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[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ycling around the world. Cycling around the world?! What a crazy plan! These were my first thoughts when searching for information about traveling on bicycle I found a blog The Crazy Travel, where I read about plans of Ilze and her boyfriend Pablo – to cycle around the world. But that inspired me. And you know what? Less than a year later we started our 5 month long cycling across India adventure.
And so did Ilze and Pablo. They made their plan reality. And now, about 10 months and 10 000 kilometers later, cycling around the world continues.
How is it? How it all started? Read my interview with Ilze and Pablo and you will find that out!
– Where Are You Right Now? How Do You Like it There?
Today we are cycling along the hilly coast of Montenegro, but tomorrow we are going to be in Albania. And yes, we are absolutely enjoying the Balkans.
– What Were You Doing Before You Started to Travel?
Ilze: I was having a “normal life” with 8-5 office job.
Pablo: but I was working in the restaurant in Spain, 60 hours a week.
– Pablo, How Was It to Persuade Ilze to Leave Her Job? Ilze, How Was It to Make Such a Decision?
Ilze: It would be a lie to say that it was easy to leave my old life behind. I was afraid of the unknown and how my life was going to be without having my family and friends around, without having a job and a secure monthly income, without having my own bed, etc.
But, from the other hand, I had always dreamed about traveling the world, having an adventurous life; so I decided to break out from the system that we call “normal life” and not to allow my fear stop me from fulfilling my dreams. I packed my backpack and started a new life – an adventurous one with a crazy Spanish guy that I barely knew. And it all turned out just great.
Pablo: It was easy, a few beers, 2 weeks of traveling together and she was already coming with me to travel the world! : -P
– How Did You Decide to Travel on Bicycles?
When Pablo and I set off for our backpacking trip to Southeast Asia three years ago, he said to me – Ilze, when we get bored of backpacking and hitchhiking we can travel by bicycle, to which my answer was – Are you crazy? That is not possible! And Pablo just smiled…
But then, during our travels in Asia, one day we met a Belgian guy who had cycled from his hometown in Belgium to Vietnam. All the way by bicycle. I found that really fascinating and that was the first time I met a bicycle tourer.
We could tell, he probably did not had a shower for quite some time, and his clothes needed a good wash… and he had just very little luggage on his bike. But he was so happy. Like happy, happy. He was telling us how he loves this way of traveling and that he could not imagine a better way of seeing the world.
He really inspired me and I guess Pablo as well. And only after that we actually started to consider that cycling might be the best way of traveling – not too fast, slow enough to really get the feeling of places and people.
– Is There Some Place Where You Would Love to Return? Any – Where Not? Why?
Ilze: I personally do not have a favorite place. At least not yet. (I do not count Latvia, because my homeland will be always the best place for me). After you have traveled for some time, it is always the people that makes your travel experience more memorable, not the monuments, museums, castles….
So when I think about a favorite place, I think about people, that I have met. And we have met a loads of good people in a lot of places all over the world.
About the place I would not want to return – that would be Morocco. I just did not enjoy my time there.
Pablo: I really enjoyed Laos and people there who were always genuinely smiling. And as Ilze already said, traveling for us is more about the people you meet, not about some specific destination.
I didn’t have the best time in Morocco because of serious food poisoning, but I would be happy to give it another try!
– Is There a Country That Scares You?
Ilze: Not particular scared of some place, but I would not go to places with complicated political situation, high risk of terrorism. But I am scared of wild animals, poisonous snakes and spiders!
Pablo: I am not scared of anything on our way, but it is important to be always aware of your surroundings and have common sense when traveling, and in life in general.
– Before Starting This Adventure You Needed to Work and Save Money. How Was it?
We are traveling on a very tight budget (numbers and stats while cycling around the world) and the main goal of working and saving was to get good travel gear to enjoy the road, to have a bit more of comfort when wild camping and pushing the bikes. We had traveled for a year and a half with very basic gear and we decided that it would be wise, as we get older, to sleep over something softer than the cold ground every night.
Working and saving was another stage of traveling. We went abroad and just worked, not big deal, just passing days until we had enough to keep traveling.
– What About the Things You Have with You? Is There Something You Have Already Gotten Rid Of?
Ilze: Getting rid of things is a part of long term travel. With time you realize that you need very little things. After the first days of cycling there was only one thing on my mind – what could I get rid of just to get lighter. I got rid of toiletries, some clothes, shoes. And you lose some things on the way as well.
Anyways, traveling cheap and self-sufficient implies carrying your own cooking gear, spare parts for the bike, camping stuff… Which adds up and it ends up being a nice load on our bikes.
– What Have Been the Hardest Moments in Your Travel Experience?
Ilze: I find long term bicycle touring challenging – psychologically and physically. Sometimes I get homesick and I miss my family a lot. Sometimes it gets crazy to have your boyfriend around for 24/7.
Sometimes it is hard to deal with the weather when cycling. You have to deal with the elements: rain, wind, crazy heat, snow, hailing, high mountain passes or super boring flat roads. Sometimes you struggle to find a flattish place to pitch our tent. Sometimes we get really hungry, but we have no food supply.
But despite all that, I love what I am doing and I would not want to be in any other place right now than cycling around the world, on my bike, together, with Pablo.
– What Would You Tell People, Who Are Afraid? But Who Want to Go on a Similar Adventure?
If you want, you can. If you don’t do it is because you don’t want it badly enough. People overthink life, but there is nothing more powerful than the personal will. If you really want to travel, just travel, go and don’t look back.
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All pictures used in this article are provided by Ilze and Pablo.