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This is the latest guest post by friend and adventure cyclist Kieron Ramsay. Last year he quit his job and got on a bicycle, setting off on a life-changing journey that would see him camping his way across Europe and eventually ending up in the south of Portugal. In this post he talks about adapting to his new life on the road….

scoff bike trip

Living With Eyes Open

We often set goals in our lives, that once we achieve them, it feels like a simple case of ticking the box to say that we have done it and then we move on. However, when I came to reach the end of my planning and saving goals for travelling, I was surprised to find myself in an ambivalent world of contradictory thoughts. It was leaving day excitement versus leaving day doubts. On one hand I had the enthusiasm of a dog whose master has just allowed him to eat his dinner after making it wait obediently. On the other, I was a cautious mother that wanted to make sure I had enough of everything, double and triple checking I had all my bits. Was I ready? Only one way to be sure I guess.

Once I got going, with my home falling further and further behind me, it took some time for my new lifestyle to sink in. I was officially on the road and simply willing the experiences to happen to me. I had given up the almost unavoidable world of working and the social politics (A.K.A bullshit) that can come with it, and was chasing a new kind of experience that I could cherish for the rest of my days.

selfie bike trip

It didn’t take long for me to taste what I desired so bad. I was beginning to feel the freedoms of travelling, and with it came euphoria. The only way I can describe it is, it feels like there is a seed in your belly, that has began germinating and turning into something beautiful, something bigger, something special. You don’t want it to stop, so you push on as your soul begins to broaden its smile and sings and asks for more. It feels infectious, and I’d happily admit that it brought me to tears.

Once I had acclimated to living this way and begun cycling in excess of 100 miles a day, I was quickly traversing the lands of Europe. I felt like each and everyday was a gift just for me to make the most of. I was gaining first hand experience of one of the biggest lessons a person can learn; living in the moment. However, Carpe diem’ing the fuck out of your life is a lot easier when everything around you smells like roses. Just as much as life can, travelling has a darker side to it too. Not all your plans will pan out the way you could have predicted and occasionally, life throws a spanner at your sensitive parts. On these occasions you will come up against something that you would rather do without. It could even seem that you may have to abandon travelling. But if you are strong-minded and have the character to see yourself through, you will be rewarded in another way – you will have a true glance at what you are really made of, and I bet you will like what you see. There are benefits to be gained from bad experiences, you just need to see where the value is.

As human beings, we are naturally adaptive creatures. We can survive in a massive variety of ways, and the spectrum of what constitutes a ‘normal’ day in someone’s life is just as vast. Even whilst in full travelling mode, the human psyche is wired so that we feel all important about ourselves, and our ego will eventually start asking for more and even get bored of seeing wonder. With this in mind, during my 1st travelling experience, the benefits of meditation really struck a chord with me. It helped my mind to achieve a state of peace that I hadn’t come across before, and it also gave me that all important dose of perspective. This was great timing as it aided my mind in finding peace, thus helping me make the most of my time on the road.

The key is keeping yourself motivated and maintaining high spirits. There are a number of ways that could potentially help you in this regard; music, podcasts, and the occasional phone call to a friend all worked wonders for me. Another big aspect of exercising my mind on the move was that I was keeping a daily journal. It was a combination of a diary, that I could read back through after some of the tougher days, and a place to write down and clarify any thoughts or ideas that I could develop or come back to. I recommend finding whatever works best for you.

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This is from a series of guest posts  Kieron will be sharing with us based around his trip. Check back next week for the next part. Until then, you can read more from Kieron on his blog as he plans his next cycle trip, an epic coast-to-coast across the USA.

san jose del pacifico sunset mexico

One year ago today I arrived in Rio De Janeiro to begin my exploration of the Americas. One year on and I’m still travelling, writing this as I sit sipping my morning coffee from the Caribbean Island of Caye Caulker in Belize, considering how lucky I am.

rio de janeiro view ipanema beach

First stop: Rio one year ago

They say that as you get older each year passes more quickly than the last. Well, thats just not been true for me; looking back over the last year I can hardly believe how much I’ve seen and experienced in just 365 days. I’ve partied ridiculously at Carnaval, hitchiked to Patagonia, trekked the Amazon rainforest, been to the Mexican desert in search of Peyote… I could go on. Let’s just say it’s been an epic and life-affirming year that’s been full of incredible experiences. It has opened my eyes to so much, and not only the sights I’ve been seeing and the cultures I’ve been exploring, but also in ways of living and the choices we have in life. One revelation I want to share with the world: being stuck in an unfulfilling job with a few weeks vacation each year IS NOT THE ONLY WAY. You have a choice. If you’ve ever dreamt of doing something similar – long term travel or an extended adventure- I’m here to tell you it’s more than possible. And not only is it possible, it’s awesome.

san jose del pacifico sunset mexico

San Jose Del Pacifico, Mexico -where I spent New Years and one of my all time favourite stops

One Life-Affirming Year

Over the last year I’ve had moments where I’ve felt so content and fulfilled that I’ve looked back over my entire life and felt totally content with every decision that I’ve ever made, because they led me to where I am – and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. It’s felt like everything I’ve been through, including every struggle and low, has been worth it. And for that, I have no regrets.

Now I want to ask you, how many times in the last year have you thought to yourself:

‘Life is truly amazing. The world is incredible and full of beauty. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be doing’

It’s a pretty awesome feeling. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve thought this. I want to share with you that this feeling doesn’t have to be rare and elusive. It comes as a frequent and welcome visitor when you’re living a life that you want to live.

Now I won’t pretend that I haven’t had my low points- I certainly have – but when they come I’ve been able to console myself with the fact that I’m living a life true to myself and accept the hard times as a part of that. When I’m missing my bros back home or just going through a rough patch, I can see that its just a part of how I’m choosing to live my life – I can own it and have no resentments. And when the storm passes, as it always does, I can again easily realise how incredibly lucky I am.

bolivia national park uyuni tour

Another of countless beautiful places I’ve visited – Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia.

Your Life Is Passing You By

Worth reminding yourself of this, regularly. Time is ticking. I’m sure you have dreams. I’m sure you have things you want to experience. I’m sure there are adventures you’d like to embark upon. If you’re not in some way working towards those dreams, start today! Do not let your dreams gather dust or they’ll be lost in the attic of unfulfilled desires forever. Those things you want to do aren’t going to come and find you, you must take ownership of your life and think about how you can make them a reality. In the last year I’ve lived and fulfilled two dreams of my own; to explore Latin America and to learn a second language.  If you’ve dreamt of travel and exploring the world then I have some good news for you – this is becoming easier and easier.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
– Hunter S Thompson

When you come to the end and look back on your life, do you want to have regrets about a life dictated by fear? Or do you want to be able to say ‘Damn, what a trip!’.

I think we both have the same answer.

If you are now feeling excitement or inspiration, then awesome, that’s what I was aiming for. Now, stop waiting, start planning!

If you want to know more about how I’ve been travelling for so long check out My Ultimate Guide To Budget Long-Term Travel. I’ll be writing more about travel soon – including how to stay sane during what can be at times an exhausting, lonely or overwhelming experience.

I’m off for a swim in the sea, have a great day!