How to Make a Choice, Give up Your Job and Start Travelling the World

Do you also want to give up your job, so you can go travelling full-time?

Don’t give up hope! You can still turn things around just like Anna from Germany has done.

She realized that she wanted to travel the world and quit her sales job. Now she is travelling the world on her bike and so far she has cycled around Canada, Central America, and Europe!

In this interview, you will learn a lot about Anna’s bike touring adventures. Learn about the importance of traveling, Anna’s best tips for eating and sleeping on the road, her favorite gear, and her future plans (which doesn’t include getting an office job!)

Cyclist Anna

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a 29-year old German girl named Anna. I’m currently sitting in my tent in Sweden. You might ask yourself why I’m writing this instead of enjoying my beautiful view. But it’s raining at the moment — And because it has been raining a lot for the last two weeks, I need something else to do than reading.

I’ve always loved being outside. When I was 20, I also got into Outdoor sports, camping and traveling. But I also enjoy being a ‘typical girl’, so I decided to even carry nail polish, a dress and a bit make up, which I wear sometimes in cities.

After I finished my Bachelor in Literature and History, I worked for two years in sales for a coffee company. Instead of just dreaming about it, I decided to quit my job and go for another long travel. I started my trip in Vancouver, Canada and have been traveling for 15 months. From Vancouver, I cycled down the Pacific Coast trail, crossed Mexico, did a loop in Yucatan and went through Belize to Guatemala. Because of health issues over three months, I finally decided to leave Central America. After a recovering break in California, I flew to Norway. From there, I’m going to explore Europe by bike.

I love rock climbing and recently also got into Mountain biking. But I also really enjoy arts, like going to the theatre, ballet or opera as well as reading. I’m a very open-minded and happy person I’d say even when I also enjoy calm time for myself. I’m really missing my sewing machine back home!

Cyclist Anna

How and why did you get into bike touring?

It was my ex boyfriend – still one of my close friends, who got me into Outdoor sports and also into bike touring. We decided to try it and he planned to cycle the Carretera Austral in Patagonia with me. For an untrained person that was quite a start I guess. I remember that we cycled more on gravel roads, it rained a lot, and he pushed me to my limits already on my first day. I was constantly the slower one and he could constantly cycle faster and more than me. After a while I found my own rhythm and got fitter. It was a hard start for me into bike touring but I somehow got addicted and started to find the normal backpacking trips too boring. I was dreaming from a longer trip since then.

One day, when I felt I’d saved up enough money I started writing a list, with things to organize. Quitting the job was the first big step of actually realizing that dream. I didn’t really train for it, I just started very slow and with not many kilometers per day. I was so busy with working and organizing before that I haven’t had the time for a special training.

Cyclist Anna

What have been the best and most difficult parts of your bike touring?

My best part of my travelings was when I was 19. I was in New Zealand on a working holiday. Another guy and I were hiking to a lonely and calm bay when we saw a dolphin. He got really close to us and when I was walking into the water he was coming towards me. He stopped maybe a meter in front of me and looked before he was swimming another round. He continued staying with us until we left. When we were leaving I saw him leaving the bay as well. Since I was young I was dreaming of seeing a wild dolphin. And that moment made me so happy that I was crying. I realized that I found happiness during my traveling in New Zealand and that I managed to get over a not very easy time of fighting parents and a divorce. Traveling had helped me finding myself and finding happiness in myself. I remember that moment as one of my key moments of my life.

There are always tough days or moments while traveling or biking. How do I manage to keep going? Well, when I’m in a situation, there is not really an option, right? Sitting down and crying for mama wouldn’t help, so I guess I just keep going. I try to see it as a challenge and always tell myself, there will be more enjoyable moments again.

Apart from that, I really struggled in Guatemala as I always gets sick there. I realized that my immune system got messed up with by far too many antibiotics so I had to leave and went to an environment with safer food. That somehow broke my heart because I wanted to travel again to South America more than anywhere else.

Why is bike touring important for you?

