The Beginning

I'm on the road!

The first day was a whirl of frantic busyness: final checks on everything from camping stove to cycling socks, goodbyes to family, a final quick trip to Decathlon and a send-off at the Reality-Checkpoint from friends Tom and Paul, along with some lovely strangers who heard what was going on and offered to take photos. 

One of said strangers, also called Tom, told me he had been on a hitchhiking trip all the way to Greece. What a pleasant surprise to meet someone who has done something similar, right at the start point! We rode the first two km of the journey together; perhaps I won't be so lonely on the trip after all.

After that, I was pedalling at last, in motion after months of planning, with trees and grass passing by on either side. 

The weather was beautiful, my wonderful old bike running smoothly even under its heavy load, and for a little while I was able to relax. 

However, soon, there was much to think about and problem-solve as I rode. There was a long way to go before dark, a wobbly bike with everything on the back pannier, and some frustrating issues with running my website reliably that I wasn't able to fix before leaving. The website is not vital for the trip itself, but it's important to me to have it up: I want friends and family to be able to follow me as I travel, and moreover it's a crucial centerpiece of the effort to raise funds as I ride. So, some fiddling on hotel wifi still to do. (Edit: fixed!)

Despite the various worries, there was much to feel happy about. Often, I think, you realise how beautiful a place is only as you leave. I felt that way about the English countryside as I passed through. 

 First stop: a nice view of Audley End house. 

A nice view of... snacks

Preparing for the trip over the past two weeks was actually quite an exhausting process in itself, and I was concerned to find myself flagging pretty quickly after setting off. Also, with all the errands in the morning, the light went fast, and I was left isolated on dark, empty rural roads, battling up shadowy hills and watching for traffic with the constant worry that my lights might run out battery. Add to that the fact that my navigation unit's default configuration does not show how far you have left to go (!?), and it was quite scary!

But on I went. After 100km, I checked into a hotel in Brentwood at about 11pm, feeling that on this night, I really needed a decent bed. After coming in the from the dark absolutely shattered, my very affordable room felt like astonishing luxury; I did a little victory dance, took a shower, set my things for the morning, crawled into bed and slept like a log. 


Riding 5,000km across Europe alone and unsupported will be a wonderful experience, but also at times very tough, and very lonely. I really believe in the causes I have chosen; if you'd like to support me by making a donation, it will help to spur me on my way! Visit my website at


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