Powered by RedCircle

Vedangi Kulkarni (Endurance athlete)

On Today’s Podcast, we are talking with Vedangi Kulkarni and Endurance Cyclist and Adventurer.
In 2018, she rode 29,000km around the world in 159/160 days becoming the youngest woman to have cycled around the world. Today on the podcast we speak about her childhood in India and moving to the UK. What inspired her and of course the highs and lows of her incredible round the world trip.

Vedangi’s Website

Vedangi’s Instagram

Video Podcast

ame width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/bDgufM1

Latest Podcast Episodes

  • lucy-shepherd-podcast
  • mike-corey
  • elise-wortley-iran

Transcript of our Conversation

Vedangi Kulkarni

[00:00:00] Vedangi Kulkarni: Hello, and welcome to the modern adventurer podcast coming up. And a couple of guys in a motorcycle. They pushed me off my bike and one of them was taking stuff from my bags and stuff. And the other one like held me and there was a knife like right here. And when you can see the knife and the edge of it shining, suddenly your life flashes in front of you.

And you do realize what you actually want out of what you’re experiencing. Well, what I wanted was to be alive, basically.

if you’ve enjoyed the podcast so far, please feel free to subscribe because we have some incredible guests coming up week after week. Today we have [00:01:00] an amazing guest. She has done some incredible stuff. She became the youngest female to cycle around the world. She has some crazy stories to tell, and I am delighted to introduce to the podcast.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me absolute pleasure. Well, great to have you on. And you’ve got quite the story to tell. I mean, you you’ve cycled around the world. You were the youngest female to ever cycle around the world. And I mean, I kind of wait to hear it, but let’s, let’s start at the beginning and about you and how you sort of got into this adventurous.

Cool. Ah, it’s, it’s quite well, thank you for the kind words to start with. And as far as my adventurous life is concerned, it wasn’t always like that. But what I can definitely say is that I, my parents have always been [00:02:00] incredibly supportive with my strange life decisions. And they’ve always kind of, we, I grew up traveling a lot, so every time, so in, in my culture, there’s quite a few there’s quite a few kind of festivals and stuff.

So, you know, things that call for a holiday, a school holiday or whatever. So me and my parents used to go for I dunno, we used to drive across the country and stuff just to see places and experience the journey and, you know, just have a good time. And they were never really, my parents were never really strict about the grades and stuff.

They were more cared about the fact that, you know, was I growing up to be a good person, you know, that sort of thing. And I think that was really cool about them. And that meant that they were more [00:03:00] open to new opportunities and they’re yeah, just really open-minded in general. And yeah, I distinctly remember that one of the, my first kind of memory of traveling with my parents was when we were all on the moped actually, and I used to live in like a mountainous kind of region and I was standing.

So I was like tiny and the three, four, whenever your first memories are from, and I was standing in front, you know, where you’re meant to keep it, like your bags and stuff. I was standing there. My, my mom was riding that mood kid and my dad was sitting behind and yeah, like we are traveled for like hundreds of miles like that.

And then eventually my parents made like a little seat in front there for me and yeah. Then my mom eventually bought a motorbike [00:04:00] and she used to take me to some incredible places on a motorbike and bear in mind for a woman riding a motorbike. It was kind of like a taboo. So. Kind of not just riding a motorbike bar, you know, taking me, her child with her and, you know, it was deemed risky.

And my mom was more than happy with taking that risk because she was like, this is fun. And I want my daughter to grow up, to know that, you know, women can do cool things. And that was incredible. This was in the, this was in the mountainous region of India. Yes, basically when I say mountainous, we lived on a platoon close to us.

They were like really high mountains. So the region that I lived in. It was basically back in the day, there were many forts and on the top of big mountains around there, and yeah, so my dad used to work abroad and every time he came [00:05:00] back so one month on one month off. So he used to work in the middle of oceans and stuff.

So that one month of that, he used to be with us. We would make the most out of it and go places. And just, I don’t know, we would go for hikes. We would just, you know, have different sorts of experiences. So one of the wildest things, I remember which now when I think about the only like wild, it was just like something that meant a lot to my family was more, more like me and my parents used to love watching this.

Bollywood film. And I, I think it was the film was released when I was like two or three years old. But when I was like growing up, we used to watch that a lot. And then when I was like 13 or 14, I said to my parents that I want to go to go and see where the film was filmed, you know, and was like, I want to see the set and everything.

And it turned out the set was in the middle of nowhere in one end of good [00:06:00] giraffe and like run off Kutch. And it’s like salt Plains kind of thing. And you’d drive in the middle to that. And it’s beautiful. And, and to get to that place was a nightmare. All car was not equipped for that amount of off-road driving.

