Unique ExperienceI've been to almost 150 countries on a 15$ budget. This year I'll visit every country in Europe, climb the highest mountain and paraglide down. AMA!
Jan 24th 2018 by Meph248 • 25 Questions • 87 Points
My short bio: Hey everyone! My name is Patrick and instead of doing sensible things like attending university and getting an education, I instead decided to travel the world. That was 10 years ago and by now I've been to most countries.
The part that's most likely interesting to you is that this can be done with a really low budget and I'd be happy to help you plan your own trip.
In addition to that I love crazy outdoor experiences. I've cycled to most countries, crossed the Sahara by bike, cycled in the Siberian winter, I climb mountains, big rocks, and generally spend time in rather remote regions.
I've ridden everything from touring bikes, road bikes, MTBs, folding bikes and ebikes on tour. Aluminum, steel, titanium, carbon, even a bamboo bike.
Lets talk all things travel, cycling, gear, ultralight and general crazy ideas. :)
Since I kinda ran out of places to cycle to, I spend the last year trying out new things and I came up with this idea: I'll go on something I call the High Point Ride. I want to visit every country in Europe, climb the highest mountain and (weather and law permitting) paraglide down.
That means 47 countries and peaks, over 20000km of cycling, over 125000m in altitude on foot and who knows how many flights. :)
You can read more about it and follow the tour on:
Or read a bit more about my previous trips on worldbicyclist.com.
My Proof: Proof on Twitter
As always: I'll stay till everything is answered. :) If you want to do something similar, ride or hitchhike or backpack around the world, please let me know what I can do to help. I love getting people out on the open road.
Edit: Well, this Ama starts really well. I'll head to bed, have a look tomorrow. Can't get worse than 0 points. ;)
Which places defied common stereotypes the most?
I’m particularly interested in places of unexpected affluence, cultural/natural diversity & hostilities.
Which places would you absolutely not visit again?
I guess that depends on the stereotypes you know. For example the Middle East and Northern-African countries are full of extremely hospitable people, incredibly friendly and curious about foreigners in their lands. Especially strange ones, on bicycles.
I can't even begin to count the times I've been invited to dates (the fruit) and tea in Sudan or Djibouti or Somalia. Especially Somalia; the very first day I had a discussion about philosophy and world politics with an older gentleman, who made me try somali-coffee: Black tea with powdered coffee and lots of sugar. :)
Another stereotype that I found to be not true at all were the coldness or distance of northern people in Europe. Be it Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes...
I have a few places rather low on my list of enjoyable experiences, but that's just it: It's subjective experience. I just had bad luck. For example in Indonesia I almost drowned, I got stolen from, I got dengue fever (a tropical diseases a bit like Malaria) and the overall trip was downright miserable at times.
In Lebanon I got robbed at gunpoint, in Mozambique I got into a tangle with a crocodile, in India I got threatened and harassed...
But I'd still go back. Because for every negative experience, I had several positive ones. The visit to a Lebanese Christmas market with a local family; the three weeks I spend in a beach hut and the people I met on a remote island on the Andamans in India; the fascinating tribal rites on Sulawesi... all worth it. :)
What do you want to know?
I did ride through it early in my "career" as a cyclist, on my first big bike trip. Apart from being tough terrain with lots of passes and windy roads; often unpaved; I had quite some trouble with kids. They run up to you, ask for pens or notebooks (because that's traditionally what western tourists hand out to the kids there), and when I don't have any, they get super-aggressive. Like throwing-stones aggressive. Or they just do it for fun. Once I rode uphill on gravel, slower than you can run... with about a dozen kids pelting me with stones and laughing. For no reason.
Then, I finally got rid of them on the downhill, and on the next hill, I saw 3 other kids. Which had nothing to do with the ones from before, different area, no way that they made it there this fast. Still, they also had great fun throwing rocks at the foreigner.
Even the lonely plant makes mention of that. I vividly remember reading once "We visitied the lower Omo valley. A great trip, although we were attacked by hundreds of kids (yes, literally attacked)." That was a few years later and I could only wisely nod to myself when I read that. :/
How much money did you spend on the initial gear and how long does it last?
Can you point to anyone specifically who does this type of thing using way less money than yourself?
That was 10 years ago, so I don't really know... but it wasn't much, that's for sure. First trip was backpacking, so no bicycle involved. Only a backpack, a cheap tent/sleeping bag, foam mattress, clothing I took from home. At one point while packing I realized that I might need cutlery, so I just went into the kitchen, took a spoon, a fork and a knife and put them into the backpack too. Completely oblivious to smaller, lighter camping gear that I might have taken. Full sized, ordinary towel too. :D
Not anyone specifically no. I mostly know adventurer/outdoor-people that take expensive gear to remote areas now, not so much the cheap backpacker style travellers. Just different experiences I guess. But there are tons of blogs out there about travelling without money. Some focus on alternative lifestyle, dumpster diving, hitchhiking, couchsurfing... while others show you how to make money while travelling. Teaching English in Japan, China or Korea for example is a really good option to save money. If you are a native English speaker, it's super easy to get a position, and for example in Korea I was hosted by /u/farmerhandsome who, and I quote, was told first thing when he arrived: "If you don't save at least 1000$ a month, you are an asshole". That's how much you can easily put aside while teaching English there. He was a bike courier in Texas before that, making... far less.
He, guess I can point to someone. Hi George!
Last Questions: -Where you in it for bragging rights or the Experience? -Do you feel that traveling has made you a better person than the person you we're before you started travelling? -Do you have any regrets with spending that time you had travelling? -And lastly what would you say to a Kid who wants to travel but cant cause his parents want him to live like a normal person and work a 9 to 5 job?
Thanks for Answering my Questions, I'm planning on traveling after I graduate from College, I like your style of cycling instead of riding cars or motorcycles.I hope I can experience the stuff you went through when I travel
The experience for sure. I mean, at some point past 100 countries I realized that there was some kind of "bragging rights", but I find it a bit silly. Stuff like the travelers century club or so... thanks, but no thanks.
I'm certainly a different person, with different perspective and more self-confidence. A lot more optimistic and patient.
I'd say that the sentence is flawed. "He can't, because his parents don't want him to"... that makes no sense. If he is 18, his parents should act like grown-ups and respect the wishes and desires of their son.
If you want some more detailed ideas about planning a tour, write me a PM. :)
I'm a guy in his early twenties working full-time in the electronics industry who wishes to do something akin to what you did. Would it be worthwhile risking a stable source of income for all that travel? I mean, given the stability and comfort of a well-paying job (and of a very tightly-knit, stable family), are the places and the travel worth letting go of all the aforementioned factors?
For me, yes. For most people I met while travelling, yes. But! keep in mind that we are all young and out there and doing things, going places...
No one I met was the "former travellers 20 years later" who wished that he didn't abandon his career or education.
I mean, how to judge something that long term, unless you already experienced it.
I love what I do, but I never had a well paying job to compare lifestyles.
I'd say go for it, because worst case you'll end up back home, applying for a job again. Considering that your education and job experience stays the same, you can usually get a similar job again.