In around 2013 my friend Gavin and I were looking at a map of the world and decided to have a go at riding round it, a trip loosely planned and discussed with a third friend Alex. Simple as that. Not really sure where to start we put the wheels in motion researching possibilities and likely routes – Chasing the Sunrise was born.
You can achieve a lot in spare time back home but nothing prepares you for a travelling lifestyle until you actually depart. I rather liked reading an article by the legendary Tom Allen, his blog on How to Cycle Around the World, in 3 easy steps. This was my philosophy. One of just get on with it and do it.
Gavin and I set a departure date some 3 years down the line. Less so for preparation, more so to coincide with Gavin finishing university and so that I could see out an employment contract that had recently started. And in that some disparity in readiness developed. Whereas I had three years to slowly save a little for the trip each month. Gavin did not. If it was to happen for Gav it relied on commercial sponsorship and financial backing.
With sporadic efforts but high hopes we, as a team, tried to make this happen. Though without any lack of effort, I was realistic about the possibility of finding funding. At the end of the day who was going to pay for two friends, unheard of on the world stage, to go on holiday for a year (or three)!
Retrospectively there may be money to be made, many folk forge a career of sorts as ‘adventurers’, though perhaps with even greater disparity than Gav and I had between the cv skills they sell themselves on and the sources of their income (coincidentally the subject of another great article by Tom Allen); but the notion of raising funds prior to departing, by two basically unheard of university friends, wasn’t likely to happen!
Due to funding issues, Gav had to drop out. Due to career focus, Alex didn’t join us. So it was just me. After three years of less-so planning, more-so dreaming, nothing was going to get in my way. The useful convenience of having had an extra three years to focus on my own career meant that I’d developed a skillset I could easily fall back on, it was only the disbelieving comments of my peers I’d had to deal with in the approach to departing. Though thankfully the majority were supportive.
March 2016 was the departure. February 29th was the plan but March 4th was achieved – it turns out that 2 days isn’t enough time to pack up your life after quitting your job and leave on a journey like this, so the extra 4 days, though stressful helped no end!
The initial plan was to ride east loosely in the direction of Australia before returning via America to the UK. But why limit yourself to just that. What started as a simple enough plan, with a short enough timescale – perhaps a year or so – soon developed into more of a dream; and to travel the length of the six main populated continents.