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Riding through Big Sur, California
One of the really rewarding aspects of my recent New York to Hong Kong cycle has been the supportive emails, messages and general feedback I've received. A recurring theme was that readers of my blog were enjoying being able to live vicariously though my travels; that is, to take pleasure in the experiences I was having from their own location hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
I felt (and still feel) incredibly lucky to be able to spend a year of my life doing what I love - riding a bicycle, playing with video cameras and travelling through exciting new places. To be able to share it online with the world was a wonderful bonus, and now I'm finished I find a similar sense of fulfillment following the travels of others.
For the time-being I'm living a relatively stationary lifestyle trying to combine post-ride activities with making a living. Inevitably though I'm still dreaming of (and planning?) future adventures. While I thoroughly implore everyone to embrace their own ambitions and do what they can to make them happen, I appreciate that something on the timescale of my cycle is not perhaps a viable or desirable option for everyone.
There are however various short-term and much closer-to-home ways to fulfill the desire for adventure that many of us can't shake. As well as exploring the beauty of our local surroundings (see my Walk to Canterbury) I find that another great help can be to share in the journeys of people undertaking challenges and expeditions through the power of the internet. I realise now just what a joy it is to live vicariously through the experiences of like-minded travellers and how much fun a well-written blog can be. We can't all be out there on the road all the time, but it's safe to say that at any given point someone will be, living that lifestyle we yearn for.
I know that soon enough I'll be again able to set off somewhere doing...something, but until then here's the people brightening my days spent at a computer -
Peter Gostelow - There's a lot of cycling trips and blogs going on out there, but 'The Big Africa Cycle' is one of my very favourite. Pete is spending 3 years riding around 30,000km through more than 25 countries, and has just entered Rwanda.
Sarah Outen - Not content with becoming the first woman to solo row the Indian Ocean, Sarah is now attempting 'London to London, via the World' - a circumnavigation using only human power. Currently on bike in Ukraine.
Pat Farmer - There's expeditions I'd love to be doing myself, and then there are ones which just blow my mind with what is being attempted. With 'Pole to Pole Run,' Pat Farmer is planning to run 2 marathons every day for a year, with no days off. Completely mental, totally absorbing.
Roz Savage - Roz is currently rowing solo across the Indian Ocean, from Fremantle to Mumbai. She's one week into the potential 5 month journey.
Graeme Willgress - Graeme is riding 4000 miles around the UK on his 'Ride to Recovery,' aiming to help people understand mental health issues and raising money for Sustrans. A good bloke and a great trip so far.
And I'd also highly recommend checking out Explorers Connect- a community for adventures and travellers providing regular news, expedition job opportunities and meet-ups around the UK.
There's obviously plenty more exciting things going on out there, these are just some of my favourites - who have I missed?