You don’t need to be skinny to be an athlete.

There is a moment that I absolutely dread when people find out that I’m cycling around the world. It’s that once-over most people give me, a sweeping glance up and down my body that is usually blink-and-you-miss-it fast. I never miss it. 

People get judged by their appearance every day, and since I’ve put myself in the spotlight recently, I get judged a lot. I know that I’m not skinny; I know that I don’t look like the typical athlete.

But I am more than my weight. I am more than my body type. 

I am strong. I am determined. I have an enormous will-power, and what I look like has nothing to do with how good of a bicycle tourist I am. It has nothing to do with the smile I get on my face when I get on a bike a sunny day. It has nothing to do with the song in my heart when I’m discovering the world from a saddle. My weight has nothing to do with how strong I feel when I’ve climbed a hill and stand at the top feeling absolutely unbeatable. Like I can do anything I want. And I can.

Would I be faster if I was thinner? Maybe.
Would I be happier? No. 

This trip is not about what I look like, it’s about doing something I love and living the life of an adventurer. My body is amazing and I praise it regularly for what it can do, something everyone should start doing instead of judging it by how it looks. My legs are strong and they can take me places far away. My arms can lift heavy things and give warm hugs. My stomach is strong enough to hold me up during hours in the saddle, and every time I laugh I can feel the muscles working to my advantage. My brain can process things faster than a computer and it can learn languages and make up stories and it gives me courage.

There is more to me than what I look like, and I want you to remember that. 

Strong across Sweden in 2013.

Strong across Sweden in 2013.

Strong across Europe in 2014.

Strong across Europe in 2014.

Strong training for around the world in 2015.

Strong training for around the world in 2015.

One month to go until my life changes forever.

In July of 2014 I cycled with a team of 30 other people from Sweden to Paris, 1200 km in 7 days. It was intense and hard and fun, but when we finished I told my parents that “I don’t think I’ll cycle next summer”. Less than a month after that, I told them “so next summer I’m planning to cycle across America, sounds like fun right?”

The planning began in August last year, and has since then evolved into something bigger than I ever dared to dream of. From being a three month trip across USA, to an expedition that stretches across several years and four of the continents in the world. At one point during the planning I just figured “why not just keep going? Why should I stop cycling after America, when I could just keep going?” I’ve been thinking about moving back to my home town for a while as well, and this felt like the perfect moment to just go for it, to sell my apartment and quit my job and head out on an adventure before returning back home, and try to be a responsible adult once again…

And now it’s only one month left until I leave.

One month left of training and preparing and practicing pitching my tent and maybe even try to cook something to eat on my stove. And then I’m out there, with no safety net, no dad who can pick me up in the car if I were to get a flat tire and no food in the fridge for when I’m ravenous after a long ride. With a tent that needs to be pitched and food that needs to be cooked and water that needs to be located before I can go to sleep at night. In a tent. By myself. With no lock or wooden door or other security that I’m used to.

In some ways I’m absolutely terrified and wonder “what am I doing, how in the world did I think that I could do something like this?!” but mostly I’m just so excited and can’t wait to get out on the roads and just live. No bills to pay, no deadlines to worry about, it will just be me and my bicycle and the world at our feet.

One month to go, and I can’t wait for the adventure to begin.
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