1 day until I being the adventure of a lifetime.

It’s been nine months since I decided to go on this adventure. Five months since I resigned from my job and put my apartment on the market. 2 months since I moved back home to my parents to prepare for the journey. And now the time is finally here.
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Preparing my bike for departure. 

Tomorrow morning my parents will drive me down to Copenhagen to get on my flight to Washington. I’ll pick up my rental car and drive two hours south before staying with a warm showers-host for the night. On Wednesday I’ll drive the rest of the way down to Wilmington, North Carolina where I’ll start my journey on Thursday. Before I get going I need to buy food, reassemble my bike and try get used to the heat… and hopefully I’ll have time on Wednesday to cycle down to the beach and dip my back wheel in the ocean, which is the official way to start a cross country journey.

The first stop will be after just 300 km, when I get to Charlotte where I’ll see Taylor Swift on the 1989 tour on Monday the 8th of June. I’ve been a huge Swiftie for years and actually planned my journey according to her tour schedule… a dedicated fan for sure! I’ll also see her in Santa Clara and Los Angeles. Just look at this shirt I made, in hopes of getting into her after parties for the most devoted fans. Wish me luck!
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I’m nervous but also excited to finally get started. I’ve done so much preparation, a lot of research and I couldn’t be more ready. But still I’m constantly changing from being absolutely terrified to being overly excited, but I’m sure I’ll calm down as soon as I actually get going. It’s hard when you really don’t know what to expect, as I’ve said before, I’ve never done anything like this.

But tomorrow is finally the time for adventure. The next time I write it will be from the United States! 

Thoughts and feelings with 13 days to take off.

The past few weeks have just flown by, and more and more often it hits me that it’s now less than two weeks left before I get on that plane to Washington. When I realize how little time is left, I get kind of terrified.

“What if I’ve forgotten something really important!”
“What if I hate it?” 
“Am I really brave enough to do this?” 

These are some of the thoughts that hit me with full force once I let my mind run wild, and it’s not helpful at all these last few days at home. I try to stay confident, but I think that if I didn’t have any doubts, I wouldn’t be taking it seriously enough. I’m heading out on a completely new adventure, unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Of course it’s okay to be frightened, because I’m not really sure what to expect or what it will be like. When I cycled across Sweden it was only for 5 days and 570 km and I spent each night at hotel I had booked in advance. When I cycled across Europe it was with a team of 30 other people, with a core team that fed me, fixed my bike, gave me a beer when I was done for the day and all I was responsible for was to just keep on pedaling for 7 days and 1200 km.

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This time it’s completely different, since I will become a footloose vagabond; a nomad who lives where I put down the stakes to my tent, and who belongs nowhere and everywhere at the same time. It terrifies me  and excites me beyond words. But I am brave. I am strong. I can do whatever I want, and I can handle whatever life might throw at me.  It will be tough, I will most likely cry and want to quit, but I will stick it out.

I’m a fighter, and I can do anything I set my mind to.

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Camping in northern Halland.

The May weather in the part of Sweden where I live has not been very reasonable this year in my opinion. Strong winds and a lot of rain almost every day, so when the weather report told me that Thursday and Friday last week were supposed to be good, I decided to head out on an adventure.

As you know, I’m somewhat of a novice in the whole camping business, so I need to practice before I leave. I also wanted to get some 100 km rides in before leaving, so I decided it was time for that as well. On Thursday morning I headed out, with absolutely everything I need for my around the world trip packed in the trailer. It was heavy, but I figure that I’ll get used to it. I like the handling of it a lot, once I get going I barely feel it behind me, until I go uphill but that would have been a struggle even with panniers. In strong headwinds it follows behind me so closely that it’s no different from when I’m alone on the bike. That is a big bonus, especially on the west coast where it’s always windy!
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It was a beautiful day but you know that when the kite surfers are out on the water, there must be a strong wind… and there was. I was struggling from time to time but I still had fun cycling up the coast on the beautiful roads right by the ocean.
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After 90 km I decided that I’d had enough wind for one day, and pitched my tent at a camp site. It was still early in the afternoon, so I made pretty good time I think.
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I can’t fit Elsa in the tent, but most of Bob at least. Very convenient! I’m so happy I decided to go for the bigger tent.
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After taking a walk around the area I spent all afternoon and night outside my tent reading on the kindle. That thing is such a great invention, I love to read and now I can bring hundreds of book with me wherever I go. I shared the tent area with two Danish families, and I must admit that I went to bed before any of the kids did. I was so tired after the wind and the sun and the long ride!
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(I’m apparently just as messy when I sleep in a tent as when I have a whole apartment to myself…) 

The only thing I hadn’t really counted on was that it got really cold at night. Like really cold. It went down to 2 degrees celsius. That is almost freezing, and so was I. I was completely huddled up in my sleeping bag with not even my nose sticking out, but after warming up inside the bag I was fine and could go back to sleep again.

