January 2020 was our last month in Sweden and even though we prepared a lot of things before we still had a few errands to fix. The most stressful moment might have been that both of us still worked 40 hours a week until the end of January so we didn’t really had time to rest before the upcoming expedition. We had to empty the flat in Märsta for the new owner would move in on January, 30 – just two days before departure. We never had a lot of stuff, specially Valentin who is pretty minimalistic when it comes to material things, but oh Lord! We still had bunches of kitchen equipment, books, old DVD’s etc. The most valuable books (Goethe, Tolstoy) were the last things we could throw away, so they are stored at our friends’ places who kindly ‘adopted’ them for a few years. And you know what? All these three friends happen to have one thing in common: All of them are from Chile! 🙂 It must be a sign that something very special is waiting for us on the other side of the globe. :-)We moved out from the flat – after having emptied it with blood and sweat – on January, 27. The last week we had the possibility to stay in the local of our housing assosiciation which we are very grateful for! There we sorted out the very last things we would need for the journey, and we gave away all food, plates, cutlery etc to the assosiciation. All those clothes that didn’t fit in our panniers we donated to charity. Thank SOS Children’s Villages that we fundraise for we found a sponsor that gave us a lot of useful stuff for our journey: Stadium. Stadium is the most popular sport store in Sweden that sells high quality equipment for all kinds of adventures. We are honoured to have the opportunity to get really warm winter jackets, thermos, gloves, socks, cycling pants and two huge 80 liter bags.The last week we ran to SOS Children’s Villages in order to discuss our future co-operation and to get some clothes with their logo, then to Stadium to pick up the stuff that they prepared for us
So the last step in Sweden was actually just to take the first step out of the country towards the unknown. And we said that all we want to achieve with this journey is freedom, challanges and to explore the ‘real’ world. That day we didn’t have the slightest idea that a few weeks later we would learn a totally different meaning of these words…
The starting date of our circumnavigation on our bicycles. A not too cold sunny winter day in Stockholm that was the biggest step in our lives so far. When we woke up in the morning we realized that it’s the day we had been waiting for the past two years. And it was weird that this incredible adventure happens to us and nobody else. So must the first man in space have felt before he was sent up from the Earth in a spaceship. Why exactly we of all people? How is it possible? And the answer was there all the time: Because we dreamed this dream and we took all the steps towards it that were necessary so that a dream would not just remain a dream but become a reality.
Thank you all our friends, colleagues and sponsors who came to Zinkensdamm in central Stockholm to waiv us off and wish us good luck. Our hearts were heavy but we knew that we did the right thing. And after a two hour long hugging and kissing good bye we were standing there while the people were looking at us waiting for the moment where we would take that famous/infamous first pedal stroke that is supposed to be the hardest one. And remember my friend! Any time you need a wise man’s advice, read a quote! Quotes and sayings help you more than you think!So when Sam’s friend, Dana shed a few tears in that dramatic second when we were about to leave, we couldn’t hold our tears either. And then we turned to our friends for a last time and told them a quote: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not great enough.” And we started to bicycle around the world.
We hadn’t even made a kilometer on our bikes, a curious older Swedish couple asked us where we were heading to when we stopped at the red light. “Hm, we are biking around the world. We actually started five minutes ago.” 🙂 They were both surprised and impressed by our answer. It wasn’t the first time that we felt embrassed by giving an answer to this question. There are people who just cannot imagine why on Earth somebody would leave his comfort zone, pack everything on a bicycle and pedal many thousands of kilometers in rain and shine. And even if it was ideal weather in a safe country with perfectly paved and flat roads, we knew from the beginning that everything would get harder. But let’s not think about it now. The adventure is here! We already bike around the world, so why would we worry about monsoon rain and dirt roads in Southeast Asia while we are in Europe? “Grubling over eventual difficulties in the future doesn’t solve the problems of tomorrow but destroys the joys of today.”So we cycled 10 km from Södermalm to the ferry terminal in Värtahamnen and took the boat from Sweden to Estonia.
Two guys in red jackets biking around among cars and trucks in a harbour in wintertime. Not the first time we got everybody’s attention. 🙂 And the first time for both of us to use our new Swedish passports when checking in at the service booth. Onboard everything seemed to be usual because both of us had made cruisings between Sweden and the Baltics before. But right now already on day 1 we had to be extra careful with our expenses. 100 Swedish Krona a day per person is our budget. So if you buy that coffee and that plate of soup, no more money to spend today! This is actually not as hard as it seems to be. The most important thing is to buy food that gives a lot of energy. And a bottle of mayonnaise costs only 10 SEK at Lidl.The boat is sliding on the Baltic Sea, our cell phones still have reception in Sweden, but in 24 hours most of the passengers will head back to Sweden with the same boat while we will be sweating in the cold wind between two villages in Estonia.