Starting in March 2013, my husband Stephen and I are planning to fly to Rome, mount our bicycles, and pedal. Roughly six months later, we hope to arrive in St. Petersburg. And that's just for starters.
We're trading in our house and two cars for a tent and two bikes and we don't know when (or where) we'll have a solid roof over our heads again.
I know what you're thinking.
You're going to leave everyone and everything you know to travel thousands of miles, through the backroads of gazillions of countries by bicycle? What? Why?
We've had the same thought hundreds of times over the last few months.
True, there are easier ways to see the world. But easy isn't really high on the priority list right now. It falls far behind all the things this trip will be: challenging, exhilarating, frustrating, life-changing...
A Little Backstory
Most people don't just wake up one morning and decide they're going to travel the world by bike. We didn't either.
About a year ago, I started thinking it might be a good time to embark on another extended trip.
Our first escape came in the mid-90s. We were living in Vancouver, but it was small and dull and rainy, so we took off to backpack Europe for six months. After experiencing the crappiest youth hostels in some of the greatest cities in the world, we just couldn't face going home. Instead, we decided to stay in London for a little while.
A little while turned into nine years. Our careers in new media and the music industry were oh-so-London and a fantastic way to get into places for free. We became so desperately vitamin D deprived, however, that we finally had to up stakes and move to California. We thought we'd try it for a year.
It's been almost seven great years of yoga, vegan food, sunshine, and the biggest traffic jams we hope to ever see. We love this place and it feels like home. Which explains why Stephen kind of thought I was joking when I first suggested we leave it all behind.
I tried to entice him with a few ideas. Beach hut in Bali? Yoga retreat in Costa Rica? Train tour of Japan? Nothing really seemed to click.
A Smarter Way to Travel?
We wanted to connect. We wanted to slow down. We wanted to breathe the air and feel the soil beneath our feet. Above all, we didn't want to roar around, polluting and damaging the very places we were visiting.
Nothing seemed to fit the bill until I stumbled across a few blogs that changed everything. Turns out, there are people everywhere who travel by bike. And not just down to the shops and back – around the entire freaking world.
These people quickly became our heroes. And even though we'd never used our bikes for more than a daily commute, we started to love the idea. We are by no means hardcore cyclists with tree-trunk calves and butts of steel. We'd never even done an overnight trip until it was much too late to back out of this whole crazy plan. You can see how not well our first bike trip went right here.
Yup, when it comes to long-haul cycling, we're complete newbs.
So even though we've been planning for months, what will actually happen after that first pedal stroke in The Eternal City is anyone's guess.
Leaving It All Behind
Right now, we're sitting amongst piles of boxes and belongings. There are piles for things that need to be sold, piles for our friends, piles for charity shops, and piles for the rubbish.
Our house is sold, our cars are on Craigslist, and our furniture is slowly making its way into other people's homes. We have a To Do list as long as the Volga and less than two weeks to tick off every item.
Are we excited? We will be if we can just get on the plane.
One thing we know is that a lot will go wrong on this trip. We'll share the meltdowns and the breakdowns with you.
With any luck, we'll also have some crazy fun along the way. We'll share that too.
We'll be posting a daily journal and lots of beautiful pictures on our website, My Five Acres. And of course, we'll share our stories, plus tips and advice on long-term adventure travel right here.