Jake 24, from Manchester England has spent the last few years traveling the world by bicycle. Having left England on 31/08/2013 it means it's been over 3 years since he last stepped foot on English soil. Most of the 35 000 km pedaled was with hometown friends, now he is riding solo in his quest to reach 44 000 km, the distance needed to say you have cycled once around the whole world. Studying Environmental geoscience and not having much money fueled the desire to travel without flying, in turn doing something meaningful for the environment and something he loves. From England to Singapore without a flight, it shows anything is possible if you try.
How did it happen that you decided to travel half across the world on your bicycle?
It wasn't actually my idea. My best friend Russell bought a bicycle and said he wanted to cycle around the world and asked if I would go as well. It was a no brainer, I was longing for something incredible to do.
How long did it take you to plan everything out?
So with it being our first big trip and still studying at university we planned it for over a year. But looking back, none of it was really that necessary, in fact most of what we did research was pointless, you learn from doing. It is possible to just spontaneously leave, you will be an expert in no time. But it was enjoyable for me to read other tourers blogs and looking at the equipment I'll need. I was really quite geeky about it.
What were the nicest places to cycle through?
Oooooo this is a tough question, we have been to so many amazing countries and had great experiences everywhere. If I were to judge it solely on the scenery and aesthetics then I would have to say Kyrgyzstan, purely because I love mountains and in Kyrgyzstan that's all there is. But after you have traveled a bit you realize that it doesn't necessarily matter how nice a country is, it's the people you meet along the way which can make or break a place. For that reason, Uzbekistan, Greece, Australia and China stands out in my mind. The hospitality we received was incredible and makes you understand the world is full of good people
What was the biggest problem you encountered?
Our biggest problem was not having any money in Uzbekistan, there is literally 1 atm machine in the whole country and we were thousands of Kilometres from it. But like everything in life, it's only a problem if you make it one. It ended up being the best thing which could have happened to us, every night locals gave us a place to stay, a meal to fill our bellies and memories to last a life time.
Is it possible to do such a trip on budget?
Yes, I spent £3000 pounds in 2 years. That's £150 per month. You don't need a lot of money, just the desire to do it.
Was it hard to make some money along the way?
No not really, at first all the work we did was just for free accommodation and food. It's very easy to find such work. There are many websites out there which cater for this, "woofing", "work away" to name a few. You can find any sort of program you want. I have worked as a nanny in Malaysia, farmer on an olive farm and maintenance guy on a horse ranch. It's also just as easy to find paid work overseas, especially if you speak good English. In South East Asia, China and many other countries they are crying out for English teachers, that's what I am doing right now. Teaching English in Hanoi Vietnam and it's an awesome lifestyle. The only other paid positions I've had were in Australia, this is by far the best place for any traveler to save some money. I worked planting trees and as a cook in a kitchen. These jobs have enabled me to leave Australia with enough money to travel for at least a few more years.
Could you share some funny or cultural experience?
I hate questions like this, it seems like bragging. When you travel by bicycle something incredible seems to happen every single day. The only way to understand this is to try it for yourself and immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can.
Is there anything you would do differently if you set on this journey again?
Nothing at all. It is what it is, I cannot change anything now so there is no point even considering this thought. Everything which happened has made me the person I am today, I don't regret any of it.
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