Setting Off

It’s the day before we leave and have we packed? No, of course not! Although the majority of our worldly posessions have been packed into cardboard boxes and are stored in the parents’ garage waiting to be shipped to New Zealand.

Our panniers are scattered across the living room with what seems like a remarkably small pile of clothes, and huge piles of bike parts and tools, camping equipment, first aid gear and food (anyone would think they didn’t have shops in Europe!) Jules did an incredible amount of research on gear and after our trip to Cornwall we’ve evened up the weight ratio (Milly’s bike weighing in at approx 35kg and Jules’ at 56kg). So at least Milly’s happy about that! Finally at 8pm, 8 panniers, 2 rack packs, and two rather heavy bar bags are packed and we can have a long overdue drink in the local pub and last pub meal with Mum & Dad for a while.

You can plan a trip for over a year but somehow things always come down to the last minute, like getting a witness to verify your wills 30 minutes before setting off on the bikes! Or spending the last hour of decent internet on the ferry updating your website and various other social media platforms as if you’re going to disappear for ever. Travelling with so much technoloy at your fingertips is both a blessing and a hindrance. The beauty of using offline maps such as OsmAnd and being able to keep in touch with family and friends wherever you are is undeniably reassuring. But it’s hard to escape, to really feel free and immerse yourself in different cultures and places. It’s a battle we will both have to come to terms with over the next year.

Technology does however allow us to share some of our unique experiences with you and we hope that you find this blog entertaining, interesting and informative! Our motivations for setting off on this jounrney from the UK to Singapore have been different. For Jules this is a chance to combine his three great passions - cycling, travelling and maps. For Milly it’s more of a personal exploration, an opportunity to be in the outdoors and to experience and learn from other cultures.

Travelling via low carbon transport is also important to us both and whilst we will probably be taking some planes, trains and automobiles en route we wanted to prove to ourselves, and others, the wonderful possibilities of cycle tourism. We both wanted to dedicate our trip to a cause which protects our natural environment. It made sense for us to support an international conservation charity as the impacts of climate change have no boundaries. The work done by The World Land Trust, whether in Borneo or Gloucestershire, will have a positive impact on our collective climate going forward. We hope to bring you stories of some the environmental projects we visit along the way.

To help us raise £1 per mile please visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/readcycleread

So finally at 3pm, an hour later than planned we cycled the 30km from Bosham to Portsmouth to catch the overnight ferry to St Malo. It was a sunny but cold 8 degrees so off we optimistically went in shorts & t-shirts only to put on full waterproofs 5kms later! Just glad we booked a cabin so at least had a hot shower on the boat, perhaps the last for a while. France here we come…

BritFerry

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