Home / Posts tagged 'Holland'
Manu | 19 December 2012 | 3 comments

Richard’s home and bike while on the road

Oh boy. I announced my plans to everyone around me. I would cycle the world. Just like that.
I would cycle the whole world for four years, or even longer.
I guess now I just have to do it, haha. It’s been months since I’ve been on the road, but as the memories of a sore ass, numb fingers on my left hand and the lack of energy to take the next hill faded, the enthusiasm grew and the belief in my abilities rose to an alarming level. Making plans is so easy. Staring at a monitor, getting another coffee, music on the background…

How big is that world actually?

It even fits on my screen if I resize the map a little.
But then again, there’s no insects on the map, there’s no heat, no thirst, no malicious dogs. I created a thing and I do not know what shape it’s gonna get eventually. What does this thing look like right now? Well, I’m going to quit my IT-job and make a long journey by bicycle, divided into several parts. After each part I’ll go home for a couple of months to recharge the battery and make new plans. I think it’s wise to focus on no more than two parts of the trip, because I cannot even overlook the consequences of leaving home for just some months. The first part must lead me to the far east through central Asia, the second to New-Zealand via Indonesia and Australia. If I’m alive and pedalling by then I allow myself to dream about the Americas and Africa. The adventure starts in Holland, early April 2013. As the intended route has changed every month in the past year, I cannot yet give any details about that right now. I’m gonna carry the few things that I need in my panniers, I will be stealth camping as much as I can, I will ride alone most of the time, through deserted areas and live on a tight budget. Apart from the encounters and experiences in the outer world, my special interest is the effect a journey like this will have on the mind and body. What will it do to me? How will I cope with my changed life? Does my personality change?Will this journey be educational? And what will I look like? Scrawny or beefy? 
The inner travel is at least as important as the outer one…

How did it come to this?

The world seen from a bike through Richard’s eye

Well, there’s always been a serious interest in travelling. When I was about twenty years old I started reading travel books, and in fact I never quit doing that. I myself have also been travelling in the nineties, starting with train journeys in Europe during summer holidays, leading to more adventurous endeavours such as a three month trip through Turkey and a four month backpack journey in East Africa. But then I found a job, and my travel aspirations moved to the background. Instead I watched every adventurous documentary or real life outdoor game show I could find on television. Ten years later I picked up my backpack again. Time had saved only the good memories , and I just had to experience it all again. I booked a flight to Dakar and planned a one month trip in Senegal and the Gambia. It just had to be a success. It was gonna be great.
But it wasn’t. Every one or two days public transport dropped me in a new place, and often I wondered what I was going to do there after the usual stroll about the village or town and surrounding nature.. Unlike in East Africa there was hardly any other backpacker, and I got quickly annoyed by the many natives who in some or other way wanted to take advantage of my presence. I got bored and ended up in a mediocre seaside resort, drinking whisky every night and reading books. I felt disappointed. I wanted to travel but it just didn’t work.
And then, four years later in 2010, I needed a temporary replacement for my walking activities, just to stay in shape. I took my old bicycle and for a couple of days I cycled an hour before I went to work. I liked it and I started cycling in the weekends. Eighty kilometers a day, one hundred, one hundred and fifty. I was surprised how easy this was. And how much fun this was. I cycled around my home island and wondered where this could end. If I could do this small island, could I do Australia as well, someday?

I had found a way in which travelling could work for me.

No more boredom, no more hanging around in dull places: travelling itself would be the main thing, destinations would be of less importance. And even though I’ve always known this way of travelling was possible, I just never liked cycling that much when I was younger. But now it was great.

Somewhee from Holland to Gibraltar by bike: landscapes captured on the road by Richard

And so I started planning. I started to collect gear. To read a lot. Made trips of increasing toughness. Followed a two day bicycle repair course.
And after I cycled from Holland to the southernmost point of Spain in less than four weeks I knew the next thing was gonna be, well, big.
And there we are now, six months later, and it’s coming close. This adventure has occupied the back of my mind for a long time, day in day out, and soon it’s going to happen. But at the time of writing it’s still a next-year-thing. I guess it’s gonna be more and more exciting, and frightening on the other hand, as time goes by.
I will start a blog later, in Dutch, but if the demand is high enough I could add a translation. I intend to show up here on My 1st Impressions once in a while to share some of my most special travel impressions. I hope I can entertain you for a while. You’ll see me around.

– Richard –