look a bit homeless at the moment as most of the time, I set up camp in random, quiet spots I can find, including some castle ruins.
“It’s pretty crazy; I’ve had people pull over in their cars and get out to come see her as well.
“Nala loves travelling and is super relaxed and chilled but she doesn’t like going over cobbles – this is when she jumps out the box and sits on my shoulders instead.”
Dean decided to travel the world by bike because he didn’t want to miss out on the smaller things he would have done if he did so by bus and other transport.
Since finding Nala, he has set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay with her vet bills and to eventually bring her back to the UK with him.
Dean said: “I took to her to vets when I decided I was going to keep her and knew I needed to get her looked at.
“She was mainly OK other than a bit malnourished – I’ve had her micro-chipped now too and she’s been fine ever since.”
In addition to paying for Nala’s vet bills, Dean also came across a stray puppy in Albania who’s vet bills he paid for too.
Since Dean wasn’t able to keep the puppy himself, now named Balou, the pup has been living with an Albanian vet and been getting frequent updates on how he’s doing.
Balou has since found a family in London and will be flown over there in a couple of months time.
In addition to playing Doctor Dolittle, Dean has been collecting plastic off beaches during his journey after coming across the problem first hand.
He said: “I’ve been going on beaches and collecting bags and bags full of plastic and posting the pictures of what I find on Instagram to highlight the problem.
“I’m not sure people know how bad it is as it’s not very often we see it for ourselves.”
To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/c9ec8-nala039s-travels
To read more about their travels visit: @1bike1world.