It's been a while since I wrote of my progress in planning the next cycling trip around the world, and I thought I would post a brief update. In a way, I suppose it also acts as a six monthly review, the last one of which I did around the new year – A Quick re-cycle of 2013. So, what have I been up to, and how have I been getting on?
Planning my Cycling Trip Around the World – Update
Most of my planning for the trip, has taken the form of either saving money, or acquiring new items of gear, something which is hard to do at the same time! During the six months since Christmas, I have purchased all the major items such as panniers, a tent, and cooking stove to name a few. I used most of this new kit on a test run, when I spent a week cycling the Fens. I'm happy to say, that not only did the kit perform brilliantly, but I also re-kindled my enthusiasm for bicycle touring. In fact, I could quite easily have just carried on cycling and never returned from that trip! I do still need a few items of gear. A good quality water filter is one of them, but as I don't need it immediately, I will buy it closer to the time.
The money saving front is going well, despite spending out on new gear. Not only am I still contributing to a Sharesave scheme where I work, but I am putting a little extra away on top. Additionally, I have also gradually paid of my credit card over the last six months, to the point that I made my final payment today. (For those that don't know, I used a credit card with a long interest free period to buy my new expedition bicycle last year.) To finally be debt free is a great feeling, and of course, it will enable me to save some more money for the cycling trip around the world.
One of the most positive aspects of all this though, is that it hasn't affected my social life up until this point. During this last six months, I've been fortunate enough to enjoy plenty of weekends away in Birmingham and Manchester, had some fun nights out, and visited major sporting events. I even managed to get away for a long (very messy) weekend with a group of friends to Spain. All in all, it's been a great year so far!
What does the future hold? – Although I haven't settled on an exact date, leaving on the First of May in 2015 seems to make the most sense for my next cycling trip around the world. Admittedly it is still some way off in the future, but its getting closer and closer. Between now and then, I am loathe to sacrifice my social life, although I have made one rather big concession – I have given up drinking. For anyone that knows me, this is quite a significant move, and in all honesty, one that I am unsure I can maintain! What I do know though, is that its saving me a heap of money, and that is money that I will far prefer to spend on a cycling trip around the world. I've been on the wagon two weeks now, and can honestly say that I am not missing it. Will this not drinking thing survive the “curry test” when I go out for a meal this weekend? Hope so!
I am also due to go to Athens in October for the TBEX travel bloggers conference. I went to the one in Dublin last year, and took a lot away from it. In fact, I have spent a great deal of time applying what I learned to this blog since then, gradually building it up in a more professional manner. I hope to learn a lot more in Athens, as well as increasing my contact base, with the aim that I may be able to make some money online from the blog as I travel. This is a work in progress with no guarantees, but you don't get if you don't try.
One thing that I have kept away from for this first six months of the year, is freelance writing. This was due to the increased workload at my day job, as well as a wish to take a step back from it for a while. In August, I will begin on the freelance writing front once more though, with the aim of getting regular work that I may be able to do when I leave on my cycling trip around the world.
Perhaps more importantly, I need to start thinking what sort of routes I want to take, and places I want to see! I have the first “phase” so to speak through Europe outlined, but after that it's still a bit up in the air. Unrest in various parts of the world is also making me reconsider some travel plans, as its almost impossible to predict what will happen in the middle east area with Syria/Iraq/Iran at the moment. There's going to be quite a few nights ahead spent looking at maps I think!
So, that's about all for now. Future up coming posts will include gear reviews, bicycle touring tips, and the planned trip to Athens. I am also writing some articles on bicycle touring philosophy which I hope to finish over the next few months. On top of that I am writing an e-book on bicycle touring, developing a newsletter, working on more videos and a tonne of other projects. Intetesting times ahead!