The idea emerged a while ago. After 2 years living and working in Mainz, Germany and with both our contracts coming to an end, Angela and I were looking for something exciting to do with our lives (read: anything that didn’t involve having to spend 8 hours a day behind a computer screen). Backpacking around the world seemed the perfect solution to our problem, so we started planning a trip. Shortly after, Angela received an offer for a job in Vienna. It was an interesting opportunity for her, in one of the most beautiful European cities, so the temptation was there. Since our combined funds at that time would have barely covered the costs of a return flight to Berlin, we thought it best to move to the Austrian capital.
2 years passed, but the idea of going travelling always remained in the back of our mind. The fact that we are not getting any younger and that we might soon have other more important plans for the future convinced us that it was now or never. However, the prospect of backpacking didn’t seem so appealing to me anymore. I wanted something more unique, more challenging and less public-transport dependent… One day at an expat meet-and-greet, my friend Mike Bailey mentioned James Bowthorpe, a friend of his who was attempting to set a new world record for cycling around the world. It might sound ridiculous, but suddenly I had found an exciting mode of transport for the trip! I loved the concept of being free to cycle wherever I want, of being out there in the open air and not stuck inside a crowded bus, of being able to stop at any time to talk to people. Being a fervent cyclist myself, it wasn’t a hard decision to make and after some arm-twisting I managed to convince Angela to come on a 2-week test ride along the Way of Saint James in Spain with our friends Ben and Terris.
The pilgrimage was a success: Angela’s knees and the touring bikes survived, the scenery was stunning and Terris and Ben purged their sins. It also gave Angela the confidence boost that she desperately needed and showed us what bike touring is all about: freedom and awesomeness! The world trip was definitely ON. After a couple of months spent dreaming and talking about how amazing it will be, we finally crossed the Rubicon and gave our landlord notice for our flat and our employers our resignation letters… There was no going back! Mind you it was not an easy step to take. You’re basically giving up everything that is normal in your daily life, your income, your nice cozy flat, your TV and trading it for a bike, a tent, soap in a bag and smelly clothes… So more than a step, it’s a massive jump outside your comfort zone! But as I discovered in Australia a few year ago, it’s something that you quickly learn to love…
Of course I had to compromise a little so that Angela would not freak out and agree to come along! This is why we are going to cheat from times to times and hop off our bikes to fly and ride trains (it was only up to me we would be cycling the whole way!). But all things considered, that’s not a bad thing, as it will give us more time to explore the places we like. Let’s hope that our friend Ryan is right when he says that cycling the whole way is overrated!
We know more or less what itinerary we are going to follow: the first half of our route (it’s not route Terris, it’s route) will take us from Poland to Turkey, then from Uzbekistan to China. After that nothing is set in stone. We might continue through South East Asia before flying to Australia then New Zealand, or head straight to New Zealand and enjoy the rugby world cup. We’ll decide along the way!
So there we are, with just over a month left before we depart. We have most of the equipment, nearly all our injections and are in the middle of sorting out some of the visas. We are excited, we are anxious. We are day-dreaming about all those wonderful places we are going to see, but at the same time all the things that can go wrong are running through our head… Holly molly, we can’t wait!