My mom pulled it through, you know, she took us there and I remember. Me. And my dad was so like, oh my God, that’s where that happened. And that’s what that scene was filmed. And, you know, it was beautiful and it was really cool. Yeah, no, and I think buckets, I think I bought brought all of the stuff that I learned from that experience and those experiences into the UK when I came here.

But before we get to that phase, one last thing would be that the defining moments that kind of, I don’t know, played a part in getting me where I am [00:07:00] is actually I went for this short trip in the Himalayas with my ex-boyfriend and I met some really incredible people there who have done like race across America and stuff like that.

But this guy, he is now like a really kind of someone I look up to is my mentor. And he was like, Hey, you’re really good at the cycling thing. Have you considered doing that? The full rate, the full rate goes from monopoly across these, you know, four or five mountain passes to lay, which is like the capital of the dark retrain and then, or the biggest city in Ladakh region anyway.

And then you can go to Srinagar and it’s like a really long road and you know, you could do it. And then he was part of still association of India, but I was allowed to join the group expedition because I was [00:08:00] 17. You need to be at least 18 to do that. So as it turned out, I just joined it by myself.

So I didn’t, I didn’t go with the group instead. I went by myself and my parents were like in the car, they were like, you know, 10 miles somewhere around doing that thing. And I told them that the only time I want to really see you is when I set my camp up and otherwise I’m going to be by myself. And I think that experience of being in the Himalayas and knowing, trying to understand my place in the world and, you know, just kind of being alone in the mountains at very high altitudes and understanding what’s around me, that was an interesting experience, which really kind of, yeah.

Which is where it all started really well. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. You had such, as I say, supportive parents growing up. Because as [00:09:00] we were speaking on the podcast before, very rarely, especially at such a young age I would have thought parents might have been persuading that kids to sort of move in another direction.

And so having such supportive parents at such a young age probably gave you that platform to really express yourself and to pursue these adventures, which, you know, other people might sort of be slightly afraid of. Would you say? Yeah, I think that’s definitely true. And the interesting part is that my parents, weren’t just kind of supportive in a way that right.

If you’re doing this way, so go do what you like. They actually kind of encouraged that in a way. So like, they, they were proud of me for doing something different. And even [00:10:00] now, when I find myself in, in some really odd places in my mind where I’m like, I just called my dad and I’m like, this was a mistake.

This is not happening. I’m not earning enough money. I’m not getting enough support. I’m like, I’m just, I’m just in this what in this country by myself and not getting it. And my dad’s like, I’m proud of you for having those experiences and for where you are. And I’m proud of you for going beyond your comfort zone and no, like restarting your whole life in a new country and doing what you do.

And he, he hasn’t just been the person who’s like, oh no, we’ll be fine. He actually makes me understand that. Where I am, I should, I’m extremely privileged to be in that position. So, you know, make the most out of it rather than, rather than playing yourself down all the time and just kind of, you know, being too hard on yourself, I suppose.

Yeah. [00:11:00] I was actually just thinking about one of my trips and when, when I was down, I had like horrific injuries, food poisoning, everything, and like absolutely shocking. I remember calling my father and he just said, well, you better carry on

which at the time was not probably what I wanted to hear, but it was probably, it was almost certainly the right thing. But now as you say, just having that sort of support system with it I imagine was a massive help. And so you moved to the UK. What, how old were you when you moved to the UK? I, I had just turned 18 and when I say just turned 18, it was within a week of my birthday.

So on 12th of September, I turned 18 on 17th of September, I took my flight and yeah, the first thing I did when I arrived was to put my bike together [00:12:00] because priorities put my bike together and I was like, so what’s this bone with the university thing. So what’s the deal with having different campuses?

How does this work? And I think I had imagined something really different. So when I taught about different campuses, I thought it’s just two buildings next to each other. And I’m going to the building of the lift instead of the building on the road. That was how I envisioned instead it turned out it’s like on the other end of the town, almost that sort of thing.

And I was like, that’s insane. Like. Beyond what I had imagined of like a university being like, and then it was such a culture shock, everything. Everything was like, because bear in mind. I, I landed, I had this bike bag, buy books with me. I had suitcase and a big, like massive rock [00:13:00] sack with me. Like the mountaineering one.

And I got there and I was like, so what was born then? How do I get there? And I got to bond with station and I was like, so what’s Bosco. Like how, how do I get to that place? And this is a big place and everything looks so different. Like the roads are different. You have to press this button to cross the road.

Like, what’s the deal with that? And it was kind of like that. And Then even like taking a taxi and you know, how British people kind of have that banter in like, you know, every, every now and again. I just didn’t understand the, I remember, I remember the taxi guy said something like, oh, big books. I must be a hook.

