One week ago I came back from one of the most amazing experiences in my lifetime. A crazy trip that was both exhausting as satisfying. A journey that challenged me mentally and physically every single day. Words might actually not be able to fully describe the feelings, the sights, the roads and the experiences along the way but I will give it a cheeky try.
After returning back to the Netherlands I was a bit down. I won’t go into details about my personal life but let’s just say stuff happened.
So, I did what I knew and what always helped me get my thoughts back together, travel. However, just a short city trip wouldn’t cut it and I didn’t have the time and resources to go away for a couple of months again. I needed a trip that would challenge me in multiple ways, that gave me time to think and reestablish the confidence that I could actually take on the world and do whatever I set my mind to. The mindset that I usually have when I return from long trips.
Let’s go back a few months to a small city in Belgium, Ghent. I took my mom there for mothers day because she deserved some time off. Little did I know that a plan would start in this amazing city which would result in one of the most awesome trips I’ve ever done. I found out that my mom once cycled from the Netherlands all the way to Spain. Apparently, this used to be quite a normal thing to do for Dutchies. She kind off accused me and my whole generation of being lazy (she’s right). And that this generation that grew up with computers, social media and robots never do crazy stuff like biking to Spain anymore. I told her she was right, but that I could probably do it with relative ease (Maybe I didn’t know where Spain was, I never cycled more than 10km so not sure what I was thinking). She laughed, I panicked and ended up promising her that I would, one day, take a bicycle all the way to the Spanish border.
I believe that promises should always be kept, so this was a problem. However, there was no time limit and I had the rest of my life to think it through. Maybe when I retire?
Months passed but then, like I said, stuff happened. And, someone heard about the promise and decided to lend me an old touring bicycle. These two factors brought back the idea of going on this insane trip. I managed to clear my agenda for some time and started collecting gear to take with me. I needed a tent, bicycle bags, cooking equipment, lightweight sleeping bag and so on. I will add the list later. And within a week I had everything I needed to go.
Holy shit, it was actually happening.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually thought that I could do it but I had never done something like this before. I did a little test run of 20kms to try out the bicycle that I got 2 days before I set off. Everything seemed fine, some small nuisances, sore back, sore hands and stuff but nothing major. Until the next morning… My whole body was sore. I didn’t tell anyone because I knew they will laugh and say that I wouldn’t be able to do it (I would’ve agreed to be honest). This was not going to be easy…
The 2 days after – still a bit sore from the 20kms – I left for the first stop on the Belgium border, 120kms away.
As you can probably see, I didn’t get much sleep and I was quite nervous for what was coming.
Read HERE about the first part of the trip.