In the morning I woke up, had my first ever breakfast in the tent and then packed up and was on my way. I think I’ll have to work on that process too, it took me 1,5 hours to get going and I thought that I was being quick!
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On the way back I got some slight pain in my left knee, but after consulting a friend she told me what the issue might be so I’m going to try to build up some strength in that knee from now on. I’m not too worried about it. And as I was struggling a bit going uphill I saw two cyclist approaching in the rear mirror. As they cycled past me I realized that it was an elderly couple on electric bikes, and the man said “you should get one of these too.” 

I might have cursed quite a lot when they were out of sight, I have legs that work just fine thank you very much! 

I cycled to the camp site in 5 hours and 20 minutes in horrible headwinds, and cycled home with pretty sweet tailwinds in 4 hours and 30 minutes. I love when the wind works to my advantage!

So that was my camping adventure. But to more exciting news: today is my birthday! This will be the last year that I get to say that I’m in my twenties, but I’m not very stressed about it. Most of the time I actually enjoy getting older! You know, wisdom and all of those things apparently happen when you get older, so I’m eagerly looking forward to that.

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Last picture of me as 28, at the amusement park Liseberg yesterday with my nephew Leon! I loved the kids rides just as much as he did.  I’ll miss my siblings kids so much when I leave, so I’m trying to spend a lot of time with them now.

It’s ok to change your mind, and putting the Hubba Hubba to the test.

So far in my life I’ve been on two bicycle tours, an unsupported credit card tour in 2013, and one fully supported team tour in 2014. Both of these had one thing in common: I worked until the very last day before going on the tours, leaving very little time to just breathe and prepare. It was fine, but it also meant that when I arrived I was not only physically tired, I was also mentally ready for a break. This time I wanted to have a different experience, I wanted to take the time before leaving to just relax and prepare both mentally and physically. I also wanted to have time to really test my gear, since 95% of it is completely new to me and I needed to make sure it was the right choice.

So yeah, I sold the tent that I bought for my tour. 

When I started researching camping gear, I was extremely focused on getting the smallest and lightest gear possible. In the bicycle touring world I heard a lot of good things about the MSR Hubba tents, so I decided that a 1 person tent would be enough for me. Despite not having camped or slept in a tent for more than 10 years and never ever with any type of camping equipment.
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As time passed, I started having some doubts. I realized that maybe I want my gear with me in the tent, and what if it’s raining and I decide to take a rest day, will I have to spend an entire day stuck in that tiny thing?

But then I decided that I’m allowed to change my mind. Just because I thought something was supposed to be right at one point, doesn’t mean that it actually is. So I ordered a new tent.

This time I went for the MSR Hubba Hubba HP 2 person tent, which is the exact same one, just bigger. It’s super easy to pitch, it’s spacious and to be honest I crack up laughing whenever I have to say hubba hubba. I take pride in being easy to entertain. And this time it just felt completely and totally right. I can fit all of my gear inside the tent with me, it only weighs 0.4 kg more than the smaller tent and now I get two entrances.
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The new tent pitched in my parents backyard. I also tried the Scrubba wash bag for the first time, to great success. 
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I can fit in it just fine, with lots of room to spare. 

And since I haven’t slept in a tent since 2004, when I went to a music festival in Denmark, I needed to put it to the test. Despite making the dog very upset with me, because she likes it when all her people are gathered in the house, I decided that last night was the perfect night for testing all of my camping gear. It was supposed to be 8 degrees celsius and no rain, so of course it went down to 6 degrees and rained on and off the entire night.
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But there’s another aspect to this story; I’m a bad sleeper. I’m really bad at falling asleep, and have been for as long as I can remember. And trust me, sleeping in a tent for the first time did not help my insomnia at all. I’m convinced that I actually did sleep some, but not for long or very deep. Since I usually sleep like a starfish with both feet outside of the covers as well, I only panicked once or twice about the sleeping bag. Those things can really make you feel completely claustrophobic…
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But all things considered, I deem the night a success! Mostly because I actually did spend the entire night there, instead of venturing into the house at 3 in the morning to sleep in my own bed. As you can tell, I’m a novice in this wilderness business, but who says you need to be an expert to go have an adventure? I think learning about all of this is such a fun part of the experience, and I want to show people who want to do this that you don’t have to know everything before you head out! Learning as you go is often the best way.

Anyone want to entertain me with their own camping stories?

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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