Why are you doing this?
This is a tricky one because I can give a host of pragmatic and philosophical reasons for undertaking this journey and they are all right, but boiling it down to its essence, it is for the environment and to experience the great wilderness areas of the planet; for the challenge and adventure inherent in a journey of this magnitude; and for education, culture and an experiential understanding of the world.
The frugal existence and modest pace of bicycle touring enables me to maintain an attuned experience with my surroundings. Being open to the world invites the world to be open to you, and as a result traveling by bicycle is a powerful means of engaging with the environment and foreign cultures. I’m yet to find a better way to learn about the world in which I live, than on the saddle of a bike.
For practical purposes, cycling allows me to access remote corners of the globe self-sufficiently, under my own steam, and with virtually no impact to the environment and its inhabitants.
How do you define a world circumnavigation?
There are several definitions of a global circumnavigation, which are governed by the inherent constraints of the varying modes of travel. However, as I am bound to neither land nor ocean exclusively, I will complete a true circumnavigation. My approximate route will cross two oceans and several seas (approximately 22,000 nautical miles), pass through six continents (approximately 70,000 kilometres), intersect all meridians in the same direction, cross at least one pair of antipodal points, and will start and finish at the same location (Melbourne, Australia).
How are you going to cross the oceans?
I consider the ocean crossings as important as the continental crossings, in terms of understanding the magnitude of the planet and its ecosystems. In circumnavigating the world by the forces of nature, I am relying on crossing the oceans by sail power. The most practical and economical solution is to crew on yachts as I go, which will add a good degree of chance and spontaneity to the journey.
How long will it take?
I had originally estimated it would take around five to seven years, but now it’s looking more like a decade.
Are you going alone?
Yes, but I’m open to having travel companions.
Isn’t it dangerous, scary, etc?
So far so good, though I take each country as it comes. People can be a bit scary from time to time but I have generally been treated very well. Unruly drivers, parasites and snarling canines aren’t much fun. What ever the case, the alternative of not being true to oneself, not following dreams, or just accepting that what I have is good enough, would pose a greater threat to my mental well-being.
How much weight do you carry?
I try to keep my touring kit to a minimum, although a disadvantage of going solo is that you carry more weight as there’s no possibility to share gear (tent, stove, etc.).
Last I weighed I was carrying 22 kg. In sub-zero environments, weight in clothing and sleeping gear increases a few kilos. In remote environments and the developing world weight in added gear and parts, adds a few kilos more. The bike is 16 kg with 2.25″ expedition tires. Add to that 4.5-28 kg of consumables depending on the environment (2-20L of water, 0-2L of fuel and 2-8kg of food). I estimate that at any one time I will be carrying between 45-72 kg total (including the bike). The most weight will be carried traveling through hot, arid, remote environments.