Why One Woman Carries a SPOT Tracker on All Her Adventures
Jilly Sherlock never planned to cycle across an entire continent, but after losing her job and struggling to find a new one, she made a spur-of-the-moment decision and decided to cycle from the United Kingdom to China. While planning her trip, Jilly assembled everything she thought she would need: a bicycle, panniers, camping gear, bicycle spares, a compass, and some maps. But something was missing: She wanted a tracking device that would provide her with GPS technology, the functionality to send check-in messages, and SOS capabilities. That’s when she discovered the SPOT Tracker.
In addition to GPS capabilities, the SPOT Tracker’s check-in message allows the user to press a button each night that will send an e-mail or text telling the recipient the user’s exact location, along with a reassuring message that “all is well.” The SOS function—the greatest selling point for Jilly—provides assistance in the case of a life-threatening emergency. Once the SOS button is depressed, a notification including the user’s GPS-informed location is sent immediately to SPOT headquarters so that the closest emergency services in any country whatsoever will be notified.
Jilly’s SPOT Tracker accompanied her throughout all of her travels, always faithfully recording her location, and never failing her, even as she rode through blizzards, sandstorms, and monsoons in temperatures between -30° C to 45° C.
Over the course of 16 months, traveling through 27 countries, and while trekking about 20,000 kilometers, Jilly sent her nightly messages to her family who could rest easily knowing she was safe. Her journey took her across Europe by way of the winding River Danube, along the jagged coastline of the Black Sea in Turkey, through rural Georgia, and over five mountain passes in Armenia. From there, Jilly rode through Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and then into China. She battled the extreme cold and harsh conditions across the Taklamakan desert in the winter, and then headed south to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and finally ran out of land when she hit Singapore.
Jilly parlayed her love of cycling and navigating into continuing on with her cycling journey—permanently. “Wherever I lay my mat,” she says, “that’s my home.” And, at least for now, she can be found in her tent in New Zealand. Share in her adventures, by following her online at sherlocktales.blogspot.com, where she blogs and posts photos.