It all started when… (part 1)

I, Valentin, was sitting home alone New Year’s Day of 2018 and was thinking to myself… One more year has gone by and I have fulfilled my dreams: I have a good job, I have a nice apartment, I have the best friends one can wish for and I have visited some terrific places in the world. But something was missing. I have been working hard in order to achieve all this but it hasn’t been adventurous enough. I’ve always had to come home from a holiday after three or four weeks and keep on living my 21st century Western European life. I would like to experience the world in a much more special way than before! Yes, but how? I am neither rich nor have a lot of free time.

A few weeks later I was sitting on the commuter train on my way to work, reading the morning paper. I found an article about a young Swedish girl who recently came home after having cycled around the world for three years, “That’s it! I want to bike around the globe!” This was my very first reaction and as for me, I have always been a very intuitive person. Sometimes you really don’t need anything else than a cold grey winter morning in Sweden and a local newspaper telling a story of somebody who dared living her dreams.

“Come on, I am crazy enough to do this! But how to start? I have never ever biked longer than a few kilometers a day and I don’t even know how to repair a flat tire. Which countries do I want to visit and what equipment do I need? And honestly… Shall I do this all by myself?”

Well, days and weeks passed by and this spontaneous dream just didn’t want to disappear. I started to check out other adventurers’ websites wondering how they prepared for such a journey and watched crazy videos on internet where a guy was cycling against an extremely strong headwind in Patagonia. After a while I thought: OK, I obviously must be an Ironman to be able to do this madness. And how on Earth can I save enough money for this trip? Argh, just let’s forget it and let’s take a bus from A to B.

To experience the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and the Outback in Australia, I realized that the only way to do it sustainably is to sleep in a tent and to cycle around on your own bike. I actually have a very good friend from Australia living in Sweden who has completed Vätternrundan twice (300 km long bike ride around the largest lake in Sweden). The last one he made it in 14 hours. He is a strong and smart guy but definitely not an world champion.

Help yourself and God will help you! I contacted Sam and asked him if he would feel like to bike with me from Märsta to Gävle and back on a sunny summer weekend (150 km one way). If I cannot complete this, I will definitely never be able to cycle around the world – was my thought. But if we will succeed, then I have proved for myself, that I am in a good enough condition to make this journey.

To be continued…

Photo from our first bike ride together around the countryside in Stockholm county, June 2018

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