Planning for Trans-continental Cycling
Though at risk of being somewhat boring subjects, I think the scale of the project has ended up making things such as vaccinations, visas and other necessities pretty interesting after all. So I've decided on sharing with you some more of the planning details, and what sort of stuff I'm working on at the current moment.
I went to a vaccination clinic in Copenhagen and told them about my upcoming trip. As it turns out, I need a lot of vaccinations. So many in fact, that the clinic called me two days after my visit telling me that they'd forgotten one. A couple of weeks prior to my cycling trip I'll be spending 2 weeks in Nigeria, adding to the total number of vaccinations needed. Here's the list:
And a cure for Malaria
That's 12 vaccinations and a cure for Malaria. There really isn't much more for them to vaccinate me against now.
Then there's the visas. Out of the 26 countries I plan on visiting, 9 require a visa. And knowing the cost of a single visa means that visas will be taking up a relatively large percentage of my total budget. This is part of the reason for me not to visit countries such as Belarus, Azerbaidjan and Bangladesh. I also hate dealing with the endless bureaucracy of sending passports back and forth and waiting days on end for processing, so to ease the process, I might be opting for a paid visa service to get me over the borders. Especially Pakistan seems to be quite difficult to deal with bureaucratically. I've been trying to get in contact with the embassy of Pakistan to figure out how I'm going to pass through the country, but honestly it's not going all too well.
Picking out the gear and clothes to bring is a hard task aswell. I don't have much space on my bike to bring a ton of clothes, so I'm limiting myself to about 3-4 sets of clothes that will have to cover me in a wide range of weather conditions from freezing cold to relentless desert heat. When reading around on forums and so on, a lot of people advice you to just go on that trip you've been thinking about without worrying too much about the practicalities of it all. And while it sounds tempting, I just can't help but to think that it has to be pretty bad advice. Either that or I'm just overcomplicating the hell out of this project.
A lot of people have been asking me about the sort of physical training I'm doing at the moment, expecting me to be clocking in 100's of kilometers. Truth is, I'm not. I've only gone for a few short trips (probably totalling less than 100 km) on my current bicycle thus far. And the main reason for those trips have been to break in my saddle. While a bit of training might make for a smoother start, you really can't prepare yourself for the physical strains of cycling days on end for a year without actually cycling days on end for a year. So I'm just going to be starting out slow for the first couple of weeks and then start building my strength over time from there. I'm not really in that much of a hurry anyways.
I believe that the mental challenge is going to be much greater than the physical challenge. I'm quite comfortable being by myself, but loneliness is one of the few things that actually worry me about the trip. Building a lasting bond with another person takes a long time, so being nomadic simply contradicts the development of really strong friendships. I might be wrong, but these are the sorts of things that worry me. Oh and I'm also pretty worried about dogs. I just don't like being chased by them.
Now for this last bit I don't have any numbers for scale, but I've been spending countless hours creating this website, setting up the fundraiser and promoting the entire project. And though it might sound like a lot of work (and it is), I'm enjoying every little bit of it.
I'm off to Nigeria tomorrow (first time in Africa!), and will be coming home in a couple of weeks. I'll post some pictures under my previous trips once I've sorted them out. The cycling trip will be starting on the 27th of April where I'll be driving to Stockholm. From there I'll be taking the ferry to Turku in Finland, and I'm off!
I'm riding for the Association for Greenlandic Children, raising funds for their mentoring-project Ilinniartut. You can read more and donate through the link below.