Bearfoot Gypsy

The Adventures of a Part Time Professional Gypsy (and her ginormous teddy thing)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sea Gypsy

I am the first to admit that I fail to adult.
And proud of it.

Every time I begin the job hunt or prepare to "settle down", I get whisked away on magical adventures to far away places I have never heard of (I never paid much attention in Geography)
by means I never dreamed I would dabble with.
(No, even though I fall into adventures seemingly elegantly, none of this was planned).

And that's why I found myself back in Sweden.
Neptune knew I was seeking gainful employment, and instead he threw this at me:

The beautiful Eilean of Rue.
She needed help relocating...

Now, for all of you who have never sailed and don't have salt pumping through your veins,
you have to realize that this passionate love of the ocean is not a choice, it's a disease:
That feel of the breeze on your face as your hair knots with joy.
Your heart races as you heel to the side, holding on as you slice through the water carried only on whispers of wind - across bays, across oceans, across the world...
It's the simplest existence.
It's mesmerizing.
It's a drug.
 Once you have tasted it, you have to have more.

And so, only hours after arriving in Stockholm, we set the sails, and were off.
Fortunately there were sights to see even at sea:

We sailed night and day. Day and night.
And didn't stop till the very tip of Sweden to shelter from a passing storm.
(it generally is so very much nicer being in a safe harbour when a storm strikes).

The calm of the after-storm.

After a few hours rest (and a shower) we continued.

We dodged tankers and cargo boats and tall ships and wind farms as we sailed around Denmark and into Germany.
I didn't know what traffic was until we reached the Kiel canal:

Boats before
Boats behind
Boats along side

Boats we're glad we dodged when rounding corners.
There were so many boats and so much wind that we needed a break and a beer and tied up in Rensburg.

Rensburg is a strange place.

What the flip?

The Kiel canal spat us out into the most spectacular sunset as we rounded the German bite into the Northern sea.

The sun came out and the seas calmed.
We sailed past the Netherlands and Belgium and France.
This, my friends, is what we call the high life!
(Although European summer really ought to be much warmer)

Now picture this with a cup of fresh roasted coffee in hand.
After surviving rush hour in the English channel (even those crazy swimmers were out)
the fog descended and the UK disappeared as we followed her shores.
Surreal eerieness as the sea became the sky.
We drifted.

With fuel levels critical, we were forced to sail into Falmouth.
But tacking your way through boats and buoys has its own set of joys.


All too suddenly, the adventure came to an end.
And while it's always horrible to end one epic (especially a boaty one)
you have to walk away from one journey to begin another.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Root of my Roots

When you kick off your shoes and put on some pedals, you will find that anything is in fact possible! 

You may have an old rickety bike.

You may camp alone in soggy fields.

You may spend far too much time hanging out with sheep.

But eventually you will arrive.

You too can find your windmill!

⇩⇩⇩ Here's my journey ⇩⇩⇩

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Definition of adventure

  1. 1a :  an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
    a book recounting his many bold adventures
    b :  the encountering of risks
    the spirit of adventure
  2. 2:  an exciting or remarkable experience
    an adventure in exotic dining They were looking for adventure.
  3. 3:  an enterprise involving financial risk
    wanted to pay off her debts before embarking on any new financial adventures

When was the last time you stepped out of the front [or back] door with absolutely no idea where you were heading? 
When was the last time you felt your stomach churning for you had no idea what you were doing?
When was the last time you were so excited you [almost] weed yourself?
Don't you think it's about time you went on an adventure?
You know, a journey of unplanned, unexpected, unfathomable epicness... 

But what if I'm not ready?

You'll never be ready for a real adventure, it's part of the definition.
Yes take some precautions, make sure you have water and toilet paper.
Don't stress.
Remember to breathe.
And then, once you've successfully tricked yourself into believing you're ready, run out the door.
Most of the stuff you think is important, you won't even need.
Trust me [I'm a gypsy]!

I started my last cycle tour without a bicycle.
I started walking, and I let it find me on the way.

You may not be as [seemingly] prepared as the next chap, but they're probably thinking the same about you!

Can you spot the subtle differences between the other cycle tourists I met along the way and my set up?

But where will I sleep?

Wherever you want!
Seriously, the world is your bedroom!

Take a tent. Find a haystack. Sleep under bridges
Couch Surf, Squat, use Tinder
Beaches, caves, trees, fields, barns, stranger's homes and gardens...
There will always be somewhere for you to rest your weary head.
And if the above list fails, there are always hostels, palaces, and hotels.

A Lekeberg lake, Sweden

A fragrant field of manure, Sweden

A friendly farm. Germany

A forest lake, Sweden

In a field of flowers, Sweden

Living it up on a pile of hay, Northern Germany

In a field of wind turbines, Germany

On some vacant lawn of a wealthy upper-class suburb, Sweden

What if it rains?

It will.
You will dry.

What if I get lonely?

When you head out on adventure there may be times you feel completely lost and alone.
You will often wish that you had someone to talk to, to share experiences and challenges with.
But throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and into the mercy of the world will lead you to some of the most fantastic humans you can[t] imagine.

These legends at iRecycle (Stockholm) gave me laughs, kitted me out with a bicycle, and coated me with hope for the adventure that lay ahead.

My first flat tyre led me to meet my new Iranian friend and a BBQ and a trance party and pizza.

There will be other adventurers of the road too!

And you never know when it might be a friendly refugee or an elderly person [or both] that will take you in for fika (Swedish tea time)

You might run into old friends along the way

Or you may be accosted on the side of the highway and be forced to party and laugh and sing with strangers.

A friendly stranger may see you struggling and simply pick up your 50+ kg bicycle and carry it up the stairs for you.

What happens if something goes wrong?

It will. 
And normally quite badly. 
You can prepare for everything, but there will ALWAYS be something you never thought of. 
There might be tears and a bit of spilled milk/ blood/ or self-shitting, but things going wrong are proof that you are in fact on an actual adventure.
Besides, you need the bad times to remind you how awesome the good really is.

What if I get lost?

This is when adventures are at their best!
You are often far away from where you ought to be, but you will find you are always exactly where you need to be.


What about money?

What about living?
Seriously, you really don't need much to explore.
It's up to you how comfortable you want your trip to be.
You can budget for hotels and fine dining restaurants.
But you can also free camp and cook your own [delicious] meals.
Travelling by bicycle or by thumb are basically free.
But you can also take cars, motorbikes, buses, trains and private planes...
You could spend millions.
But you can also survive seven weeks on $13.70 (tried and tested)

What if I don't need an adventure?
Don't be ridiculous!
Everyone needs an adventure.
Everyone needs to be challenged.
Everyone needs to push themselves to realize what their bodies are capable of.
If you don't ever leave your comfort zone, how will you grow?

Take the first step.
Start your adventure NOW.
You will find what you need along the way.

If you're still not convinced, watch this: