Any traveler who has run into trouble will likely agree that what helps you may not be a tool or a language skill, but your attitude.
Keeping a level head, embracing creative solutions, observing people with caution and kindness, letting plans change, laughing at your own irritation, and enjoying the tough moments as well as the beautiful views. This is the mind of the explorer, and possibly the perspective you’re craving right now.
Often, when we’re stuck in one place for a while, our comfort starts to feel restrictive. We’re used to patterns of how to talk with each other- with our boss, our partner, our friends. We know our routes to and from work, the grocery store, the library, a little too well. We feel untested and stagnant, and we want to travel to put ourselves in situations we aren’t familiar with. Adventure creates an environment for creative critical thinking and essential human connection. It condenses our needs to very few and expands our joy in every small divinity (like a shower!) We all know the joy of coming back to your own bed after a long time apart.
Embrace the impetus, because it’ll carry you somewhere no matter what. You can fight it, build a fortress around yourself, list all the excuses not to. But that’s a lot more tiring than going.
If you want to cycle travel, you are going to hit against a lot of people who fear for your safety, who doubt your ability, or who are jealous of your ambition. These can all be out of love for you, or they could be out of that person’s own insecurity. There are a hundred reasons why you’ll hear, “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” and you’ll have to be prepared to fight against that tide. Often, your answer will just be, “Well, I’m doing it anyway.”
You’ll also discover a lot of people who are wildly impressed and reflect that they “could never do something like that.” After your journey, you’ll probably say some variation of, “Absolutely you can. I had no idea what I was doing!”
And hopefully, you’ll discover that there are a lot of people out there on the road already; adventurers among your friends who want to come with; family members who believe and trust in you and let you find your way. You’ll remember all of these people. Try to be one in return.
I owe a lot to other cyclists and adventurers who have not only gone and done impossibly challenging things, but who took the time to streamline and share their knowledge. To help anyone out there who is also dreaming but not sure where to start, here is a list of inspiring people to check out. Hopefully this page will inspire you to move on to step 2.
For Adventure Inspiration:
Alastair Humphreys Emily Chappell
Juliana Buhring Jamie Bowlby-Whiting
The Global Goulets: friends Alex, Eric, and Brian Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen
Louise Sutherland, the queen of cycle touring Roz Savage, ocean rower
Keys to Freeze, friends cycling for conservation Martin and Suzanne
For general get-going inspiration: