Tag Archives: Homepage

Peddling To Christmas

(FYI: The pictures and the story I wrote does not match with each other. The pictures are only there to enjoy)

This was the only Christmas tree I had during the holidays. There was no tree at the ending destination.

 The holidays are my favorite time of year. Families get together and people just seem to care more about each other. It was a great excuse for me to do nice things to people with no sense of weirdness. This year was different with me in a different world and culture. Landing in Malaysia in the first part of December, I knew this was going to be a challenge for me. The worst part was that I was just dealing with some mental issues in Brisbane before jumping on the jet to Asia. But it was a fresh start in Asia where I could hit the reset button and embrace the adventure I was on that was shadowed by my own mind. 

The street markets were down almost every ally in KL
My bicycle could be so much worse!!
This will be the 2nd tallest building in the world once it’s completed.

  Within the first week of being in Malaysia at the hostel, I made great friends. After hanging together with these guys, we made a pack that we would celebrate the holidays together on an island at the very north of the country named Langkawi and I would ride the bike there. They had doubts that I would make it in time, but it was worth a shot. 

The street art in KL was some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Words we really need at this point in history!! Although I took this in December of 2019!

  The first day on the road was one of the wettest I’ve experienced at that point. I was drenched by the end of the first day and had to make my room into giant dryer. Which didn’t really make a difference as I just threw the damp clothes on the next morning and went back into the wet weather. The afternoon came and brought with it the sun. That was actually the last time I got caught in the rain while riding for the next few days and only had to deal with the heat. 

Best entrance to a big cave!
STUPID MONKEYS! I hate monkeys, if you didn’t know.
Very crowded on this day which was common here.
I loved how colorful everything it was there.
Fun fact: I went to this cave twice. I wanted to see it at sunrise when there was no people around.

  The last day on the road started early as I had 55 miles ahead of me before jumping on a train and a ferry to my final destination in Penang. I felt really good that morning and the weather was good all the way to the last 2 miles. A dark cloud eclipse the sun out of nowhere as I stopped to look at the map. I noticed it the train station was close enough to possibly beat the rain that was coming my direction, but I was so wrong. While stopped, I put on my rain jacket just in case and I’m happy I did because big drops slowly fell out of the sky. All of the sudden, what looked to be fog, rushed towards me that turned out the be a wall of water which flooded the road almost immediately. I was now in a river that once was the street and every peddle I took was now splashing in the water. I stopped for a moment cause I couldn’t see out of my glasses anymore and thought maybe I could wait for it to die down. The rain only increased in volume as I sat there so I just rode. The train wasn’t going to wait for me and I was so close. 

Just an Iconic sight to see
One of my favorite things about being in a muslim country!

   I finally made it to the train station, completely soaked to the bone. A worker there looked after the bike as I quickly changed into clothes that somehow kept dry during the rain. Actually everything in my bike stayed dry and everything that was wet was quickly dry before the train even arrived. 

Christmas sunset….
… with friends!!

   After that, it was a smooth ride to the hostel where I finally met up with my friends which was very surprised that I made it. We stayed in Penang for a couple days before jumping on another boat to Langkawi island, where we celebrated Christmas and New Years together before going our separate ways. The holidays were very different and not as enjoyable as being with family back home. For what it was, I’m happy I was surrounded by great people that actually cared about me and we all made the best out of all of it. 

Night markets are worth the mess!
Fun Fact: This was the first time I tried durian, which is the worlds most disgusting fruit and I enjoyed it and for some odd reason, can’t smell it.

20 Years in The Making…

Noted!

  I dreamed of going to Australia since I was 11 years old. I managed 31 other countries before finally setting off to my dream destination. I would’ve never thought that I would be cycling through the country that I imagined in my head for 20 years, but I did. After Tasmania, I got the worst flu of my life putting me out for at least two weeks in Melbourne. Once I was healed I was on the road heading east with the final destination being in Brisbane, which is not what anyone would say is a short distance. 

The long road ahead.
Sometimes the road gave me challenges. This was from a bad wind storm the night before.
A Land Rover Defender truck guarded by a bull.

  Going through the small towns of Australia was a bit of a joy while meeting interesting and cool people couch surfing and staying in pub accommodations. That was a bit short-lived after stopping off in a small town called Lakes Entrance to rest for a couple weeks and get my bearings in my mind straight. I had the opportunity of staying in a somewhat abandon hostile for as long as I need it for no charge by a fellow cyclist that also owned property, but after and unfortunate accident well cooking, giving myself second and third-degree burns on my hand I was forced to stay there for a little longer than planned. That was not at all a bad thing thinking back at the situation. I managed to meet and hang out with some of the best people in the world and hear their stories of how they got to the small town by the water. They all pitched in to help me out while I was healing my hand. There is three owners of the pub in the town which were all very different, but all had a very laid-back attitude about everything. One of them was named Kev and insisted on taking me on late night 4×4 trips in the bush looking for deer and other animals around the area and even let me drive majority of the time. The locals that enjoyed a beverage from time to time there were also very kind and caring. I managed to make a lot of lifelong friends while my hand went back to normal.

Fun fact: I crossed every border in Australia by vehicle… unintentionally.
Camped on a beautiful empty beach and never even saw a single person the whole time.

  After about a month I finally set off once again, now heading north towards Sidney. It took me a bit and a quick bus ride through some very sketchy parts of the highway. I finally made it to the southern part of Sidney called Cronulla. That’s why I stayed in the messiest, yet friendliest hostile I have ever stepped foot in. One of the employees there even took me out to dinner and a Shisha bar with her girlfriend. The day came where I jumped on the tram i’m headed off to downtown Sidney where I lived out my dream of seeing the opera house in person. I managed to stay in Sydney for as long as I could afford before heading north to Newcastle and unfortunately peddling myself into the brushfires. 

Lunch break view.
Waited 20 years for this!!
The view from the hostel rooftop balcony in Sydney.
I couldn’t stop losing myself in this view every night I was there.

  I stopped in a town called Port Macquarie where I went into a bike shop to fix a broken spoke. The mechanic wouldn’t let me leave and insisted that I would stay with him and his family because he had a fear if I continued on, I would get caught right in the middle of the red zone. I stayed with them for the night and in the morning it seemed that everything settled enough so I could head on my way. I didn’t get far before the fires were becoming an issue again. A kid that was working at the campsite I stayed at managed to get me a ride to the train station and I took that as far north as I could go. I ended up in a famous town called Byron Bay. 

Trying to get through the smoke without breathing it in, which was a failed attempt being that I got a sore throat and a bloody nose.
This is not a filter! It basically turned into the apocalypse!
Beautiful sunset in a tragic time.

  Unfortunately Byron Bay was not somewhere I enjoyed and I left soon after arriving towards my final destination in Brisbane. I stayed in Brisbane for two weeks and even manage to take a bus to a town called Noosa which was a fairly nice beach town north of where I was staying. In that time I managed to get the bike in a box and ready for my next destination to Southeast Asia. 

The morning sun was barely visible in the smoke.
One of the many caravan parks I stumbled into on this trip.

  Australia was everything I could’ve imagined and more, but I did manage to go through some highs and lows which is typical on a trip like this. There’s a lot to learn about the people I met on this portion of the journey. Australians are naturally laid back and nothing really seems to bother them including the ones that lost their homes in the brushfires. Once at a campsite I talked with a family that got news that they just lost their home that morning from the fires but it didn’t seem to faze them at all, telling me that it’s all material stuff and everything except our lives can be replaced. 

My view for about 60% of the trip.

  It took me a little over five months to finish this portion of my trip and I was really looking forward to going somewhere different being that Australia is so much like home but with a different accent. 

Still can’t believe I checked this off my bucket list! By the way, this was #1!!
I could of stayed there forever, but the world awaits…

The Uphill Battle

A trip shouldn’t start in the worst way possible, but sometimes you get dealt a bad hand. I spent 25 hours worried that the bike that I turned in at the oversized baggage in the airport would be lost or damaged on the flight over. I had hope when I got the box with the bike in it with no damage on it, but while assembling it at the Melbourne airport, my fears came true. With a calm head and a great bike shop helping me, it was fixed and ready for it’s first leg of this year long journey around the world.


Tasmania was an 8 hour boat ride in the dead of night welcoming me to a cold morning to ride into. The first day took me nowhere because of a few hangups with the setup of the bike. I managed to meet a fellow traveller in a camper that was named Kiran. She was a nomad much like me. She give up her job most of her belongings and set out to go and explore. With that in common we got along surprisingly well, which was an on going trend around the island.

There were three factors that I came across on this trip. One which was the hills. The thing about Tasmania is there’s nothing that is flat and with over 100 pounds on the bicycle and stock gears that aren’t meant for that weight, it became apparent real quick that I was going to have to suffer until I fix the problem. Those hills took a toll on my mental ability as well as my physical ability. After some close calls with big rigs through the hairpin turns and also having some four-year-old hissy fits, throwing the bike down and walking away from it as if I could do it on my own. Another factor was weather. I knew going in that it was the dead of winter in the southern hemisphere, but I wasn’t expecting it to be The worst winter in the last 10 years, as the locals would continuously tell me. I came across High winds, buckets of rain and even the occasional snowfall while trying to tent every night.

The last factor was the people. The ones that lived in Tasmania was probably the nicest people that I’ve ever met. Everybody from the people that would simply pull off after passing me on the road to ask me if I needed anything and if I was alright, to people like a beautiful 19-year-old girl that worked at a small coffee shop in a very small town. She gave up her half day off to take a road trip all the way to my next destination so I wouldn’t have to deal with the hills. When I asked why she would’ve done that she just simply said, “I hope one day somebody would do this for me when I’m traveling.” The generosity was endless on this island and even though I was having a miserable experience at times it definitely evened up the experience.

She dropped me off in another small town named Derby. At one time this was a drive through town with not much in it, now it is a mountain bike haven with miles of prime enduro trails and it even hosts the Enduro World Series. A perfect place to fix my gearing problem on my bike and chill out for a bit, but Evolution Biking had different plans for me. They did a special order on the new parts for the bike getting it there overnight and would have it installed within the next couple days. Knowing that I was going to be in town for a bit they just gave me an enduro bike to explore the hills around Derby for basically nothing, telling me that I have to see the trails while I’m all the way over here. So I spent hours out there getting dirty and having a blast making it one of the best days in Tassie. In return for the bike, I spent the next day washing all of their rental bikes and helping around the shop.

After the gears got installed on the bike and did some trial runs I packed the bike back up and headed off. my goal was to make it to a hotel in the town of Weldborough. This ride was dangerous because of the windy narrow roads that meanly uphill, but with the gear change, it was doable. I made it to the hotel and started looking for a guy named “Jon” which owned the place. I came across this place a couple nights before when a group of lovely people I met on the trails in Derby invited me to dinner. Jon heard what I was doing in Australia and wanted me to stay in their camping area in the back when I passed by. I found myself stay in the hotel for free instead for a couple nights and helping out around there and made friends with the staff. I knew that the last of the big hills were just up ahead and I didn’t want to tackle it with bad weather, so when the clouds parted one morning I jumped all over it. It was a struggle to the top and once there, the clouds caught up bringing the wind and rain. I sat at the top for a few minutes before heading down for a wonderful 10 miles all the way to the coast.

The east coast of Tasmania was simple beautiful with the Bay of Fire, the Chain of Lagoons and a town called Bicheno. Bicheno was a great place to see the ocean animals and taste the fresh seafood. Unfortunately I got a cold while there causing me to sit at a motel resting for a couple days. Once I started feeling better, I was on the bike again for the last couple legs of the trip in Tassie. Wind was a big factor on this day more then I wanted. The side winds were upwards of 60mph which was manageable until a semi truck flew by so close that it ripped me off the bike as if someone picked me up by the waist and threw me up. I landed in the middle of road and bike somehow stayed on the side of the road with no damage or so I thought. I tore up my knee and was bruised up a bit, but I got going again and dealt with the pain. A couple days later, I made it to Trabunna where I was going to just catch a bus to Hobart from there. That ended up going a completely different way as I found new friend with a van and drove that for rest of the trip which is a story all on its own.

The trip to Tasmania took a month almost exactly and the experiences I had were timeless because those hills that I complained so much about created breathtaking views around the whole island. The weather that I also complained about made crisp beautiful sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. As for the people, I couldn’t ask for more out of any of them.

My morocco experience

After Egypt, I headed east on a few hour flight to Morocco. I was excited about this portion of the trip because on my planning for my European trip I added Morocco on the list of places to see, but unfortunately never got the chance to go. Now two years later I was finally on the plane heading that direction. I had no idea what was in store for me once I was there.

As I stepped off the plane, I quickly realized that it was dumping rain which is rare in this part of the world. I stayed at the airport for a little bit waiting for it to die down. Once it cleared up, I found a bus that would take me nearest to my hostel and off I went. The bus took me in the middle of Marrakesh and As I was walking to my hostel, a man came over and grabbed my arm. Thinking that he was trying to take my bag, I quickly through him on the ground and put my knee into his chest. I was quickly picked up by a 7 foot tall black man and he frantically told me that the man was just trying to get me to go to his restaurant. As this played out, a crowd of people surrounded me and that friendly tall man got me out of the crowd and asked me where I was trying to go. I pointed him in the direction and he walked with me a bit until I got to the hostel. That experience made me stay at the hostel a lot more than usual. I asked the workers there what I should do While in Morocco and they suggested a two day tour through the Sahara and they also told me if I waited two days I could make it to the night with no moon where I could see as many stars as possible in the desert, so I told them to signed me up. I spent the next two days making friends at the hostel and taking little trips not far from the area with the new friends that I met there.

The day came for the tour which left in the morning so I had my bag packed and I sat at the front door waiting for them to let me know where I should go. Unfortunately the worker told me that they took me off the list even though I was one of the first people to sign up, they over booked the tour and took the last three people off the list, which was an alphabetical order. I was beyond angry and had no idea what to do at that point. Couple of my new friends heard of what happened and talked me into getting a taxi out of town and go to a beach town named Essaouira.

It took a couple hours to get there, but once I was there I immediately felt a lot better. We booked a hostel on the way. Only two of us were staying out of the four. The other two travelers were going back because they had to fly out a day or two later. The guy that was staying here with me realized that he left his passport at the other hostel and left with the other two, leaving me there alone. That night I started to talk with the other people around the hostel and some of us made plans to do a mountain bike trip through the area south of there. The next day came around and we all got the bikes and started off down the road and that’s when my bike decided to break. With me at the back, none of them realized that I was broke down and kept riding. I managed to fix it enough, but at that point they were long gone. I turned around and rode back to hopefully get another bike and catch up later which never happened because once I got the other bike I could never figure out where they went.

I turned the bike in and walked back to the hostel I told the people working there what happened and they laughed and told me that they would give me a deal for surfing lessons the next day because of the inconvenience. I have never surfed before and thought that it would be fun, so once again I signed up and sure enough, The next day rolled around I got my surfboard and my wet suit on and sat at the beach for about an hour until a young kid ran up asking if I was Jon. Apparently the guy that was going to teach me decided to sleep in and canceled all of his appointments for that day.

There’s a point where I get so angry that I’m not even comfortable about being around other people and I was definitely at that point. I got back to the hostel and told the people that left me out in the desert while mountain biking what happened. By chance, they were going to another beach down the way on a bus and asked me to join. I gave it some thought but I figured it was my last day, I should do at least something. It took us an hour and a half but we got this little beach hat and we got to enjoy the sand for a bit. I asked the guy working at the restaurant when the bus was going to return to take us back to the main town and he told me 5:30. Well, I had a bus taking me back to Marrakesh at 5:25 and That’s when my survival instincts kicked in and I started asking around the parking lot if anybody was going that direction. There is no way I was missing that bus because I had a flight to Germany that very next day. I managed to find A group of guys that we’re heading in that direction that were welcome enough to let me tag along. Now back at the hostel, packed my bag and rushed to bus which I got within minutes of it leaving.

Back in Marrakech , I found a hostel and set up a taxi for the next morning to take me to the airport. I started talking with a couple girls that were there about their trip and how they were from Germany. I was telling them that I was going to celebrate my birthday in Germany which was coming up, that’s when I realize what date it was and I didn’t have a flight the next morning, I was a day early. I quickly canceled the taxi that I reserved and spent my last day in Marrakesh as positive as possible.

Sometimes while traveling things aren’t going to go as planned in this unfortunate event everything I planned didn’t go the way I thought it was. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and remind yourself that no matter where you are when the plans become sour, at least you’re not working a 9-to-5 at a town that you can never leave and reaching for goals that you’ll never achieve. Morocco is a beautiful place and I don’t think that it had anything to do with my unfortunate round of events. I will definitely be going back to Morocco someday to give her another chance.

Troubles in Egypt

I made a crucial mistake while going to Egypt, I somehow mixed up the two cards I brought with me on this trip. One card was my primary card and the other was shut off and only turned on for emergencies. Getting to the airport, I knew I had to buy the visa so I opened my wallet and realized my mistake. Now I had to find a way to get my checked bag without going through customs. Should be easy, right? Well, I had to friend a security guard the spoke English and explained the situation. He was more than welcome to take my ticket to my checked bag, told me to wait on a bench and walked off. After a minute or two I started to feel uneasy. I put my trust in a random man in the hopes that he’ll return with my bag with everything in it.

  10 minutes went by and sure enough he returned with my bag on the a cart. He asked me if I needed help getting the visa, which confuses me a bit because I’ve dealt with visa in a few other countries and never had a problem. So I declined his offer, got some money out of an ATM and searched around for the visa window, but there was none to be found. I asked a guy at a bank in the airport and he replied that it was there. Now l’m really confused and also realizing that it was getting later and I had no way of getting ahold of the Couchsurfing host that was picking me up from the airport with the fact I couldn’t connect to the WiFi there. With both of these problems in my mind, that friendly security guard came up and started to speaking in Arabic to the man at the bank and told me that they only except American money for the visa. He went back and forth with that man at the bank and finally talked him into letting me pay with their currency instead. I asked the security guard why he was helping me and he replied that he thought I was a good person and he wanted to help. 

  After going through customs with a little bit of an issue, I was out front of the airport and got some taxi drivers offering me rides to my destination, but I told them that I had a ride that I was looking for. One of the friendly taxi drivers offered his phone so I could get ahold of my host. Luckily he was still waiting for me. 

   I stayed with him for a couple days, unfortunately he lived to far away from the city so I ended moving to a hostel for the remainder of my trip in Egypt. I also accidentally brushed my teeth with the water there and got suck for the majority of the time, but I did get enough good days to ride a camel through the Pyramids of Giza before heading to my next destination.

Poland

   After I got on the train heading to Poland, I knew I had 8 and a half hour ride in front of me, so it was a great opportunity to catch up on the blog and in my journal being that it was getting really hard to find time to do any of that with all the walking around and exploring. After a little while though, I found myself looking out the window and before I knew it, we hit the first and only transfer station. Getting off the train, I quickly released that almost no one spoke English here, but I felt that I was in the right place and was… until they announced something in polish over the loudspeaker and everyone got up and left the stage. My initial reaction was to follow them, but just didn’t know what was going on, so I went to ask the information desk. Unfortunately no one there spoke a word of English as well. Lost in translation again, I just starting asking everyone for help when finally I met a business man that told me my train was going to be and by the time I got there, it arrived. An hour later I was in Kraków. 

