Each story has always got many beginnings and this one is no different. One of them leads to Bulgaria. One day before Football World Cup while backpacking in Southern Bulgaria I learnt that to go on the trip of a lifetime you need to meet your patron saint of bike rambling. I met Jess. That’s how the story goes.
How to start the trip of a lifetime
Jess says: ‘I’m cycling to Singapore’.
I’m sitting in a hostel in the historical city of Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria and it’s stifling hot. I’ve just got here and I don’t even feel like organizing anything to eat, despite my hunger. Next to me there are other survivers of the heat, so the usual talk begins. Jess, a British girl in red glasses, says: ‘I’m cycling to Singapore’. Having absorbed these words, I realize for the first time that you can get further by bike than just to a shop around the corner.
I check Jess’ s cycling route and a bomb explodes in my soul.
First cycling tip: no pants in padded shorts.
I search the Internet to check if Poliester PU 5000 mm H2O (tent) and T comf -8°C (sleeping bag) will be all right. Well, first I try to decipher this code.
I wonder what a crank or a cassette is.
Although I’m already a homemade expert on equipment, I fail the survival contest. I can’t make the water boil on an alcohol stove which I produced.
However, I win another contest: Fools are always lucky. I order a bicycle in an Internet shop and it turns out to be the most comfortable one ever. Now I know how many things could go wrong.
I watch on youtube how to put the panniers on a bike rack. Seriously.
I also watch how to repair a flat tyre.
I spend a lot of time in Decathlon trying to guess which ones the patches are.
I cycle 3400 km solo around Poland.
I patch a flat tyre feeling the pride of a space rocket constructor.
I discover that bike rambling is exactly the way of travelling that I love. Who has tried it, will know; who hasn’t, at least check out these photos.
I’m in an endless quandary over whether to go on a really long cycling trip. Should I be romantic or sensible? Should I make my dreams come true? Should I leave my comfortable life in search of adventure or put if off until I’m retired? Finally, I realize that I would always regret it if I didn’t even try to live my life the way I really want. I decide to go on a two-year-long cycling trip to Asia.
I buy warm gloves and search other cyclists’ blogs to figure out what to wear while pedalling in cold weather. However, when weekends come and I can try out winter outfit or sit in an armchair with a book in my hand, I always choose the latter.
I don’t study Russian because I’ve still got plenty of time to do it.
I wonder how people menage to get their Central Asia visas and don’t get crazy.
I don’t study Russian because I don’t have any more time to do it.
I decide to run a blog. I read beginner’s guides and get lost in the third sentence of all of them. When they tell you to buy your own domain, settle a web host, download wordpress and find a nice theme.
You read this post. It’s from my own domain with a (hopefully) trustworthy web host.
I eat homemade dumplings because I won’t find them anywhere else.
I leave my job and start the trip of a lifetime. We’ll see what it brings to me.