Juliana Buhring is a woman of the world. Her mother is German and her father is Welsh; and Juliana herself was born in Greece, raised in countries all over Africa, Europe, and Asia, and now lives in Italy. As the author of two books and an endurance cyclist, one would expect that she has been leading the strenuous life since she could walk, but that is not at all the case.

The subject of her latest book The Road I Ride, is the record-breaking journey she took four years ago, when she became the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe on a bicycle. But her journey wasn’t born out of competitive spirit— it was a way to deal with pain and loss.

Two years before her two-wheeled travels, her boyfriend was killed by a crocodile in a kayaking accident. Grief can be overwhelming, and while some people seem to come to a standstill when dealing with emotional pain, Juliana had to literally get moving in order to get away from it all. So, she took up cycling. In an interview with the Telegraph she reveals that she wasn’t much of a cycler to begin with, but found that “The physical act of moving anywhere away from where I was, already felt better.” What started as a way to deal with her loss turned into a new passion, and before long the nascent endurance cyclist was determined to set the aforementioned record.

Most people thought her crazy for making the attempt, but she finished nonetheless. In the interview she speaks about her travels, noting the goodness that courses through so many people. When she was hungry, people would offer her food. When she was tired, someone would offer a bed. And even in the face of danger, there was someone willing to go out of their way and assure her safety.

Her favorite places to cycle were in Turkey (“there are some really beautiful views when you begin climbing up some of the hills”) and the Pacific Northwest (all of the mountainous US National Parks are wonderful for cycling).

It’s an inspiring story, so be sure to read her book!