American Couple Who Spent Life Savings to Bike Around the World Killed in ISIS-Claimed Attack
A D.C. couple was killed in an ISIS-Claimed attack while cycling in Tajikistan.
Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin were living out their dream of traveling the world by bicycle.
Tragically, while out doing what they loved with five other cyclists, their quest was cut short when they were run over and stabbed to death by armed men in Tajikistan on Sunday.
Geoghegan’s parents confirmed in a statement to CBS News that the couple, who were both 29-years-old, were killed in the attack.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Two other tourists, Dutch and Swiss national, were killed while three riders survived, NPR reports.
Geoghegan and Austin started their journey in 2017. They first biked through Africa, Europe, and Central Asia before finding themselves in Tajikistan, using all of their life savings to fund their trip. The couple also documented their travels on their blog SimplyCycling.
“The yearlong bicycle adventure Lauren and her partner, Jay Austin, were enjoying was typical of her enthusiasm embrace of life’s opportunities, her openness to new people and places, and her quest for a better understanding of the world,” her parents, Robert and Elvira Geoghegan, said in a statement given to CBS.
Before setting off, Geoghegan worked in the admissions office at Georgetown University, where she was also a graduate.
Austin, who was originally from New York, was also a graduate of Georgetown University where he received his master’s degree, according to The Washington Post. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.
He worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for seven years, his mother Jeanne Santovasco told The Post.
“He was a gentle soul who cared about the world and not leaving any footprint and leaving it a better place,” Santovasco said during an interview on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
Austin’s blog entries reflected exactly that. In April, the 29-year-old dedicated a post to discussing how the people of this world are inherently good despite all the horror stories you hear on the news.
“You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse,” he wrote from Morrocco.
“Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.”
Austin and Geoghegan wrote on their blog that they had plans to continue biking for, “maybe another year or two or three. But only if we’re enjoying it.”