Ideas and Change: Longterm Bike Touring

When I first heard this idea of longterm bike-touring, I was silently fascinated. A little at first and then more and more. Silently, because I didn’t share this fascination with anybody in the beginning. I was starting to think things like: “Would that be something for me? Could I be a person who cycles for years, cycles in sunshine and in rain, through cold and warmth? Would I be willing to give up many of the comforts and nice little things of my life at the time? Could I keep travelling for such a long time and not ever meet the same people twice?

Aaaah, all these questions… But then, the idea of cycling through all these different pathways, trails, tracks, roads, lifes, worlds really stuck and kept growing: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel so slowly, to really experience everything around me? To meet people I wouldn’t usually meet, to really feel the weather, the air, the sun, the wind, the rain around me? To be outside a lot of the time, to get a lot of exercise. And of course, to see different lifestyles, hear about hopes and dreams and difficulties, be part of some, many lifes for a time.

It’s not just about the romance of seeing beautiful sunsets or letting the waves of the ocean set your mind at ease, though. Because at some point nature is going to suck and I might get wet for days on end and curse this whole idea. It’s not about the sexyness of hanging on beautiful beaches with a drink in each hand and enjoying a lifelong holiday either. Because – as much as I appreciate beautiful beaches, this is not a holiday, this is my life and that means all of it. Happiness, frustration, hopes, longings, soreness, relationships, people, ideas.

So, maybe in the end, this is about change. And I have no idea what that really means or rather will mean down the road. But the one thing I know is, that the idea of longterm bike travel still totally inspires me and this fascination just keeps on growing. In the meantime I am trying to answer some of the questions above, thinking about the route and what to pack. And getting some musical inspiration (whilst the song is not originally about travelling, but oh well…):

“(…) It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me

(…) Who’s to say where the wind will take you
Who’s to say what it is will break you
I don’t know
Which way the wind will blow (…)”

(U2 – Kite)



Work and Travel als Lebenskonzept

Seit langer Zeit bin ich mal wieder eine Nacht in einem Hostel. Als wir ankommen, laeuft der Fernseher auf vollen Touren und ein paar Leute kucken “Herr der Ringe”. In Neuseeland. Klischee? Ja, ein bisschen ;). Spaeter backen wir Brot, kochen Essen und sitzen lange in der gemuetlichen Kueche, zwischen vielen anderen Menschen. Manche nur auf der Durchreise, andere bleiben laenger hier und arbeiten ein bisschen.
Immer wieder hoere ich ein paar Gespraechsfetzen, einer davon bleibt haengen: “…am liebsten wuerde ich immer so weitermachen wie jetzt [ein bisschen arbeiten, viel Freizeit, Reisen; Anm. d. Verf.], aber in Deutschland wuerde man mich dann faul nennen. Hier heisst das Work and Travel.”

Spannend, diese Aussage! Und irgendwie begegne ich diesem Wunsch nach Ausbrechen, nach Freiheit immer wieder hier in Neuseeland. Mein Eindruck ist, dass viele mit dem Ziel hierher kommen, nach Schule oder Uni einmal im Leben frei von Verpflichtungen zu sein, einmal frei von einem Lebens- und Arbeitskonzept, das die Gesellschaft vorschreibt. Ich kann diesen Wunsch nachvollziehen und finde es doch oft widerspruechlich, dass diese Freiheit auf eine gewisse Zeit begrenzt zu sein scheint. Nach laengstens einem Jahr mit einer Mischung aus Reisen, Arbeiten und Leben wie es gerade gut tut, geht es wieder in das “richtige Leben” zurueck. Dann ist der Urlaub vorbei und die Verpflichtungen beginnen. Das ist die scheinbare Normalitaet, die ich wahrnehme und die ich in Frage stellen moechte.

Ist Work and Travel als Lebenskonzept moeglich? Was wuerde das ueberhaupt heissen? Arbeit und Reisen im Wechsel oder ineinander verwoben und verflochten? Sicherlich muesste auch ein gewisses Losloesen von gesellschaftlichen Lebens- und Arbeitskonzepten dabei sein – vielleicht muesste mensch sich viel mehr Fragen stellen wie: Von welchen Verpflichtungen und Abhaengigkeiten moechte ich mich loesen (Arbeit, Geld, Konventionen)? Aber auch: In welche Abhaengigkeiten und Beziehungen moechte ich mich begeben und Energie stecken? Welche Menschen tun mir gut und sollen ein Teil von meinem Leben sein? Mit welchen Themen moechte ich mich beschaeftigen?

Keine ausgereiften Konzepte, aber viele Fragen und Ideen, die mich da beschaeftigen…

Time difference

It’s late at night and I’m sitting in front of my computer after having spent a wonderful day with my parents who are currently here to visit. Suddenly everything is so easy again. We don’t have to call early in the morning or late at night and we don’t have to calculate the exact time difference between Germany and New Zealand. We just talk and connect. And that feels wonderful.

Somehow time difference is one of the hardest things for me to cope with while being so far away from everyone. Or maybe not time difference itself but what it stands for? I never really get used to people eating breakfast when I am already tired and want to go to bed. I am not in my chattiest mode then either. And in the mornings I usually like to start the day slowly, fully wake up, have some coffee and then eventually be ready for the world. If I however want to talk to friends or family on the other half of the world, I have to just get over my waking up process and make some calls because they are going to go to bed soon.

All in all, not that hard, sure. But it’s just hard enough so that keeping in touch is often just a wee bit unconvenient. Calling later or tomorrow sounds like a good option only that later is no good because they are in bed then and tomorrow is no different from today. It somehow makes it very clear to me that the world I live in at the moment is a long way from the one I used to live in. And that’s with internet, email and cheap international phone rates. But still, a long way.