What a Year! A year of cycling about 18,600 kilometres, visiting 10 countries of our wonderful world, discovering tastes, sceneries and cultures.
During that year I spent 4,5 months in Australia, in particular the South-East including Tasmania, and the south island of New Zealand. It has been a gentle attunement to the life on the road with the main focus on lonely and scenic places and persevering cycling. Although I was on my own, I never really felt lonely, in particular thanks to the open-minded, sociable and nice Australians.
These months were then followed by quite a different chapter of the trip – cycling in way more crowded areas and in company of my girlfriend Jela. Together, we started in Singapore and cycled all the way up to Northern Thailand (where my parents came for a visit for 2 weeks, too), then turned towards Laos and Vietnam. Now, it’s been mainly about experiencing the interesting cultures and religions (and at least I got ‘templed-out’), enjoying the food-variety, and meeting the locals. A wonderful time, too.
However, after about 4 months in Southeast Asia we got a bit tired of the permanent heat and the by now repeating scenery and impressions. We started to look for another, more profound, change in order to spend the next 2 months. Different enough, still in reach and pretty unknown territory for us, Jela quickly came up with the idea to visit Japan. I never actually considered to pay Japan a visit, let alone cycling there, yet the country absolutely surprised and turned out to be a real joy. Incredibly polite and friendly people, interesting culture and, despite the many densely populated areas, a lot of seemingly untouched, forested and scenic mountain ranges.
After about 2 months in Japan, Jela finally had to go back home. I was on my own again and decided to cycle for a month in South Korea since it’s just around the corner – just an overnight ferry-ride from Japan. Indeed a worthwhile visit I didn’t regret, of course. However, South Korea marked a turning point, too. Meanwhile I felt a little bit repleted by the many impressions and I was lacking the excitement of cycling and travelling as at the beginning of the trip. And I didn’t enjoy cycling alone anymore so much. Thus, I came to the decision to finish the trip soon.
But not without meeting my brother in North India as we had planed already a couple of months before! Me and my brother cycled for a month in Zanskar and Ladakh, an area we dreamed of cycling for a long time already. It was a highlight and a great final of my journey. And it’s been an apex geographically, too! The impressive and strenuous loop we did, involved, for instance, a 6 day trek where we had to carry and push our bikes and a couple of 4000 to 5000 metre passes including the highest pass we ever cycled (5,300 m).
The main long lasting and most interesting memories of a journey are the ones with the people met on the road. I/we greatly enjoyed the many encounters we had and were able to learn a lot. Among them are the warmshowers-hosts I and we were fortunately allowed to stay with. And I just want to thank them again for their incredible hospitality. That is, Nancy & Dave in Sydney, John & Ute in Canberra, Kay in the middle of nowhere, John in Bright, Tim and Alley in Devonport, Pen & Ben in Hobart, Bif in Christchurch, SK in Singapore, Howard in Melaka, Akmal in Kuala Lumpur, Michael in Ipoh, Sherilyn & Sam in Georgetown, Richard in Tokyo, Ken in Kyoto, Taro in Fukuoka, and James & Katy in Daegu, … .
And, of course, I want to thank you for following my journey!
After the trip is before the (next) trip … 😉