girls Litang
Making friends on the roadside (Litang, China, 2006)

Many previous journeys showed me that I enjoy having a mission on a journey, a few topics around which my writing and my photography resolves, making me more focused and more alert to my environment. So what is my mission during this journey? Even though this may not be the most usual idea people come up with when taking some time off, others have indeed cycled this stretch before and have done a marvellous job at that.

In fact, I am not purely interested in athletic feats. Yes, I did spend most of my life in sports at the elite level, pushing my physical limits day in and out. And indeed, I am curious in how my body will adapt to the continuous strains I will put on it. But this is a mere side effect, not the main reason I am doing this.

In fact, the psychological aspect is more interesting to me: being on the road alone, for months on end, with no one telling me to push any further except for my mind. Solitude, self-dependency, the fear of being all by myself – interesting situations we rarely encounter in our everyday lives.

The wide variety of fantastic landscapes certainly have their draw as well: mountain passes, green pastures, deserts, orchards, you name it. Cycling allows you to stop, whenever you want to admire a spot of particular beauty. You are immersed in the landscape in a different way than when travelling in a bus or car – the utter joy of travelling not only ON the road, but IN the scenery.

What I am most interested in, however, is the kaleidoscope of people and cultures I will encounter on the way. In particular, travelling solo as a woman will allow me to get a glimpse of the life of women in these countries, much of which usually stays off-limits for visitors. I would love to have you on board with me, discovering the everyday life, the struggles, the dreams of the people I will encounter.