Categories
Guest Posts Other People's Adventures

Everything Will Be Fine. Here’s Proof.

Today’s guest post is from former English teacher Jamie Bowlby-Whiting, whose success adventuring on an absurdly low budget has made even my best attempts feel decadent. He’s developed two core principles for his adventures: 1. impossible is nothing, and 2. everything will be fine (until it isn’t).

This story reminds me so very strongly of that first carefree summer I spent crossing Europe in 2007 (particularly the ever-popular Eastern European arrest), and so it’s not without a little pang of nostalgia that I publish this post. Take it away, Jamie…

Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing at All by GreatbigScaryWorld dot com

A few months ago, I found myself working as an English teacher at a very expensive private school in Istanbul. And I couldn’t help but take a step back and look at my life. In the words of the kids: “it sucked”.

The children’s low levels of English were on a par with their low desires to learn. They ran the school, overruling the teachers and even refusing to sit the compulsory end of year tests. I felt like a glorified babysitter, except that none of the children understood what I was saying. And even if they did, they’d forgotten their pencil cases so couldn’t do any work.

“This isn’t what I want,” I thought. “This isn’t what life is about.”

So, rather than complaining about it, I chose to make a change to my life.

Categories
Guest Posts Other People's Adventures

What Exactly Is It That Stops You Following Your Dreams?

This is a guest post by Fraser Baillie, who last month took the giant leap of jacking it all in and hitting the road. Today he shares some retrospective thoughts, 3,000 miles from home at the far end of Europe, about the turning point that made his dream into the reality he now lives every day.

2013-09-05 12-42-20

What Stops You From Following Your Dreams?

The single thing that made a difference for me that day — about 19 months ago now — was a subtle change in belief.

Categories
Guest Posts

Cycling East with Alex Gandy: At the foot of the Pamir Highway

Today’s article comes from Alex Gandy, who just six months ago began cycling east (hence the title of his blog) from Istanbul. Half a year after taking the plunge, he’d like to share a few lessons from the open road, direct to you from a smoky internet cafe in downtown Dushanbe…

ANG_0523

Compressing life down into what you can fit onto a bicycle has the remarkable ability to de-clutter.

Camping gear, clothes, food and water, some cash and maybe a few luxuries is as much as anyone would ever want to drag up a hill. With just the necessities, life becomes very simple. Just me, the outdoors, whatever road I choose to ride, and an eclectic mix of weird and wonderful roadside strangers for entertainment.

And then there’s the act of riding a bicycle itself, which always feels like much more than just an exploratory aide. Rolling slowly through a country, watching the scenery slip past to the rhythm of drawing breath and spinning pedals, focusses the mind on things that might have otherwise been a blur. Borders and cultures seem to blend, and the slower I go the more encounters decorate my days.

Each person I meet leaves a part of themselves impressed upon me, and I’ve grown to love learning from the spontaneous acts of kindness which crop up during my days on the road. I’ve been overwhelmed by peoples’ generosity. They’ve insisted on paying for meals, given me tours of their towns, offered their homes to sleep in, and repeatedly gone out of their way to ensure that my time in their country is as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly six months since my wheels first rolled out of Istanbul and I began my bicycle journey across Asia. So much has happened since those first few pedal strokes that it’s impossible for me to sum events up in a brief update.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

Categories
Guest Posts

The Moment I Actually Began To Enjoy Bicycle Touring

Earlier in 2012 I cycled from Vancouver to San Francisco with my brother Ben, who was a complete newcomer to life on the road. I asked him to share his experience of getting to grips with cycle-touring.

Strangely enough, it was on a night of torrential rain in a northern Oregon forest that I actually started to enjoy travelling by bike.

http://flickr.com/photos/ballenuk/7879203992/

Categories
Guest Posts

Guest Blog: Raised From The Alive

DSC_0047

For this, the first in an occasional series of guest blogs (they’re all the rage these days), I’d like to re-introduce an old friend, a man with whom I braved the horrors of Western and Central Europe for 10 weeks of this bicycle journey… ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mark Maultby! Take it away…

Hello there. This isn’t Tom writing. What?! Sorry, but I’m hi-jacking this space for my own agenda. Actually, ‘hi-jacking’ is too fierce a word; how about ‘trampling-on’?