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Esc Hero #5: ‘There must be more to it than this?’

1. What did you do prior to this?

Having graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Business Management, I jumped on the bandwagon and migrated south for the bright lights of the Big Smoke to start making some money. I worked with a specialist IT recruitment consultancy for 18 months, although itchy feet and a growing feeling of ‘there must be more to it than this?’ got the better of me and I moved to Dubai for a year allured by beaches, sun and tax-free living! Despite having a great time, I continually carried a sense of dissatisfaction in not doing what I had wanted to do since leaving university – a self-supported bicycle adventure across the planet!

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2. So what ridiculous adventure are you planning then?

Myself and a friend are cycling from London to Sydney, leaving in April 2010. The 18,000 mile ride will take approximately 18 months and I will be raising money for Brain Tumour Research. Further information on the adventure is available on our website www.theblazingsaddles.com

3. How long have you dreamt of doing this?

About 5 years.

4. What was your moment of truth when you realised that you would make this happen?

The decider for me was reading Al Humphreys’ book ‘Mood for Future Joys‘. It made the dream seem like it could genuinely be turned into a reality, because he is a normal guy whom I could relate to on a number of levels. He grabbed a crazy, seemingly ridiculous idea by the proverbial balls and went for it.

5. From a practical perspective, how did you plan for it?

I am heavily underway with all the planning aspects of a long distance bike trip (I leave in April 2010). Route planning, visas, fitness training, saving cash, buying equipment, etc.

6. How are you funding it?

In addition to some money I saved from my time working in Dubai, I am doing a variety of jobs to reach my budget target whilst living at home to keep costs down as much as possible. It’s amazing how much you can save when you have a specific goal and you adhere to very cheap living regime!  As well as a number of gardening jobs in my hometown, I have just finished painting a large country house (pretty much every surface inside!) and I started a 3 month contract role with a private bank in Birmingham this week!

7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?

Probably making the decision to actually go for it. Loosening the grip on the so-called certainties of the world and to finally stop making excuses is probably the hardest thing to do!

8. What has been the best thing about having made this happen (so far)?

The permanent excitement I have about the adventure, and the feeling of contentment I get for doing something I truly want to do for the right reasons.

9. What advice would you give to other people who want to do something similar?

Go for it. Admittedly, these are stolen words from Henry David Thoreau’s book ‘Walden‘. Although slightly cheesy, fairly profund: ‘If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.’

bike ride10. What resources have you found really useful?

The highlights are:

Books:

Alastair Humphreys – ‘Mood for Future Joys‘ and ‘Thunder and Sunshine

Rob Lilwall – ‘Cycling home from Siberia

Rolf Potts – ‘Vagabonding

Stephen Lord – ‘Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook

Websites:

www.alastairhumphreys.com

www.petergostelow.com

www.worldtravellers.dk

Events:

Explore 2009 - Explore: expedition & fieldwork planning weekend

DVD’s:

Free Wheels East… coming out soon www.freewheelseast.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Wheels-East-Film/125025380925

  • John

    “pin head” springs to mind…

  • Tom

    Well done for having the guts to pursue an ambition. Most people are too daunted by the scale of organisation such an adventure entails, but you’re showing how very possible it is.