Frequently Asked Questions
When ever I tell someone about what my trip, their mouth drops open and is soon followed my a list of questions. Right now I'm gathering your questions and will get back to you shortly with the answers!
Surely you aren't going alone, right?
YES, I AM! At first I thought of every excuse for why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go alone and hoped someone would join me. Of course, it’s not easy to ask someone to leave their job for an entire year of travel, especially when it’s on bike! As time went on, I realized that my year off was more than just a bike trip. It was a year for myself, an intimate and personal experience, and selfishly, I didn’t want to sacrifice my hopes and dreams for someone else. I was determined I could carry out my adventure on my own! This might be the only opportunity I get to do something like this in my life and I want to do it exactly how I please!
However, I have a few friends from Club Ciclista Gracia who will meet me along the way and ride with me for a week or 10 days and the invitation remains open to anyone else who would like to join me for different sections along my route!
Are you going to hop on a plane?
Yes. I don’t mind hopping on a plane, because I’m not adamant about having to cycle through every country between Barcelona and Oregon. There are a lot of people out there cycling “around the world” and everyone is entitled to define the term however they choose. Some set foot on every continent, others cycle the world for years on end, while some have ambitious daily mileage. Some tour cyclists follow historical routes, while others meander with no particular itinerary. I prefer paved roads to trails. My route runs primarily through rural and wilderness areas, trying to avoid major cities.
Have you always been this sporty and crazy Melissa?
I’m not sure if sporty is the right word, nor crazy, but I’ve always had an incredible amount of energy and been active. If I went missing when I was young, my family would look outside and find me running laps around the backyard. Growing up, I played team sports, but became a runner in my early adulthood. I enjoy the adrenaline rush and the persistence involved, plus it is “easy” to do anywhere and anytime. More than exercise, running was a way for me to clear my mind, think, and have some “down time”. When I first arrived to Barcelona, there were few runners on the sidewalks, especially females. However, I shortly discovered an underground culture of runners and signed up for a lot of different competitions: 10km runs, half-marathons, marathons, ultra-marathons, then cycling races, and triathlons. Although I consider myself a casual competitor, I do have to admit, that I’ve got a bit of competitiveness in my personality especially when it involves passing a male competitor!
What are you going to do once you get to Oregon? And will you stay there?
Believe it or not….Relax and spend some time with my family. I want to be full time “Aunt Melissa” to my nieces and nephews and I’ll even have a new one by the time I arrive! Everyone (including myself) wants to know where I will end up. Sometimes I think, I’d love to look into a crystal ball to find the answer. Although I have all my family in Oregon, Barcelona is home for me, I thrive in Calalunya! I want to spend some time with my family after my trip and then come back. But a lot can happen between now and then, and only time will tell!
How are you doing this financially?
I’ve always been a saver rather than a spender. I’d been saving up for a rainy day and this seems to be my rainy year! I’ve worked really hard and put in a lot of extra hours over the past years teaching. I always tried to save as much as possible without missing out on the things I love to do, especially travel. Most people my age are saving for a house or kids, but I’m not there yet, so my savings are going to go towards this trip!
How do you even prepare for something like this?
I will answer this shortly, I'm too busy preparing!
Melissa, do you ever run out of energy?
It might be hard to believe, but, yes, I too get tired! Since I live my life so intensely, I usually crash after finishing a semester of teaching, right at the start of vacation. I definitely need my school vacations to recharge my battery! (I think they are solar powered).
Where are you going to sleep?
Kids never fail to ask this question! I’ve got all my gear to camp along the way, but in some countries, it is cheaper to get a simple hotel. Thanks to word-of-mouth, people have been contacting me with friends in different places along my route who’d love to host me. I’ve also got the Marriott Hotel helping me out when I arrive to big cities and the logistics get more complicated with airport transfers traveling solo with a bike.
How long is your trip?
The plan is approximately 14 months, leaving on August 22, 2013 and arriving home to Oregon for my birthday on October 14, 2014. Of course a lot can happen between now and then, but at least that is the tentative plan.