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Bikepacking the backwoods and beyond

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Do you remember that feeling way back when you learned to ride a bike? I had just begun school when I got my first bike. Day in and day out I would sit on the seat and push myself along the roadside curb with my right foot. My strides became longer and longer until one day I put caution to the wind and took my first pedal strokes. That day, the bike became my freedom machine. The world suddenly grew bigger, right in front of my tiny handlebars. I never looked back.

Those first wobbly pedal strokes made a lasting impact on me. The feeling of freedom, of riding to new places.

16 years old, I became more and more aware that our way of living was destroying our planet. I swore to fly as little as possible and never get a drivers license. And here I am, 30 plus years later, more sure than ever that the car is not for me.

If anything, my love for the humble bicycle is growing stronger as my beard is getting greyer. Where other people my age covet luxury cabins in the mountains, I’m still hunting that same simple joy of adventure that I experienced as a kid, the bliss of being outside, of seeing new places and revisiting old ones, the freedom to pitch my tiny tent or tarp wherever I want. The love of the hills, of going places using nothing but the power of my own legs. The love of the bike and its simple mechanics, so elegant and efficient at the same time.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car 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.

Ernest Hemingway

I’m a biologist, a writer and a photographer. A book reviewer once called me a professional vagabond. I take that as a compliment. My love for the outdoors and nature burns so strong in me that I made it my work to show others that you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to find adventure. Most of us can find it right at our doorstep. You just need an open mind.

I don’t count money. I count memories. The campfires, the feeling of seeing your kids grow up being confident in the outdoors, thriving in nature. The trips with my better half, with friends and family, the conversations, the starry nights and northern lights, the hooting owls, the shifting seasons, catching trout, swimming naked in the forest lakes, eating freshly picked blueberries on the breakfast porridge, harvesting fungi, laying on your back watching the clouds. All those moments that no money in the world can buy you. All you have to do is go.