  
   
 Kraków is a beautiful old town. Most of it was rebuilt after World War II, but they’ve kept the original look which gave the city its own European feel. I walk a short distance to my hostel from the train station and got all sign in, went to pay and my card got denied. Freaking out a little bit, I held my composure and started looking through my bag to find some money to at least pay for the bed. A little after getting my stuff organized I went out and tried my card at an ATM and luckily it worked!! So I celebrated by buying a giant gyro. 

   
 The next morning, I booked a tour to Auschwitz concentration camp. it was an hour and half bus ride there, but once there, you could feel an uneasiness at that place. We were put in groups of 10 and led through a gate that read, “Arbeit macht frei” which translates “Work sets you free”. The first lie the Nazis told the people sent there. After seeing that, I put my phone in my pocket and decided to just experience this place with my own eyes, not behind a camera lens. The red brick buildings that stood there were the same as they were since the war which gives me a disturbing feeling that the people that were tortured and kill here looked at these same buildings. Three of the buildings were converted into the museum part of Asuchwitz showing all the documents, the belonging, the shoes and even the hair of ones that were killed were save to sell to wig shops and carpet companys. They also showed us the different ways that the nazis tortured the prisoners for little to no reason at all. The next camp that they took us to was a killing camp. A lot bigger in size, this camp could hold up to 100,000 prisoner although most of the prisoners that got here was killed within 20 minutes of being there. One thing that the guide told us when we were at the ruins of the gas chambers is that this was the last sight that over a million people saw before they were killed. The whole experience was a little hard to handle, but before I knew it we were on a bus to go back to Krakòw. The next day, it really hit me and knew it was going to, so i made sure I had nothing planned that day and I just sat at hostel, listened to some good music and updated my blog.

   

        The last day in Poland, I booked another tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakòw. I needed something a little different then of the last couple days. Active since the 13th century, it pumped out table salt up until 2007. The world oldest salt mine, now takes in thousands of tourists on a daily. This was the original reason of me coming to Poland and at about 500 feet below the earth, the sights were worth the trip! The charged me to take photo, so I made an article dedicated to the photos underground.

  I was kind of happy leaving Krakòw. It was a beautiful town with tons of history and some amazing people, but the emotions that I went through was a bit to much for me. I came to realized that this life is a thin line between happiness and brutality. We take life in the thought that it’ll always be there when we wake up in the morning and it’ll just be another easy going day as always, but we dont know just how close we are to having all of that being ripped from us, all because someone with power disagreed with the way we do things. The poor souls that lost their lives in that god forsaken place didn’t get the chance to travel the world or watch their kids grow up or even get a chance to sleep in on saturday morning. They went through hell on earth, hoping that one day death will come claim them before the day was done. We will never know that feeling, we will never know what they really went through day after day before the end. All I can say is that I’ve seen a glimpse of what happen there and the methods on which they used the torture and kill them and with that, I’ve lost a little faith that day, in humanity and in god. There was no reason for the suffering at these camps and with keeping it on display for people to see what really happened, maybe it’ll keep us from repeating the past because as a the sign says in the first building I walked into there, “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”       

  ….Next stop Budapest, Hungary


Journey of the Ring

Even waking up this day felt different. I knew whatever was going to happen was going to change my life. The Nurburgring opens for public racing at 5:30, so I was in no rush to get there althought I was getting inpatient. I took the train to the airport where I had resovations to a rental car that I got a couple of day before. After a little bit, I found the rental company where i walked up to the lady, gave her my confirmation number, my license and my credit card. that is when it went all wrong. She looks at my credit card and tell me, “we dont take these. We take real credit cards.” I argued with her for a few minutes, finally grabbing my stuff and walking off. I was pissed! I walked around a little bit to cool off and went to get something to eat. Then after 20 minutes of cooling down, I decided to go to another rental car company and after 160€ a car was rented. I got lost right off the bat, but after a quick turnaround I was on my way to the Ring…. fast.

   Once there, the day became one of the best days of my life and could only be described in the smile on face in these photos so enjoy…….