Episode 9 : How it has all started?

Urumqi (China), the 15 April 2015.

Last year, this day I was starting the most challenging journey of my life. Last year this day was a tough day, a big jump to the unknown. Since, I have cycled tirelessly toward east. I have pedalled over 14000 km, crossed 18 countries and met countless amazing people. I have been happy, surprised, cold, sad… Today is my first and only "roadday" and I can't refrain a quick look back. How this amazing journey has all started?

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Plant a seed - Paris, May 2007

I am in my third year of University. Studying economics is what I do... At least what I try to do.

In fact, I spend most of my time working  for a sport shop. Initially, It was supposed to be only 8 hours per week. It is kind of the perfect student job. Relax atmosphere, young and passionate staff, happy customers… So you can find me there 30 hours per week.

This is how I got to now Sebastien. In his late twenties, "Seb" has cycled the world for over a year with two of his friends. The outcome of what he describes as to be the journey of his life is a 10 min DVD. A short movie that I watch over and over. I love it. If only I could.

The exam period is soon, no time for dreaming. For now, I better focus on my revisions.

Live the life you want... Not the one you have - Paris, October 2011

It is 07:30 pm when I leave the office near Place de l’Opera. Today was my last day. I resigned. It has been three years already since I graduated. Time flies.

No rush tonight, I take my time. I walk to the train station. Hopefully, I have with me my friend and colleague Jean-Baptiste. We crack some jokes about the good time we shared. Eventually, I confess that I am as thrilled as petrified by what is happening next.

You always know what you have, never what you will get. This is very true for me right now. Tomorrow, I take the first train to London. I have no job waiting for me there, a new beginning. This is how I do things. I spend half of my time taking challenges I have no clue how to solve. And I spend the other half trying to sort out the situation. This way, I have no choice but to learn quick and I keep myself busy.

If I had planned it better I would have probably taken some time off. If I have saved enough money, I could have cycled the world, maybe. If… It is no time for wandering thoughts. Tomorrow, my train leaves at 06.55am and I have a first interview at 02.00pm. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.

What does not happen in years happens in a day - London, june 2013

Friday night the week is over, two friends are coming over. I have been a Londoner for a year and half. And I have felt it was my home for almost as long. London represents more than just a place where I like to leave. It has been a new step. A time when I have decided to make choices, to make my own mistakes also. In short, to leave the life I want.

As usual with Coralie and David we jump from one topic to the other for hours and hours. It is past midnight already. We have been speaking about career, life, happiness...

No transition, I introduce my old dream. I don't exactly know why I bring it back now. Anyway, it makes the same effect as you could expect from a good joke. We laugh about it. Coralie and David make a lot of fun about me on a bicycle around the world.

The idea doesn't leave them unmoved though. On my side, I have a strange feeling. My dream will come true very soon. I don’t see how yet but somehow I know it.

And there will always be many reasons not to do such a thing - London, 15 April 2014

Quit your job, leave your flat, spend your savings… This kind of trip doesn’t fit on a side of your life. It is not something you do part time. Unlike holidays there is a before and an after, the last one being different than the first one.

Excitement, enthusiasm…. those are amongst the terms people would usually think about for a first day on the road. However, the beginning is more a heart breaking experience than anything else really. I discover, lately, along the first miles the real cost of my trip: the people I will miss during this year on my bike. I realize that I have spent most of my time preparing my journey technically, but almost did nothing to prepare it psychologically. And to eventually find out that spare tubes, components and even my way are of no importance. Only people matter.

So here I am, cycling alone the first kilometres of a very long journey. A journey for which I can’t see the end from where I am, with no clue of what is going to happen, but convinced by what was once written by Henry David Thoreau, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Slowly but surely, Urumqi (China) 15 April 2015

I am lying in my tent thinking about all this, 14000 km far from home. It took me some time to figure out what was the real reason for such a trip. Personal challenge, meeting people, travelling....  All these reasons are good without being enough. I could have challenged myself in many ways without boarding for such a trip. I could have travelled and met people in many ways without leaving everything behind to cycle the world for over a year.

I came to understand my true motivation on the road. The one good reason to all this . Have you ever wonder how was a Mongolian farmer's life? An Iranian teacher? A Tajik doctor?

I want to leave different lives, will it be for a day or even for five minutes. I like the idea of being where I wasn't supposed to be, of meeting people I wasn't suppose to meet. For a time, I want to immerse myself in different cultures, way of life stories. I like to hear what people have to say.

A year on the road already. It has been so intense. It has gone so fast.

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