How To Cycle Around The World In 3 Easy Steps

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1. Get a bicycle.
It doesn’t really matter which one, as long as it’s comfortable, but you won’t get far without it.

2. Quit your job.
You’ll need a few years for this, so write a letter to your boss explaining that you’re sorry but there’s something you have to do. (Skip this step if you are a student/unemployed/retired.)

3. Leave.
You can’t cycle round the world without setting off. So strap a tent and sleeping bag to your bike, ask the neighbor to look after the cat, and pedal away from home.

Once you have accomplished the above three steps, the rest will work itself out.

Enjoy!

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Optional additional steps

Do research.
You could spend several months collecting information about border crossings, visas, equipment, routes, seasons, budgets and timescales. But equally you could leave now, take it day by day and figure these things out on the road, trusting that instinct and initiative (and free wi-fi) will serve you better in the long run than an encyclopedic knowledge of international bureaucracy.

Train.
You could get a gym membership and a personal trainer and join a local cycling club and spend several months building up fitness, just like real athletes do. Alternatively, you could attain an equal (or higher) level of fitness by cycling all day, every day, during your first few weeks on the road.

Spend time saving money.
You could put tens of thousands of pounds/dollars/euros in the bank to create a feeling of security. Or your could sell everything you own right now, set off at the end of your notice period, and then simply avoid buying anything. You’ll sleep rough, eat bread and jam and fruit off trees, Couchsurf, accept all invitations, and avoid sightseeing (you can do that when you retire). When you’re low on cash, simply use the skills you didn’t know you had to earn more locally.

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Get loads of fancy equipment.
You could blow a few grand on the best touring bike, the lightest tent, the reliable-est stove, the waterproof-est waterproofs, etc. But equally you could salvage a bike from a scrapyard, get a tent from a charity shop, raid TK Maxx, and make a stove out of a beer can (saving several years’ worth of bread and jam in the process).

Plan a route.
You could spend a long time poring over maps at home so you’ll know exactly where you’re going every day. Alternatively, since the beauty of the bicycle is in the freedom it affords its rider, you could simply leave on a compass bearing or a whim and see where the road takes you, since it doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you’re moving.

Start a website, Twitter account and Facebook page.
You could get up to speed on websites and blogging and social media and use all of these things to communicate your journey in real-time from the road. Or you could take this rare opportunity to reduce your online obligations to zero and experience life on Earth instead. (You can tell the story better later anyway.)

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Hustle for sponsorship.
You could spend months drafting proposals and cold-calling companies in search of sponsorship. Or you could spend the same months working overtime to buy the same stuff. Then, when you change your plans or fall in love, it won’t matter to anyone other than you.

Attach a ’cause’ to your ride.
You could decide to set a fundraising target for a charity, possibly for a genuinely personal reason but more likely because you feel you should justify taking a few years off being a responsible hard-working citizen. Or you could decide that travel needs no justification and that the long-term benefits of doing it can’t be measured (least of all financially).

Get media coverage.
You could contact local and national press with details of your epic undertaking. Or you could prefer to think that the freedom you wanted from cycle touring feels more real when nobody is watching.

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Burn all your bridges.
You could sell your house, fire your boss, divorce your husband/wife and children and leave with a gigantic middle finger attached to the back of your bike. Alternatively, you could transform your work and family life into something that can be sustained long-term, both on the road and if/when your ride comes to an end.

Aim to break a record.
You could attempt to set a new world record for cycling round the world. Or you could remember that you were never an athlete anyway, that the point of cycling was the independence and flexibility it’d give you, and that you’d rather enjoy the ride than planning it to end as quickly as possible.

Measure statistics.
You could aim to keep a daily count of your distance, altitude, average speed, air pressure, etc, in order to try and quantify your success. Or you could decide that the distance you’ve pedaled has as much relevance to success as the color of your increasingly-grubby T-shirt, and that without numbers to think about you can better concentrate on how you’re actually feeling about things right now.

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Set an end date.
You could plan to hit a series of global milestones in order to arrive back home at a premeditated point in time. Alternatively, you could realise that if you learn anything on the road it’ll likely change you; that your global milestones might one day not make sense any more, that ‘coming back’ might become an equally irrelevant idea, or that — shock horror — you might even get bored of pedaling altogether.

Actually cycle round the world.
You could actually finish what you foolishly started all those years ago, which would be a fantastic example of concept winning over experience. Or you could quit being stubborn and allow your journey could grow in unpredictable ways, resulting in your route looking less like a neat line across continents and more like Mr Messy.

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