Many people ask me the same questions all over. Most of the time I don't have an answer for them ready since I never thought about it. So here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
Aren't you scared of...?
You can not imagine how often people ask me this question in different forms!
Aren't you scared of getting robbed?
Aren't you afraid of getting kidnapped?
Aren't you afraid of those people over there? (That's a true one!)
I think you get it.
First of all I notice that the question is loaded. More often than not people ask if I'm not afraid of something and not if I'm afraid of. It might sound like a minor difference but I feel a big one. To me it sounds like they want me to be afraid.
Maybe it's just that the asking person is scared of the idea to do a trip like this and is projecting it on me. I think many people are just repeating this fear they heard from others. And sadly more often than not people are just xenophobic (see the last example).
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”
– James Michener
But to answer the question:
No I'm not afraid of getting robbed, kidnapped, stabbed, murdered or anything like this. But I'm afraid of the traffic. Actually travelers are most likely to die in a road accident while being abroad.
There are more diffuse fears I can not really pinpoint. It might be the fear of failing to reach Nepal in time. Not being up for the task.
In the end it comes down to tackle my fear.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Why are you doing this?
Well, that's a though one to answer. Really! I have so many reasons but struggle to put them into words.
One thing is that I want to see what lies between the two airports of ZRH and KTM. So let's call it pure curiosity.
I was in Nepal in 2011 for a school project and since then I wanted to go back. Looking back I realized that I was quite young when I went there. It was a wonderful and very educating experience but I think I was overwhelmed by it. A good reason to go back and re-experience it with a new perspective!
Another thing has to do with what Swiss society tells me every day. I feel that people living in Switzerland are becoming more and more narrow-minded, nationalistic and simply xenophobic. I'm shocked to see these trends within my family, at work, and in the study context. I strongly believe that meeting people from other cultures takes a lot of fear and therefore hatred away. Hence, this trip can be seen as a prevention against my own narrow-mindedness.
Why by bicycle?
First of all, it's a cheap way to travel. You don't need to have a super fancy bicycle. For most trips a slightly adapted city bike will suffice! You can pack everything you need on a bicycle. You are fast enough to cross countries that allow you to stay for a very limited amount of time (e.g. Turkmenistan). You travel environmentally friendly.
Some people ask me why I don't use a motorcycle. Well, traveling with a motorcycle requires wearing protective clothing, helmet, heavy boots, etc. I feel like this "armor" puts a barrier between strangers and myself. In contrast, my bicycle helmet doesn't look that intimidating. Another point is that the speed is higher and therefore the chance to miss something interesting is higher.
Other people ask me why I don't hike. For me it is probably too slow for a trip of this kind. Also the amount I would have to carry around is way to much. But there are people that are doing it!
During high school visited Nepal for a project. There I worked with CCODER the NGO that I support on this trip.
Now I want to visit the people and the places from that time again.
Why to Nepal?
I decided to travel alone to be able to ride my own pace.
An other reason is, that by traveling alone I have to connect with the local people much more. I don't have the comfort of speaking in my mothers tongue. I can't discuss my plans with a companion. Therefore I must do this with the people I meet on the road. Surely challenging but hopefully much more rewarding.
I actually have friends. Thanks.
Why do you travel alone?
Don't you have friends?
The money is collected during the duration of the trip and will be handed over to CCODER after my arrival in Nepal.
Why is the money not going directly to CCODER? As the Nepali bank charges comparatively high fees for international transactions, I collect the donations on the Swiss account first in order to make sure that the greatest sum possible arrives at CCODER.
Where does the money go that I donated?
This is my real life.
But besides cycling and sailing around the world I study mechanical engineering with a focus on bio-medical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).