I guess it’s a kind of a shame that I’m writing my first blog post after I already cycled 7000km across Europe and North America. So far I found myself in so many different places, around so many different people and in so many different stages about self-consciousness. Nevertheless it also won’t ever be too late to share my adventures so here we go…
The main reason why I didn’t keep up the social media game is because I’m a lazy piece of shit in some aspects. Well, I guess that’s not the right expression to describe myself when I, at the same time, ride my bicycle all over the place. A lot of times I strive for perfection and don’t even start doing certain things at all, because I feel like I won’t meet my standards anyway. After all, I should rather say “done is always better than perfect”. Additionally I started to appreciate this journey for myself, which is very important. Stop minding about posting pictures or your profile and image on the internet. It’s not about ‘likes’ and I’m glad that I detached from that idea. Traveling alone shouldn’t result in social media being the only ‘person’ you’re sharing experiences with. It’s about your own horizon and about widening it!
I had a lot of different thoughts going on in my head and now, that I’m actually about to publish some, I already see myself trying to squeeze everything in one. That won’t work. My mind is way to unorganized to express all my thoughts in a logical way. As you might have realized now, I will not only post about which roads I took and which monuments are pretty. I want to share my whole experience, which is greater than just places I got to see.
So far I can say, that I am more than glad, that I took the time ‘off’ to throw myself out there and see the world. I didn’t necessarily start all this to find myself, but now this is one of the most valuable things I experienced. For sure, I still haven’t figured myself out. But I’m so much more aware of my attitude, my ability, my strengths and flaws, my motivation, my goals, my qualities, my achievements, my needs and most importantly my direction. In the first place I took this year off because I didn’t wanted to start studying right away after High School. There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities in life where you can take that much time off and have no real boundaries, responsibilities and worries because you didn’t commit yourself to something. Yes, obviously I still have responsibilities and that, but not in the same way I would, if I chose a career or committed myself to studying/working. To me this independence is a whole lot of freedom to myself: Being able to spend a very long time doing things I want to do and letting go of the pressure of society and opinions of a bunch of people.
I will try to post about the incredible places I’ve been, the amazing people I’ve met, the lessons I learned and the motivation I caught. Many people encouraged me to do so and share my adventure, because they loved the stories I could tell. I will try to. But this also might just be my first-couple-days-of-the-new-year-motivation and I’ll be slacking to take the time and write a blog post.
Anyhow… here’s at least a little summary on my route:
I started back in August from Hamburg, Germany. To be exact, from my own front door. I was really excited when I left. I didn’t really know what to expect (I also didn’t worry about that) all I knew was that I’m going on a big adventure with me, myself and I. Well maybe with my bike, my tent and my passport. Fitting your whole life – for real everything you need to survive – on the racks of my bike is an absolute incredible feeling! The world is yours and you can go wherever you want. Starting off in the streets that I know by heart and used to race with my fixie, I made my way through the city and places I’ve been a hundred times. Eventually I found myself on the other side of the river Elbe and moving further and further away from my home city. The first stage of my journey took me to a friends place in Bremen, Germany. That night I experienced an open door and heart and it was followed by many many more! I already left Germany two days later and made my way through the Netherlands. On my fourth day, which took me to Rotterdam, I set my record for the furthest distance on one day: 160km / 100miles. It lasted until the last day riding in Europe. I made my way south through Belgium and France until I reached Paris after two weeks. I stayed in the city for almost a week to explore it. Two of my best friends also came to visit and to celebrated the birthday of one of them. That was sweet af and I was really happy to see those two! From Paris I made my way further south to ride along the River Loire and through Orléans and Tours. After cycling through French vine yards I eventually got to Bordeaux. Exactly two month after leaving Hamburg I then made it to the French Atlantic coast, on that day I also passed the 2000km mark. Riding along the coast and catching surfing vibes, I eventually crossed the border – well in Europe a border is more like a sign – to Spain. I passed by the Pyrenees by staying close to the Coast and stopped in Bilbao for a couple days. I continued up at the beautiful but hilly Cantabrian coast until Gijón. From there I decided to cross the Cantabrian Mountain Chain, which obviously includes crossing a mountain pass… That slight detour costs a day with 133km/82mi and an overall attitude of 2220m/7283ft. But totally worth it. In the flat countryside I then followed the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James / Jakobsweg) starting from Léon. Well pretty soon I left the plateau for the Léon Mountains and the Galician Mountain Range. After staying a bit in Santiago de Compostela I started heading south again and also back to the coast. Hoping for good weather in Portugal I rode my bike through a lot of rain stopping in Porto and heading for Lisbon. The day I got Lisbon I pushed my record to 175km/110mi in one day. Soaking wet, tired and late at night but still very happy I reached the most western big city in Europe after a bit over two month and 3900km/2420mi. A good reason to take a break for a week.
(on the map every pin indicates a place where I slept)
Time for a new continent: North America. I flew into Boston in the end of October and started cycling from Portland, Maine. Even though winter was coming I made my way up north towards Canada, passing through NH and VT. In Canada my dad came together with his bike and joined me for a week From Montreal over Ottawa until Toronto. By time its gotten colder and colder but eventually I made it to Michigan and to the small town Caro, in which I used to live in for an exchange year back in 2013/14. Starting from Thanksgiving at my former host family’s, I went all over the place to catch up on a bunch of old friends from my exchange year. By the time I wanted to get moving again, one month after arriving in Caro, it got way too cold and snowy to continue up in the north so I got on a train from Detroit over Chicago down to New Orleans. I tried to move down south in a pretty straight line and not cut off any distance. If you still blame me and think I cut distance… If I would have started in the south of the U.S. in the first place, it would have been shorter. From there I continued west heading to Dallas, TX where I am sitting right now writing all this. Now I’ll be heading towards New Mexico and Arizona and eventually Cali. On my way I have to leave the country for once (crossing the border to Mexico) and hope that when I get back in I’ll get another ‘new’ 90 days to stay in the U.S. because my Visa is going to expire pretty soon…
I think that this post is going to be followed by a detailed version of where I’ve been and who I’ve met and all that, featuring all kinds of cool pictures… I’m also gonna write about Traveling by yourself in general, Ups and Downs on a trip like this, the reason why traveling by bike is absolutely killing the game and how this influences my thoughts on my future. (There’s a whole lot more on my mind, but my thoughts are kind of a mess because life just doesn’t make sense because that’s how it is.)
Anyhow, thanks so much for reading or scrolling down all the way to this, I really appreciate it. Like for real, it means a lot to me that people out there care about what I’m up to!