If you point a bicycle in any direction and keep pedaling for long enough, you can pretty much visit anywhere in the world without the need to buy a single ticket.
I had just cycled with my Dad from Norwich to Bristol when this theory popped into my head. I never knew it was actually possible to travel so far by bike before and for some time after I schemed of dropping everything to pedal from my front door to some distant, exotic location.
Instead I went to Uni, got a job, and forgot about such frivolous and irresponsible ideas.
At the end of 2013 I found myself living in London and in a job interview. It’s an unlikely place for a quarter-life crisis to occur but at that moment I realised I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I particularly didn’t want to be sitting in that interview; the job I already had wasn’t the problem, it was something bigger. It was that I had let factors beyond my control dictate my circumstances. I had accepted that it was fine just to get by in London without getting closer to reaching any of my own aspirations…but hey-ho, what twenty-something is actually able to in this day and age.
Yet this is supposed to be a time of life when mistakes and over-ambitious, naive recklessness happens and will all work out in the grand scheme of things. I was wasting the opportunity to do something I genuinely wanted to do and, more importantly, could do because there was a lot less holding me back now than there would be later on in life. It was in that interview, probably when they asked me where I saw myself in 5 years’ time, when I remembered all those schemes about cycling the world I daydreamed about over a decade ago.
It’s a year later and I’m about to put my theory into practice: I’m quitting my job, quitting London, and going for a bike ride.
I have absolutely no idea where or when this ride will end. What I know for certain, though, is that I have the complete freedom granted by over a years’ worth of saving every penny and a means of transport that can get me anywhere in the world I want to – just as long as I pedal enough, so the theory goes…
I set up this blog to detail the consequences of using a bicycle to get from London to wherever it is that I end up. My notice has been handed in, I have bought an ugly new bike that weighs a tonne, and I’m leaving in March. I am absolutely terrified of the prospect but, for the first time in a couple of years, I think that means I’m actually doing something worthwhile. Even if I fail to get as far as I intend to, at least I’ve made the decision to fail at something I unconditionally wanted to do. And that’s what matters.