Living abroad: Anya Louw
Episode two brings into the spotlight the young Australian, who next year will enter in her third season with the team.
“Staying so far away from home to pursue my cycling career definitely comes with its challenges. It is not possible to just jump on a flight and go home for a weekend when I miss my family, so having a good support network of friends where I live is really important!
At the same time, to be sincere, I’m not sure if I have fully adapted yet to living so far from home to be honest. I think this will take time and years of experience, or maybe it will never feel normal. It gets easier when you are busy with intense racing blocks or training camps because your mind is focused on cycling and doing your job. But the long periods of training can get hard, especially dealing with a different time zone.
Moving to Europe has been an amazing experience. The lifestyle is very different to what I know in Australia, and the local people are lovely! When you live in a place for a while, you start to develop habits that are similar to the local culture such as changing your meal times and type of food you eat, and also adopting a more laid back approach to certain things in your day compared to Australia. Another thing is that being on a team with riders that have so many different nationalities is a cultural experience in itself.
I haven’t developed any specific routines, but I do try to be social with my friends where I am living. This helps me stay connected to the small community we have built, and acts as a support system. I also live with my boyfriend Alex, so this helps in preventing getting homesick. We have heaps of fun trying to live our best life in Europe. Where I am living there is a strong community of Australian cyclists, as well as English speaking riders from the UK and the US. This gives a sense of a home away from home and a real sense of comfort.
Working with the time zones is important when it comes to staying connected with my family in Australia. There is a window of only a couple hours a day when we are both awake, usually in the morning in Europe, and during this time is the best time to try and catch up on the phone. Phone calls and FaceTime is a common occurrence at breakfast.
After the season finishes is really the only realistic time that I can go home to Australia. So during the off-season, from October until the January training camp again in Europe, is when I get to go home. It gives us 2-3 months of the year to catch up with our families and refresh the mental batteries ready for another long 9-10 months in Europe! The team is incredibly supportive in giving us riders from Down Under the opportunity to have quality time with our families over the Christmas period, and this means a lot.”