dimanche 14 mai 2017

Let's go!!! Ruszamy!!!

In view of my upcoming adventure, I have moved this blog to: 

 That Cycling Chick

Z okazji rozpoczęcia mojej obecnej przygody, ten blog przeniósł się tutaj:

mardi 25 avril 2017

dimanche 23 avril 2017

Why am I doing this?

The Why, Where and How of it ALL.

I was very sick & miserable for 2.5 years… blah blah blah… nobody cares.
In January 2017 I decided I needed to do *something* if I was to go on with my life instead of throwing myself into the Seine. I resolved to follow my heart and materialise my long-lived dream of visiting the United States of A. By bike. On my own. Moneyless.

I am now keeping this blog and collecting money for 3 charities that are dear to me in order to stay motivated and turn the nightmare of the past couple of years into something positive and bigger than me.

Wanna know more but in a hurry? Here's the gist:

Why – the longer answer:

1. For me: for after 2,5 years of being sick & miserable, I decided to do something that'd help me get better.

2. For the adventure: because I want to try an alternative, socially questionable way of living.

3. For the world: I want to change the reality I live in by promoting a female-empowering experience because they say that “if you can see it, you can be it” (yes, going off solo and moneyless does not equal instant death from the invisible hand of patriarchy).

Interested in knowing more?

Click here for the full story.

samedi 22 avril 2017

More on the WHY

Why cycle?
Mainly, because I just looove those sexy cycling tan lines one gets when riding in the sun.
Then, because as Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
And last but not least, because evidence shows that prolonged low-intensity exercise treats depression as effectively as antidepressants – but without the side-effects, of course.

In short, I’m doing this to get better.
Why moneyless?
First, because it’s possible (big thanks to Sarah and Lilly as well as Rob Greenfield for inspiration). Second, for the challenge. I have always had easy access to money. I got my first paid job at the age of 16 and finding work has never been an issue. The deal is straightforward: need something? Get a job to earn the money for it. A complete opposite of my sister who puts time and effort into finding “the next best deal,” “the cheapest whatever-she-needs,” “that thing she wanted for FREE.”

Don’t get me wrong: I work in financial administration and am the first to know that NOTHING in life is free. Money, however, is not the sole medium of exchange. It surely is the most widely spread and very convenient, but *not* the only one.

I am confident I will be able to get what I need through bartering, swapping skills, trading stories, volunteering or simply asking for help. I’m basing this on the premise that we’re all alike: we are compassionate human beings who stick together. Okay, I can hear the LOLs of some of you from here… But let me tell you that I really do *not* remember an instance when I refused help to someone who asked me for it. I do however remember, very well, that time when my sister invited three Portuguese back-packers who were lost in our hometown over and had them stay for a week in our house...
Making money is not all that hard for me.
Acknowledging, on the other hand, that I am not a self-sufficient super-hero but depend on others and my ability to make human connections, reach out and ask for help is the real challenge.
Why solo?

Because there are far too few women who dare to do things on their own. I have been travelling by myself for over a dozen years now and still, the first question people throw my way is: “alone?! Aren’t you afraid?!” The prevailing belief is that once a woman leaves her house, her parents, her companion, she becomes an easy target. Once on her own: everything and anything can happen to her. Once far away from her family, bad things will necessarily happen to her.

Well, let me tell you this (and I am speaking from first-hand experience): dangerous or hurtful events are not delimited to distant places and unfamiliar people. Actually, over a staggering 80% of sexual violence against women is committed by a perpetrator known by the victim (here are some stats: France, Poland, US). If the wrongdoer is known to the victim, chances are the lieu is too.
Indeed, I have been sexually assaulted not that far from where I lived as a kid: the first time, just across the street opposite my house, then at a bus stop 2 kilometers away, at a crossroads 3-minutes away from home or on a bus ride home…
Am I more vulnerable when alone?
Well, my experience shows that offenders are not concerned with such petty details: they’ll happily flash you when you’re accompanied by friends, grab you when you’re with a family member or grope you when you’re on a school trip.
I have been victim to sexual violence when on travels only twice (you can read about one instance here). Personally, I actually feel empowered when on my bike. I feel strong, manly and untouchable.
Let me quote Susan B. Anthony, who said it best:
I think bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. It makes her feel as if she were independent. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood.”

dimanche 28 février 2016

Epilogue - 28.02.2016

Prachathipat (Bangkok suburbs) – Bangkok airport
The last 24-hours

My WS host puts Kostas and me up at his friend’s house (thank you friend!).

Once at the premises, we talk, exchange stories, listen to music and sing.

The following day Kostas decides to ride with me to the airport.

Since we have been very healthy cyclists for the past couple of weeks, we decide we’ve hard-earned our opportunity to go naughty. We stop by at a coffee shop for some sugar-loaded treats, we drink, we smoke… Rowdy cyclists yes we are!!!


samedi 27 février 2016

Day 14

Ayutthaya – Prachathipat (Bangkok suburbs)

It’s oveeer… My last day of cycling before I hit Bangkok and fly off…

The route is quite simple: straight on the national 32 and then 1, until Bangkok.

Mental note for later: big metropolises like Thai capitals are a traffic road nightmare to get in and out of – hop on a train whenever you can!

I don’t really have anything to say expect that I have 45km of bituminous road to do, in heat and accompanied by the never-ending honking of the overexcited (overheated?) truck drivers.

I pull at the biggest Thai commercial centre at 1pm. With the very last remaining money I get myself a cup of coffee and get in touch with my sister to arrange for a WesternMoney cash transfer, as I’d left for Asia with only 500€ in hand and no credit cards whatsoever.

Three hours later, with a fresh supply of cash, I meet my wonderful Warmshowers hosts and a fellow Warmshower cyclist and the celebrations can begin…

Km: 46.24 km
Tm: 2:08
Av: 21.6 km/h
TOTAL: 1015.24 km

vendredi 26 février 2016

Day 13

Wihan Khao - Ayutthaya

After a tumultuous Thursday, Friday’s looking a lot better.

I managed to shake off yesterday miserable experience mainly thanks to my lovely CouchSurfing host Dani and her geek of a boyfriend. I was lodged, fed and treated to a captivating conversation about all things nerdy. I so love CouchSurfing…!

Anyways, with not so many kilometres left to go, I decide to take it real easy. I take my time when passing by the elephant parks and go on an extended visit of the Wat Rachaburana Temple Park.

I finish off in Ayutthaya, early enough to go for a 2-hour full-body massage, take a disco nap and have dinner at a fancy restaurant before setting off to a night visit of the city.

Life is good.

Km: 70.48 km
Tm: 3:35
Av: 20.1 km/h
TOTAL: 969 km