How it all began

The beginning of this trip for me was the copious inspiration I felt after attending my very first ‘Explore’ weekend, at the Royal Geographical Society in 2011. The general premise of the weekend is to bring together adventurers and wannabe adventurers to share tips, tricks and stories during presentations and workshops.

Meeting Michael Palin at the  2011 Explore Weekend
Meeting Michael Palin at Explore 2011

Hattie and I met just a month previous to our first Explore, during our Freshers’ week at the University of Exeter. Thus, my initial memories of her is both of us having ridiculously big smiles and buzzing with excitement at ‘Explore’. We were in awe of all the people around us and absorbed countless tales of exciting expeditions around the globe. We even bumped into Michael Palin for a chat and, needless to say, it was an unforgettable weekend. I found myself wanting to go to the airport and jump on the first plane out of England! Alas, as we had just started our Zoology degrees this felt like a pretty impractical desire.

3 years later, and 3 more exciting Explore weekends under our belt, we have now both finished our degrees and ready to use this newfound free time for an adventure.

We decided that a cycling trip was what we wanted to do- it meant we kept things low cost, ecofriendly, relatively quick (yet slow enough to enjoy the scenery) & fun!

After discussing location ideas, we soon realised that neither of us had been to America so decided this would be ideal! Some of the other contributing reasons for the US were;

  1. Beautiful scenery (so we hope)
  2. They speak English – even if it is with a different accent & replacing words like ‘trousers’ with ‘pants’
  3. Bike friendly – plenty of people have done and are still doing bike trips around America (e.g. http://www.adventurecycling.org)
  4. Relatively safe – particularly for 2 girls travelling by bike
  5. Good phone/internet coverage (for concerned family and to track our movements)

We decided upon the Pacific coast as the route we’d like to take and, having always wanted to go to Vancouver, we decided to start the expedition there.

Therefore, 3 days after our last Explore weekend, Hattie & I booked one-way tickets to Canada. Our plan is to cycle down to California and work on organic farms along the way (known as WWOOF-ing).

We will arrive in Vancouver on the 2nd May 2015 and hope to spend a few days couchsurfing to check out the city before heading to our first organic farm!

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Skyping to plan the vague outline of our trip – exactly 9 weeks before departure

After that our only plan is to get on our bikes and start cycling! We’re leaving things as open as we feel possible so that we can have as much flexibility as desired whilst we’re travelling.

So with our final 9-week countdown just started, we’re extremely excited!

Rio

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How it all began