- Your doing what?
- Isn’t that dangerous?
- How far is that?
- How long will that take?
- How can you afford not to work for so long?
- Why Africa?
- What about your girlfriend and house?
- Are you doing it for a charity?
- What about malaria etc?
- Which route are you taking?
- Are you being sponsored?
- What will you do when you get home?
- How do you train for something like this?
- Do you have a website?
- Where will you sleep?
- Are you taking a gun for protection?
- Whats your biggest worry?
- Whats it like/ why do you travel alone?
- What does your mum think about all this?
- How far do you cycle each day?
- How will you get from Morocco to Spain?
- What do you do when you get a puncture?
I’m giving up my job, leaving my girlfriend and flying to South Africa to cycle home.
Yup I’m going to cycle from South Africa to Europe
Whats dangerous?, I often fall asleep while driving home from a nightshift, that to me seems more dangerous than going for a bike ride. But all the same the most dangerous thing in Africa isn’t the people with machete’s or AK47’s but the people driving buses or trucks.
About 25,000 km give or take 5000 depending on the route I take and how often I need to use other transport.
I expect between 15-20 months, I’m in no hurry.
By the time I leave I’ll have been planning this for almost 2 years, in that time I’ve saved as much money as possible (not enough), I’ve cut back on alot of luxuries in that time, i.e no eating out, no more expensive whiskey/gin, cut back (a little) on beer, stopped ordering bikes and bike parts, and started selling crap I have lying around collecting dust. Ooh and I dont have any kids!!
“If you have to ask the question you won’t understand the answer”……..but just for the record, its not a midlife crisis, I’m not running away from something ( I think) and I’m not looking for the meaning of life or a life changing experience, I’m just popping out for a ride!
I see Africa as one of the last frontiers in a world that is rapidly becoming smaller. Its also very dynamic, a mess and the only continent I’m still (was) scared of.
I’m sure they’ll be very happy together…….but here are Linda’s thoughts…
“Some of you want to know how I feel about Shane’s upcoming adventure. It’s my belief that every relationship creates an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being. Shane has taught me a lot in the past four years. I have come to a greater understanding and acceptance of who I am and what I want. I do not know how my life is going to be without him, but it is up to me to follow my dreams and I am looking forward to that. Shane is an inspiration for me and I thank him for that with all my love. If you love someone, set them free……”
I’m taking the very “unfashionable” step of not getting involved with a charity for this trip, I’ll rant on about my opinion on charities another time. But I’ll be supporting many people along the way by spending money (on food, water, coke and beer) in the small villages I pass through.
This is of course a worry, Especially when travelling alone and I’m not looking forward to taking anti malaria pills for so long. Other major health issues which are also going to happen several times during the trip are of course food poisoning, alchohol poisoning and dehydration. But ultimately the biggest health risk is traffic.
Generally towards the west side of Africa, though Angola maybe difficult to get a visa, Congo is a worry, by then it will be a year from the time of writing this article and NW Africa will be all different from now. Planning in Africa is fairly pointless, its constantly changing. I intend just to stay flexible and always have money for a plane ticket if it gets messy. A rough idea of my route can be found HERE
I have convinced a couple of small companies who’s products/service I believe in to make small donations, but generally I’m paying for everything myself (feel free to send me your life savings!!).
Dont know when and where home will be, thats a problem for 2013 or later.
I dont train as such, but I cycle a minimum of twice a week to my work (46km round trip) all weather, the whole year. Long distance cycling is more about mental strengh than physical strengh (lucky for me). The way I see it, if I’ve been awake for almost 20 hours for my first nightshift, then cycle 23km home with a headwind, fog, rain and freezing temperatures, then I can cycle anything.
If your reading this it probibly means you found it!!
In my tent mostly, either at a campsite, hostel garden or stealth/wild camping somewhere. Sometimes I treat myself to a hotel/guesthouse. But I often wake up in my guesthouse room thinking “the bed wasn’t much better than my tent, the view is worse and once again I’ve wasted precious beer money”. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be a guest at someones home.
No I’m depending on my charm, humor and smelly socks to keep me safe.
How to get through 5000km of muslim countries without beer, thats a thirsty part of the world to have to go without beer. That of course and the hassle of visa’s, corruption and getting through Angola/Congo. Ooh yeh and having to learn French at some point.
Travelling alone has many advantages and disavantages and isn’t a path for everyone.
- You see less, 4 eyes are better than 2.
- You have nobody to share your experiences with in the future, you only have your own memories and photo’s.
- Travelling alone is more expensive.
- Being ill is hell on earth if your alone, having nobody to care for you or get food, water and wc roll is not nice.
- I sometimes get lonely, but not often.
- After being alone for a couple of days, the first evening I talk to people again I loose my voice after 3 hours.
- I have to do everything myself, cycle, cook, washing up, setting the tent up, shopping, dealing with people and problems etc etc.
- Leaving my bike unattended when going into a shop, or going to the toilet etc. is always very exciting.
- If I do something stupid, its my fault.
- Total freedom to choose when, what, where, why and how. Without discussions (except talking to myself).
- I come into contact with people more easily. Which creates situations you’d almost never get as a couple or group.
- I dont have to talk to people, or be nice for days. Its not a problem if I haven’t had a shower for 3 days
- I can only blame myself if I do something stupid.
- The freedom to be lost in my own thoughts for days on end (I’m sure they have medicine for that though).
- Every barrier, hurdle or problem which I’ve overcome, I’ve overcome alone, this gives me an unexplainable inner strengh, sense of achievement, self confidence and knowledge that I’ll get through the next problem life has to throw at me. This is a feeling which is impossible to explain but its so nice to have….
No 6, is the reason I love to travel alone, the inner strengh I’ve created in the last years is worth more to me than anything else on earth. This may sound egoistic, but without trust in yourself how can you possible trust, love or help others.
What does your mum think about all this?
This question was easy to answer, I just asked my mum to write it……..
“I think what Shane is doing is great/mad I am excited for him but at the same time worried. I know he does all his preparation well and is mostly good on his safety. As he says he has been doing mad stuff since he was a kid so no change there, but at least he’s older and wiser now. He has always loved travelling alone and believes it gives a totally unique experience, which brings unique contact with other people. He also feels people are generally good and honest. I wish him well and thank everyone for supporting him in any way.”
How will you get from Morocco to Spain?
I’ll put my bike over my shoulder and swim across of course or just put my Jesus shoes on and walk it. This really is one of the questions I get asked most. I get the feeling that with each day there are mor morons in the world.
What do you do if you get a puncture?
Call the AA, sit back with a cold beer and wait for the nice man or my butler to turn up.