Ten Random Thoughts on my First 1,000 km Traveling by Bicycle

30th September 2015

bicycle touring south east asia

1. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS IS TOUCHING ME BEYOND WORDS AND HAS 100% RESTORED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY

I have not had to pay for accommodation in over a month and food has been provided for me along the way on several occasions. Whether it be friendly and generous Couchsurfing or Warmshowers hosts, friends met during or before the trip or people at private houses, police and gas stations or temples where I have clumsily asked permission to pitch my tent, the response has always been overwhelmingly positive. I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone that has crossed my path so far. Although I know this isn’t the reason why they are doing it, I cannot wait for the day I can pay it forward when I am in a situation to do so.

bicycle touring south east asia

He stopped me by the road side to give me two packs of cookies and a bottle of juice!

bicycle touring south east asia

These policewomen invited me for breakfast because they wanted to hear my story.

bicycle touring south east asia

Feeling safe sleeping with the Buddha.

2. STRAYING OFF THE BEATEN PATH IS MAGICAL

I feel that by cycling around I am discovering the true South East Asia I was dreaming of before I came here to backpack. Crossing little villages where few Westerners have been means meeting a lot of curious locals. Friendly smiles and waves, people stopping me to ask questions because they are genuinely interested and not because they want to sell me something, cheap and authentic food – with people inviting me over to sample it – are all part of my daily life. I feel privileged to get to see this side of South East Asia that few people get to experience and it is truly magical.

bicycle touring south east asia

bicycle touring south east asia

3. I WAS BORN TO LIVE OUTSIDE

There is not a chance in the world I will ever work in a cubicle full time again. What’s this crap about?! Real life is outside and I’m a jungle woman. Period.

bicycle touring south east asia

4. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

Preparing this trip has taught me patience, something I haven’t always had. Learning patience is learning to be content with the present moment, accepting sudden changes of plans and letting go of expectations. An invaluable lesson indeed.

bicycle touring south east asia

Hey I was waiting for that! For TWO MONTHS.

5. BEING A SOLO TRAVELER FOSTERS WONDERFUL ENCOUNTERS

It’s the best way to travel!

bicycle touring south east asia

6. YES, I CAN

I have had to learn a few tricks of the trade in case I run into mechanical troubles, and I know there will come a point where I will be stuck and will have to learn for myself, which is really the best way to learn. Self-sufficiency, especially as a woman, is an extremely empowering thing. Having other women feeling empowered by what I am doing is equally very moving.

bicycle touring south east asia

7. CYCLING IS A LIFESTYLE AND THE PEOPLE FROM THE COMMUNITY ARE REAL AWESOME

Be it online communities or other cyclists met along the way who have provided me with advice, shelter, food, free bike parts or just a good chat, I am happy and proud to be a part of such a great group of people.

bicycle touring south east asia

Squatting at The Basikal Bike Shop in downtown Kuala Lumpur… Thanks Akmal!

8. IF IT FEELS RIGHT…

Just do it and the rest will follow. Everything has felt right since this crazy plan started sprouting in my mind: things falling into place on their own, wonderful encounters, even professional engagements along the way. I feel like I am doing what I am meant to do right now, and I am feeling so happy and free.

bicycle touring south east asia

bicycle touring south east asia

bicycle touring south east asia

9. ACHIEVING COMPLETE BALANCE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS, AND I ACCEPT THAT

Before this trip, I was a health freak with way too much control over everything I ate. It was all about the superfood and everything had to be organic and wholesome. The only thing I had no control over was all the stress that I had inflicted on myself with a manic pace of life, juggling a uni­ver­sity degree as a mature stu­dent with two demand­ing jobs and an intense half marathon train­ing. I was stuck in this vicious circle that’s so common throughout the western world, and it was making me miserable. I was trying to lead a healthy lifestyle by having complete control of my diet and exercising, but so long as I was holding on to the stress I was never going to reach optimum health. Now, I have admittedly been eating a lot of junk so far on the trip (namely 7 Eleven instant noodles…), but I am feeling at peace, balanced and free from stress. Being able to let go is actually a great feeling. And I bought a bag of chia seeds. Baby steps. Life is a work in progress.

bicycle touring south east asia

10. I FREAKING LOVE MALAY AND THAI PEOPLE

You have made this journey so amazing for me with your big hearts and funny English and wonderful smiles and beautiful land. I will be leaving a bit of my heart behind when I go next month, that’s for sure.

bicycle touring south east asia

28 thoughts on “Ten Random Thoughts on my First 1,000 km Traveling by Bicycle

  1. Giles Cooper

    Fascinating and inspiring Amelie. Very good video style. Your experience comes over as very honest and unedited. I really like it. All strength to you to make this a great trip! Lovely to see people treating you so well. Just as it should be!

    Best Wishes.

    Giles.

    Reply
  2. Veganbackpacking

    Wonderful once again Amélie! Great thoughts and lovely video, could have watched it for an hour straight!

    Not so positive (although very enjoyable) but honest and with ups and down, how real life can go 🙂 hope you learned plenty and take care!

    Reply
  3. Natasha Amar

    This is so inspiring! The kindness of strangers is something you begin to appreciate once you’re out of your comfort zone and this is such an important lesson to realize that the world is an amazing place.

    Reply
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  7. Chris Hangsleben

    This is exciting to see. I love how raw, and completely unfiltered your video is. It’s like being there almost, and I can feel the emotion coming through my laptop screen. Absolutely amazing.

    It’s great that this is your first bicycle tour as well. I’m about to go on my first tour, and it’s nice to see how other people are getting along on their first one. It’s wonderful, and inspiring, and just makes me want to go that much more. Honestly, I wish I could just jump on my bike right now and leave, but alas…..

    I look forward to the next 1000km, and more of your adventures!

    Chris
    #RideAcrossTheUS

    Reply
  8. tracy

    Hi…. Just a note about the 7-eleven noodles. Had to do the same thing on a recent cycle trip around Taiwan. Yup! Just let it go. It’s all good….You made me laugh!!! Take care and travel well!!! Cheers!!!

    Reply

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