Bike touring for me is just the best way to travel. It gives me independence, freedom and the right amount of adventure as well. Adventuring gave me self confidence and trust in myself, and humanity and has taught me a lot. It makes me rich – rich of memories I will never forget. That can’t be paid of by anything.

Cyclist Anna

How do you eat and sleep on the road?

That really depends where I’m traveling. Here in Sweden and Norway, I’m wild camping quite often in the most beautiful spots (Scandinavia is a dream for wild camping) or stay with Couchsurfing hosts to dry (haha) and to have some rest. In Central America, I also slept in cheap hotels from time to time, used Warmshowers or even slept at random kind strangers. Same goes for food. In more expensive countries I cook my own, if it’s cheaper I would also eat street food or even go to a restaurant from time to time.

I’m sleeping in a Yeti sleeping bag (German down company), which is 10 years old. My tent is the well known Hubba Hubba from MSR, which I highly recommend. Just don’t buy their footprint, that’s a waste of money as it leaks water, just go with a cheap plastic blanket for 3 $. I’m cooking with an Optimus Nova, which is something between the Whisperlite and the Omnifuel. Very recommendable as well!

Cyclist Anna

What is your best advice for new cycling adventurers?

I’d say start slow. Give yourself time to get used to everything. And don’t plan too much. I still see quite a few people with perfect planned routes and time schedules. But they might miss the adventure. The adventure starts where the plan stops.

How do you prepare for your cycling adventures?

I don’t prepare too much when it comes to training. While during my normal working life, I went rock climbing when I had the time and the weather was fine and I went to some contemporary/modern dance classes. I also used to run. I’m also doing a bit of Yoga.

How do you balance normal life with adventuring?

Since I was 18, I went traveling for longer trips. In between, I’m really enjoying my normal life as well. Being together with friends, enjoying theater and festivals, going hiking and rock climbing back home, seeing my family and go for shorter trips here and there. Right now, I’m curious what will happen when I come back home in December. The after-adventure-depression is probably going to hit me a bit as usual.

Cyclist Anna

How do you finance your bike tours?

I saved up money during my two years of work and even before during my studying. I’m still living from that. Recently, I managed to earn some money with writing articles or a translation job. It’s not much though, but still nice. If I’m running out I’d probably lend some money from a friend and pay it back when I’m working again.

I spent quite a bit of money on gear before I started. I needed a tent, a stove, a bike, and other small stuff. But I knew that during traveling I could live pretty cheap. Now, I’m spending between 350-550 Euros a month. I depends which country I’m in and it also includes buying some spare parts, new clothes, sending packages, and so on.

Cyclist Anna

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

  • a $3 and totally waterproof plastic cover to put under my tent;
  • the Ortlieb Outside bags, which you can attach to the normal bags (they’re so practical)
  • Oppinel knife, good quality and stays sharp;
  • Ductape;
  • a mini sewing kit;
  • Nylon socks for hiking. You wear them under your normal socks, so you don’t get blisters.

    My other favorite gear I have is my mini water filter from Sawyer. It works quite slow but is super small and cheap (20 $).

    Also, I love my Merino wool liner for my sleeping bag. It’s called, Cocoon Merino Wool MummyLiner. In hot areas, I use it for sleeping in and if it’s cold, I use it as an inlet. It also doesn’t smell.

    Cyclist Anna

    What will the future bring?

    Well, I’m still dreaming about South America but I am not sure if I will ever be able to travel there again as I’m still having some health problems with my stomach. I’m also looking forward to be back home again. Maybe having a family when I’m finding the right partner. Trying to travel and adventure while still having kids. That would be a big adventure as well. 😉


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3 Comments

  1. Love your story and inspiration.

  2. I am sure the Andes mountains in South America will wait for you and your bicycle 🙂
    Cheers.
    G

  3. Love reading about people’s adventures on the bike. If you want to cycle in Europe have a look at the bicycle touring pro on you tube and facebook. He has cycled in Europe extensively. I have been following him for years. Come down to Australia one day – it is good cycling here with the wide open spaces 🙂 .

    Cheers
    Andrew

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