Things that scare me. It’s probably not what you think.

So recently my body and mind has been thinking that it’s a brilliant idea to wake up in the middle of the night and absolutely panic. I think I might still be sleeping and dreaming, but the only thing I know when I wake up is that I have no idea where I am, and all I can think of is that I need to get out! I need to leave this place that is making me panic and I need to do it fast. Most of the time I wake up halfway out of bed, realizing that I’m at home and that I can just go back to sleep again.

Mhm, real easy to do when adrenaline is pumping through your body and you’re still in full panic mode.

This past weekend I was in Aarhus, Denmark on a work trip. I stayed at a really nice hotel and everything was going great. I went to bed and was looking forward to getting a good nights sleep.

Right. 
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Of course I woke up in the middle of the night in absolute panic having no idea where I was. I really don’t know why this scares me so much, but like I said before, I think I’m still sleeping when it happens. So I woke up with the urgent need to leave my room, I wrapped the sheet around me and ran for the door. For some reason my sleep muddled brain couldn’t figure out how to open door, which I am so incredibly thankful for. I was in a hotel room, all I would have had to do was push the handle and the door would have opened!

I get (hilariously) terrified just thinking that if I had managed to get that door open, I would have been locked out of my room in nothing but a sheet wrapped around me in the middle of the night in a hotel in Denmark. And I can only imagine my colleagues face when I would have had to come knocking on his door explaining what had just happened. I don’t think he would have survived laughing that hard at me. Or what if I had to get into the elevator and head to the reception in the middle of the night and tell them why I was locked out of my room. HORROR!

So when people ask me if I’m scared of cars or bears or murderers on my trip, I’ll answer “No. I’m mostly scared of crawling out of my tent in the middle of the night scaring my fellow campers to death while I’m trying to wake up and remember where I am.” 

That is definitely a level of embarrassment that does NOT need to be added to the mess that is my extremely weird sleeping habits.

Anyone who wants to share a similar story that can make me feel less embarrassed?

Let’s have an adventure!

One of the main things people ask me when I tell them about my adventure is “why are you doing this? What are you hoping to achieve?” 

The weird thing might be that by doing this I’m hoping to make people realize that if I can do it, anyone can. You don’t have to be very athletic or have camped before in your life to  get on a bicycle and decide to ride it around the world. You don’t even need money, just look at this blogpost!

Of course I have strictly selfish goals as well. I want to see the world in the best way I know how, by riding my bicycle. There is something about bicycle touring that I find absolutely magical. You travel at a slow pace that lets you see every little detail in the passing landscape, you get to smell and drink and eat your way across the world in ways that are hard to come by when you’re traveling as a regular tourist. And though you might not appreciate every mountain you come across (I hate climbing hills!), there is no greater feeling than standing at the top knowing that you did it. You made it up to the top, and it was you and no one else did that. It’s the biggest ego boost there is, and it makes you feel invincible.

Life is not always about being strong, I think that feeling strong is the best thing there is. 

I have never felt as strong as I did after I left the Aftonbladet studio earlier this week, after my first live-TV appearance. I was so nervous before I went into the studio, but when I came out I felt utterly unbeatable, I felt that I could do absolutely anything I wanted! It’s the best feeling in the world, and I really needed that. A big thank you to everyone that has been saying such nice things about the interview, I can’t even begin to express how much that means to me.

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Planning, prepping, and learning how to prioritize.

As summer approaches, my life gets more and more hectic as I’m trying to get everything ready before I leave. I have three weeks left at work, during which I’ll be traveling to both Denmark and Spain to produce a TV-highlight for two dance competitions. At the same time I’m trying to figure everything out with my apartment, like canceling the electricity, insurances, internet and other things I’d rather just not think about at the moment. Sometimes I just sit on my couch, staring at all the things I should be packing or cleaning or doing, paralyzed by all that needs to be done.

Sometimes being a grown-up gets overwhelming. 

But being overwhelmed is a great practice for the road, since I know that bicycle touring can be just that from time to time. When you’re faced with never-ending headwinds, rain or harsh sun, and you’re not sure where you’ll sleep that night, it’s easy to just want to give up. But giving up is not an option this time, and usually it’s all in the head. I’ve found that some food, water and a good nights sleep can make you feel better no matter what the circumstances are. I had some really low points during last years ride to Paris. I cried. A lot. We all did to be honest, and sometimes it helps. And when we got to Paris and some of my team mates came up to me and told me that I had really impressed them with my performance that week, I cried some more. At that trip we pushed ourselves to our limits, cycling as many kilometers before lunch as I will do during an entire day on this trip. Since we were only out for seven days, we could do that to ourselves and our bodies, but I’m looking forward to a much slower tempo this time.

This time will be more about the journey, not the destination.
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Other than that, I have some exciting news. In June I will be featured in the biggest magazine for young women in Sweden, and tomorrow (!!) I’ll be a guest on Aftonbladet Morgon, a morning-TV talk show on the internet hosted by Sweden’s biggest newspaper. I will be on at 08:45 in the morning, just go to Aftonbladet and you should be able to find it. I’m really nervous but very excited too, make sure to tune in and watch if possible!

And take a look at these amazing photos we took this weekend, I’ve only seen a few so far but I absolutely love them! I cursed the snow fall at first, but it turned out pretty great in the pictures so I guess sometimes it’s worth getting a little cold.
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Adventure Cycling – the Cecilia way.

When I first started planning this adventure, it wasn’t quite as huge as it has become since then. The plan was to only cycle across America, and then come back to Sweden again. While I’m now planning on rounding the world on my bike, the first three months across the US has been my biggest priority for a long time. At first I thought about cycling with a group and researched that, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t the experience I was looking for. That’s when I discovered Adventure Cycling’s bicycle maps. It’s an organization that has been creating bicycle maps for the most amazing routes across America since 1973, and they are simply perfect for a bicycle tour. I’ve been looking mostly at the TransAmerica trail which is the original route across the country. I will pair it with the Pacific Coast which will take me from Oregon to Los Angeles as well.

So you can only imagine my excitement when the maps finally arrived in the mail this Friday.
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I won’t be following the maps the entire way, since I’m starting in North Carolina instead of Virginia I will have to find my own way in the beginning but I think I’ll be fine. Google maps served me well across Sweden, I think they will be fine this time too. This time I have a Garmin GPS to help me out too, which is exciting for a statistics nerd like myself. Now I can keep track of how far I’ve cycled in total and lots of other boring facts. (for everyone else that is. I love them.)

Anyway, the reason Adventure Cycling’s maps are so great is because they have so much knowledge about how to best get across the country on your bicycle. They know where to camp, where to get free food and shelter, where to stock up on water and most importantly, where the huge hills are so I can prepare mentally way ahead…
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In total I will have 4 maps for the Pacific Coast and 10 for TransAmerica. (Tip: you can click on each image to view a bigger version.)
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This is the map part of the folder. Each smaller map comes with it’s own set of instructions, so hopefully I won’t get lost. Not too much at least.
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This is the back of the map and here you can find all the useful information you never knew you even needed. Elevation, interesting facts about the area you’re cycling through, phone numbers to campings, motels, hospitals etc, how much it usually rains and a lot of different things.
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I’m already getting anxiety about that mountain… but because the maps are made to go from west to east I will have to read them backwards so that will actually be a HUGE downhill for me. WIN!
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Weather information, like average temperature and rain levels, along with information about the route.
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You also get some information about the environment you’ll encounter along the way.

Finally getting the maps just made me so much more anxious to get started, I can’t believe it’s only 72 days left until I board that plane to Washington. I really can’t wait for the biggest adventure of my life to begin.