How did you come up with the idea?
I went travelling for a period of 6 months in 2006, which was a life changing experience. Directly after that trip I promised myself I would take at least one more big trip before turning 30. Ever since the experience of working as a volunteer in an orphanage in Thailand, I realized that it can be easy to make a difference while travelling. I thought about what I really like about travelling and decided I wanted to perform the next trip on a bicycle and raise funds for charity. With little help of Rob, Joris and Richard, I soon found myself partnered by a tandem bicycle and a cool project called 1bike2stories!
What about your job?
Instead of work, work, work and retire I think it is better to work, retire, work, retire, work and retire. If I want to make the most of an adventurous bicycle trip, why wait for the day I could easily cycle myself to death? Ghandi once said: “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed” and I agree wholeheartedly. My work has brought me many good things but it increased the need for a relaxing break at the same time. To be fully independent in this new adventure, I decided to quit my job. But don’t worry, I already got a new job. My new job is to make the most out of the 1bike2stories project
Is this project work or holiday?
It’s actually both. I recently learnt that making a difference while travelling can be a win-win situation for both me and the people I meet along the way. This can be as easy as changing the means of transport or getting involved in a volunteering project on the way. I have always liked discovering new things on the way so that is the main reason why I decided to find and set goals to sponsor for while riding the bicycle. It’s going to be hard work to cycle through the tropics and raise funds but the experiences on the road will be my perfect way to spend a holiday.
What route are you taking?
I have only set the global directions for the trip. It is my intention to start in Bangkok and cycle to another city and back to get used to the tandem bicycle as well as finding out how my initiative is received. Fact is I need to be back in Bangkok before the Marathon starts on November 17th. From Bangkok I would like to cycle eastwards to Cambodia, followed by Laos, Thailand again and Myanmar. I might also go to Vietnam but it will strongly depend on my fellow cyclists. The ability to bridge longer distances strongly depends on the willingness of people to cycle along with me on the bike (see next question).
Who will you invite on the bike?
There are different types of people who I would like to invite to cycle with me. Within the cities, towns and villages I will try to focus on local people as well as people who are involved in volunteering. For the longer stretches I do realize there won’t be much chance of attracting locals to join me on the bicycle. I will try to find travellers who are heading in the same direction and invite them to cycle along with me in return for a unique experience. See bikers to see who was on the bicycle.
What will you talk about?
It totally depends on my fellow cyclist what the stories will be about. General themes are cultural differences, dreams and and ways to improve the world we live in. Keep an eye on the blog to see what’s going on.
What if you can’t find company?
Actually this is one of the most frequently asked questions. No doubt there will be sequences where I have to cycle alone. The biggest challenge lies in finding company for the longer, intercity sequences. But I will meet lots of other travellers at the places where I choose to stay and can always publish my journey on social travelling networks such as The Couchsurfing Project. The bicycle will always move me to meet new people and give room to a new direction. Its an inspirational bike isn’t it?
Can I cycle along with you?
The answer is yes unless I say no. Please contact me to see if we can use 1bike to share 2stories.
Why travelling on a bike?
Changing your holiday into an adventure can be as simple as changing the means of transport. Why rush from one tourist spot to another if the most authentic experiences happen exactly in between? Who’s complaining about comfort when you’ve got sun on your head, wind through your hair and some well-earned Asian food at the end of a day on the road? Another big bonus: the pace of travelling by bicycle leaves plenty of opportunity to meet and interact with people on the way. Of course there are drawbacks in travelling by bicycle but they first need to survive my perseverance.
How do you transport the bicycle to Bangkok?
Good question! I will be travelling by airplane but since I’m with a bulky bicycle, I have some research to do. Every airline has its own set of rules and I’m finding out which works out the best for my situation. But I’m not alone. There were people doing this before and I have posted questions on a various forums to learn about experiences from others in the past. To be continued!
Where will you be sleeping?
I will mostly stay in budget accommodations such as guest houses. I would love to go camping but South East Asia is not the right place to do so for a few reasons. Firstly, camping is not common in this continent and camping sites are almost none existent. There are plenty of budget places to stay, even in the smaller villages. Secondly, basic facilities such as a proper bed, a shower, delicious food, electricity and wifi will be very welcome after an intense day on the road. I think it is good to stimulate the local economy while fulfilling these basic needs. And last but definitely not least, guest houses will allow me to connect with other travellers.
Why start in Thailand?
I have had the luck to be able to travel quite a lot in my life. I have been to Oceania, the United States, the Caribbean, South America and know many European capitals like the back of my hand. Within South East Asia I have been to Singapore, Vietnam and Laos but I kept finding Thailand on my way. It’s the country where adventure is hiding around every corner, where you can rediscover your taste buds and it’s the country where you I discovered that ‘being rich’ is more of a personal state of mind than a social status. If the question is to find a challenging destination that matches my interest, Thailand truly remains the answer.
What will you do besides cycling?
Other things I would love to do on this trip are to work as a volunteer, learn Thai massage, speak local languages, get involved in yoga, discover local beer but most of all: to learn more about the cultures I meet on the road.
Why is my question not here?
Oh dear, I feel sorry! Contact me and I’ll spread the word.