#01: Start off the cycle world trip
Crossing the Wilhelminabrige I looked back towards the skyline of Deventer for the last time. I started living in this elegant city 3 years ago. What I liked most about the city were the narrow, cozy streets. And when you pass one of the two bridges on a clear blue-sky summer day, you easily get impressed by the beauty of the river and the surrounding landscape, guarded by the long stretch of manor houses and the predominant Lebuinus church.
On that moment I did not only leave Deventer behind. During these years I worked as a structural engineer. In my spare time I worked as a volunteer at a bar and several other places. I was trying to build up something, however, there was a greater force that didn’t allow me to do so. This power became more fiercely over time and eventually it got me. A bit less than one year from now I decided to quit my job and to quit my luxury life in order to life up to my dream: travelling the world.
Giving up a luxury life is not an easy task. Especially not when you start to realize what’s ahead and what the possibilities are in the range of money. Having a very low daily budget and not being able to sleep in moderately cheap sleeping places. rather make your way of living very uncomfortable. However, the other side of coin lets you gain the ultimate freedom, the freedom to do what, when en where you want. It gives you an excellent combination of slow and intense travelling, being able to express yourself, to gain rich life experience and the support to get some influence from your stories.
Since my decision to leave this life behind me for about 4 to 6 years, there was not a single day I couldn’t think about the whole trip. I started counting the days, but it didn’t really speed up the time. Luckily there was a bunch of things that needed to be done. First of all I made a general route. Doing more research about weather conditions and possible motivation issues made me change my route twice!
I made an article and a video from my previous trip to The Wadden Islands. With this material I was able to show companies more about my plan and capabilities, hoping to get sponsors. It appeared that there was a perfect combination between my plan and AGU’s vision: #EVERYDAYRIDING. Like their slogans says, they develop clothes and bags in order to let you cycle every day.
When it comes to bikes I’m an absolute noob. I found a bike shop on the corner of the street of my home and asked if it would be possible to work at the shop on Friday nights for the upcoming 6 months. This would allow me to learn to repair bikes and to learn about different bike options. Ard, the owner, took me in and taught me some fine and detailed techniques. Piece by piece, bit by bit I learned the basics.
It turned out that a friend (Elias) of Ard sells and makes tour bikes. I visited Elias a few times to gain some information. He offered me one of his Poppink bikes with a steel frame, Rohloff gear hub, dynamo hub, 28” wheels and Maguira hs33 hydraulic brakes. The amount of work Elias and Ard put in the bike was of great value to me.
A few weeks before the start of my trip I informed the local newspaper De Stentor about my trip. It must have been about one week later that an interview took place in my living room. It was my first experience with an interview and a photo shoot. Another week later I ended up with an entire page about my trip in the article on paper and a premium article on their website. I was happy to notice that people in my surrounding read the article and had a positive reaction. It really felt good to receive support from all kind of directions. I want to thank all people who send me their support. You are the best!
Starting to say goodbye to several people made me realize it was getting real. I don’t like to be center of attention, but knowing that people were truly interested in my plans was a very pleasant feeling. On the 17th of February 2019 the big day arrived. After leaving my house and all my possessions, I went to the main square of Deventer. Here I officially started my world cycle trip while being cheered by friends, family and former colleagues. The weather couldn’t have been a single degree better. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start this immense challenge. I looked back towards the Deventer skyline one more time and headed south afterwards.
I’ll be heading south as far as possible, all the way to South-Africa, while passing my parents place near Eindhoven. From here on I will start my first challenge by following the route to pilgrimage Santiago de Compostella.
I want to thank all people who supported me in any possible way. Without your love, advise, material support, financial support and mental support I am not able to make my dream come true.
You all mean the world to me!
Enjoy life at its fullest and never stop dreaming!