A Quiet Birth
This story begins in late 2008 one afternoon sitting in a cage-like office cubicle behind a desk top computer. Working 9 to 5 in a stuffy engineers office was hardly fulfilling the potential of what I knew in my heart I was capable of. I wanted more. I knew it was out there… and so at tender age of 26, I began dreaming of new possibilities.
Rewind to 2006, I found myself in England, almost broke having finished my studies and wanting to travel to Eastern Europe before returning home to Australia in order to graduate. An idea grew while watching the cricket in my sister’s apartment that perhaps I could use a bicycle to travel, it would be cheap and I could camp along the way. Three months later I found I’d traveled from Norway across Europe by bicycle to Turkey.
Drawing on this past experience which I remember as one of the happiest and freest times of my life, I knew the Nomadic life was something that I easily warmed to and something someday, i would like to return to. You could say the Expedition was a means for change. A call to adventure.
The Role of the Map
I love a good map. I can spend hours pouring over small details wondering what that river looks like, where that valley leads, how I could cross those mountains, who lives in such terrain and marveling how it all fits together. When I look at a map I feel curious. I hear a familiar call to adventure. I see a gateway to possibility and the potential to feed a deeper yearning.
And so staring at a world map in my dusty corner office I let my imagination be free. I Thought about cycling across Australia, then Indonesia, then South East Asia and possibly to Europe. Once there I’d need to get home. I’d always dreamed to getting to South America and particularly the wilds of Patagonia. Soon I was thinking about cycling all of the Americas, south to north. Before long I’d found myself dreaming big. Very big.
Cycling the world you say? How you plan to do that?
The idea is quite easy actually. Think of it as a bicycle ride to a neighboring village. Then the next day another neighboring village. Do this for 2 weeks and you’ve probably crossed a state. A few months and you’ve probably crossed a small country… a year, continents! After that all it really takes is time.
To be honest after a few years on the road now, it feels more of a slow migration through the world. I try not to plan too much because I find it limits possibilities. I try and cycle as much of the way as possible, which means no cars, buses, trains or planes. When it becomes politically or geographically impossible I return to old trails in order to maintain an unbroken line that often stretches across entire continents!
…Yep and at the end of it all it will probably leave me penniless and as long as I have my health and a rich tapestry of experiences, I couldn’t be happier!
Why would anyone want to cycle around the world?
It’s a question I often get asked. Usually it’s in the form of a simple shoulder shrug or a flick of the wrist that when finished resembles holding a wine glass. I usually can’t speak the local language and so I simple shrug my shoulders back. Why not is what I answer.
I would like to have a simple response but I find it’s not easy. My ability to articulate exactly what the ‘why’ is and what it implies falls well short of it’s personal significance. And so I find that while it’s possibly the most prudent question it’s also the most worthless.
I’m still living the ‘why” and it changes with both time, experience and understanding. Simply put it’s another way to live. Unusual, yes; Difficult, yes; but it’s a life that i find extremely enjoyable, fascinating and rewarding.
So, better to share the experience and what this expedition facilitates… here’s an attempt in a few dots points:
- First and foremost the Expedition is a personal journey about ‘self exploration’, finding significance in the world and exploring possibilities.
- Cycling is possibly the most beautiful way to travel that brings travelers closer to the people, cultures and landscapes.
- The self sufficiency with this method of travel offers complete freedom to venture “the road less traveled’.
- It’s also the most environmentally responsible and efficient way to travel.
- It’s cheap which frees me from economic constraints for long periods of time. (With a tent you can survive in most places for about $300 a month).
- It’s a great way to get fit, stay healthy and you can eat as much food as you like.
- Being out there, exposed to the elements puts me in touch with our natural environment. It allows me to simplify and appreciate more, determine what is important and as a friend once described, ‘to grow small’.
- Away from sensationalist media, popularist government and without the constrictions and distractions of modern society I can truly form my own opinions, challenge existing ideas and learn (or more correctly experience) things that can’t be taught at University.
- I want to utilize the asset of my youth and fulfill this sense of adventure before old age prevents me. This is the best way I can think of to achieve that aim.
- It’s a way to experience life on my own terms (and with that comes the responsibility of being %100 for everything I am).
Basically it comes down to the fact that the world is a big place, full of potential and I want in!
Why are you telling me this?
I share this journey with others in the hope that they may take something from it. I know people inspire me and perhaps I inspire others. That’s how the world works, people helping people. I only share what I discovered; if you dream big, muster the courage to change your self/life and listen to your intuition, then your well on your way. Start with yourself and the rest will unfold naturally.
What do I hope to achieve?
I try and use the Cycle Strongman Expedition as a vehicle to challenge others. In a world of increasing dis-connect I want to help reforge those connections to our inner nature, to our natural and ultimately live happier and healthier lives. Dream about what is possible, think about how you can make that change, believe in it and start living it! It requires a change in behavior, in lifestyles and acceptance of our universal responsibility to move towards a truly sustainable future. I’d like to hope that things can change.
See more in the Environment Section.
The Cycle Strongman Expedition is about facilitating these most important connections and helping motivate that change.
The main goals of the Cycle Strongman Expedition are to:
- inspire others to think about the impact of their lives on the fragile environment and ecosystems that support us;
- encourage others to accept responsibility for their impact on the environment and advocate change;
- promote cycling and encourage positive media coverage and attitudes towards cycling as a healthy and sustainable form of transport;
- raise awareness of the landscapes, cultures and ecosystems worth saving;
- promote co-operation between cultures by highlighting the similarities rather than the differences. Everyone is capable of kindness, everyone laughs and we all share the same needs of food, shelter and respect for one another. All too often we hear about our differences rather than what brings humanity together; and
Change has to start with each and every one of us. Each of us, as individuals, needs to take responsibility for our actions. We need to accept that this change is necessary and start thinking about how we can all minimise our environmental footprint.
Albert Einstien is quoted as saying “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.“