As a minimalist vagabond, a human powered adventurer, a gypsy traveller staying in one place for more than a few weeks is not natural. What is the most likely thing I could do next?
In October 1990, the day after my final school exam, at the age of 18, I left home and began a life on the road, travelling the world for work, volunteerism, adventure and leisure.
I thought the years I spent walking around Australia would have somehow made stopping more desirable but it did the opposite. In fact, it cemented into my heart and mind how completely I am psychologically and emotionally wired for wayfaring. I get very sick, mentally, when I try stopping. The only careers I have flourished in are those which allow lots of travel, like working on ships or on the harvest trail.
While you may think I am living the dream, I often dreamed of settling down alone or into a relationship, with a career, living in a flat or apartment and having the same postal address every week. Several times I attempted this, for a year at a time but always, after 3 months, I became mentally ill. Now, in my late 40s, I know this is not for me.
In 2014, while walking across the Nullarbor, I decided the next adventure would be riding around Australia. That year I met many people cycling solo and as couples across and around Australia, some were riding around the world. I was loving my walk and didn’t for a day consider changing walking for riding before completing my circumnavigation but I was thinking of ideas for the next adventure, daydreaming.
One of my favourite quotes since my 20s is
“All [wo]men dream but not equally. Those who dream in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous [wo]men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” TE Lawrence
I am that dangerous dreamer who makes it possible and in 2017 I started paying off a Surly disc trucker touring bike.
Her name is Eva! Named after Eva Dickson, a great Swedish explorer and the first woman to drive across the Sahara. (I have no plans of emulating her adventures on a bike, yet)
Two months ago I picked up Eva in Adelaide from Bio Mechanics and Repairs, fitted out for touring. My parents bought a set of back panniers and I added a set to the front and for the last 2 months I have been adding all the essential bits and pieces to my touring set up to personalise it and make it as practical as possible without compromises. This will change as I go and learn a new form of human powered travel.
In Glenelg, Adelaide, on the 18th October I hope to start Roam 4 Eva, a 2 year 20,000km bike tour around Australia. It is named and voted for by facebook supporters, a play on roam forever using both our names.
It certainly will be a steep a learning curve, a shock to the body, especially the bum and a little bit scary being so close to traffic when on the sealed roads and close to towns. I am not completely new to bike touring, returning after 28 years, and remember how much I enjoyed multi day mountain bike and road touring as a teenager. Once my body adapts it will be a very enjoyable tour.
Enjoyment, fun, discovery and freedom are the main goals of Roam 4 Eva. I will be sharing the adventures along the way through Patreon, here on the blog, YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook and Instagram. Mostly it will be through Patreon where people can support what I do, I have nicknamed my supporters Team Roam! They will be roaming around Australia with me, receiving stories, photos, postcards, videos and copies of my books (like a pre-order) among other benefits in exchange for pledging a minimum of $2 per month for 3 months. There are 7 levels of support and I will be posting more about this soon.
Using fun and adventure Roam 4 Eva will also be a platform for promoting ethical, sustainable and responsible adventure travel through participation and support of conservation, cultural and community initiatives. In each region I will look for projects and initiatives to photograph, video and write about, people and groups I can interview and showcase Australia’s Natural beauty while travelling in the most sustainable way possible, by bike.
Roam 4 Eva is not a record setter or breaker. It is most likely I will be riding alone but my sister Linda, geocacher extraordinaire The Downunder Geocaching Adventures of No Tomorrow, might join me for a part of it in her 4X4/support vehicle and I wold love the company of other riders, especially social rides in towns.
It will be hashtagged #terraroams and #roam4eva and when it begins there will be an announcement about a social media game which everyone can play.