The World By Bike

“We will cycle around the world” sounded easier than it turned out to be. Snow, head wind, steep mountains, and noisy streets were some of the obstacles that we had to deal with. We started six days ago in Graz. Our destination is Beijing, the Chinese capital – now we are in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.

While writing this article, I am facing a picture on the wall that reads “Do More Of What Makes You Happy.” So, here we are, two crazy people on their way to China, doing something that makes us happy. (By the way, the apartment that features this picture belongs to Vlad who kindly hosted us at a special rate in the center of Zagreb. Many thanks!)

I agree with all those who claim that our way must be full of problems, and I will add that they are not just problems but challenges, yes, real opportunities for personal growth that only wait to be taken. Do you believe that you can tackle it or not? If you believe you can, how will you do it? For example, by getting off your butt and on your bike. Remember Michael Wigge? “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

On our very first day, we cycled from Graz to Spielfeld, a small town right next to the Austrian-Slovenian border. We had assumed that we could rent a cheap room for the night there, but we were wrong. Luckily, we found a bar that offered us free WiFi, and we booked a hotel some 15km across the border. It was already 5pm, it was getting dark, the temperature steadily dropped, and we were exhausted after having cycled around 53km from Graz. Nevertheless, we found the energy to continue, and although the circumstances may seem unpleasant at first, we had a good time on the road.

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Slovenia didn’t exist, at least not officially. There was no sign marking the border nor was there any other obvious demarcation. In contrast, when we left Slovenia to Croatia two days later, the Slovenian border official asked us for our IDs and added: “End of Schengen”. Apart from those formalities, we experienced something much more concrete and literally down-to-earth in Slovenia: never before had we seen such steep roads built directly and without serpentines across the hills. Oftentimes we had to get off our bikes and push them to the top from where we would have an amazing view over the countryside.

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In Croatia, we crossed our first mountain pass at an altitude of 406m on our way from Varazdin to Zagreb. I can say already that there are many more and much higher passes ahead of us, as we will ride along the mountainous Croatian coast and then cross over to even more mountainous Bosnia in a few weeks.

At times we ask ourselves why we shouldn’t just trade the bikes for a comfortable car. no wind, no rain, no noise, but a heating and surround sound. What a seducing idea. Yes, we may actually do this in the future. But for this trip we will keep pushing the pedals.

As for me, I have noticed that my thoughts change when I move. This reminds me of Ken Robinson’s statement that there are people on earth who “have to move to think.” We have cycled merely a week, and we already find that so many “problems” of our everyday lives are in a way trivial. Now, what might happen, if we move a lot every day over the course of a year? In other words, if we do something that makes life easier and more enjoyable, what will happen if we do this very thing excessively? Will we live lives full of joy and an abundance of positive feelings? I believe this is a goal worth attaining, and because of this it is definitely and at the very least worth a try.

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Go do your thing.

Jan

P.S.: Check out our route map to see where we are!

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