There isn’t a body in it. I got so scared. I got so scared. I thought he was accusing me of something and all God. Oh, [00:14:00] I remember that. And I’m so embarrassed because I was so scared long. Anyway, yeah. First thing I did was put my bike together and go to find wherever my university was and get incredibly shocked that there was more than one building at one campus.

And there were like multiple buildings, which were called different things and different buildings, all for different things. And that isn’t just like one massive building and then sections of it, it was just, yeah, just difference. It was like massive the, the, the campus and I just couldn’t fathom it. And then that’s like, okay, so what’s this lectural thing.

And just going in there and realizing that it’s like a movie theater, I’m like, yeah, I’ve only been to like three movies, like in a cinema kind of thing. But that’s how I felt because I’ve never known anything, but her, so it was really strange. Yeah. [00:15:00] Knowing that the university doesn’t run from like, you know, I don’t know, seven in the morning to 12 in the afternoon, or like nine in the afternoon to four in the evening, I was shocked that you actually have like a series of lectures.

At different times of the days and you just attend them and find a place to hang around. And it was really strange, just kind of being a foreigner in this country and say guys, so you sort of had a massive you know, wake up culture shock to the UK. I was at the idea behind sort of cycling around the UK.

So no, no, absolutely not. So, okay. Basically I was really struggling to make friends and genuinely struggling. And I, as someone from a very different culture, I didn’t know where the boundary was. You know, [00:16:00] between people being nice to you and people actually meaning what they’re saying and you know, being friends.

So if someone said we should totally catch up and have a cup of tea, you should come over. At some point I would actually go over and there were only trying to be, you know, polite. They didn’t actually mean it. So I was struggling with all of those things and really struggling to actually like, you know, make good friends, which I understand now that it takes time.

But at the time as someone I felt incredibly lonely. So I took up cycling for long distances and I didn’t take it up. I used to ride from Bournemouth to Exeter, stay somewhere under a bus shelter or something strange like that, and then ride back the next day. Or like, I would just write to some odd places that I would see in the map and be like, oh, I wonder what this place is like, or that place is like, and I would just ride there.

I would stay somewhere, come back and be like, and just like kind of slip it into [00:17:00] conversations with people, you know, kind of be like, oh yeah, I went to exit. I wrote to Exeter and back the other weekend and it would be like you did what? And even I didn’t realize that I exited was actually quite far and it’s quite hilly along the way.

All I knew I had a, my bike, I think it’s like a hundred quid. Like I got it from India and that’s like a hundred quid bike. And for me it was the best bike ever because it had taken me across Himalayas and, you know, I was like stoked about it. And then my mentor from India, he suggested, suggesting was like, have you heard of London in London?

It’s an Audax event. It’s 1400 kilometers. You’ve got five days to do it. And I was like, I’m signing up. I’m signed up for it and realize that I actually need to train for it because it’s a long distance. So. Oh, part of my training was this 400 kilometer ride. So I was going to [00:18:00] go from Bournemouth to London and back instead when I started off with that ride and there are nine, I had a saddle pack, the upper dura, 17 liter one, and a backpack with me.

And there wasn’t much like there was no sleeping gear. There was this clothes and water and shit, tons of food that I probably didn’t even need. And I didn’t, I don’t even have a proper puncture, a packet. That’s what we talking was unprepared left and right. As, as things go, my bike had something wrong with it.

So in this small village called Bentley and Hampshire was fixing my bike, got into a conversation with a really kind of really like mazing lady and got invited to, you know, sleep over at hers and was telling stories to her daughter and her family. And it was, it was really cool. And then I [00:19:00] asked where I’m going and I was like, right.

Aren’t concert. I’m only going back to bone meds now. I’m can I, so I just pointed to two undergrads on the map and that was that I didn’t learn the route. I didn’t know how to get to John O’Groats. I taught reading was pronounced as reading and I just thought it would be a good idea. So. That’s how the whole kind of writing across from Bournemouth to journal groves happened.

And even like the word journal Rhodes, it was something, I, it didn’t make sense to me, you know, it was that like, I was like, oh, wow, that’s a strange word. It would be fun to say it out loud. That’s how, like, you know, it’s I know it sounds like really bizarre, but that’s actually how it was. That’s how stupid I was to just be like, oh, that looks funny.

That also looks like [00:20:00] end of the country. Or I wonder if I can ride there. Cool. I’m going to ride there and just pointed out at all of the major cities along the way. And yeah, got there in the end. Through some incredibly strange experiences, like sleeping in the bus shelters, knocking on random people’s doors, hoping someone would yeah.

Put me up for the night. Didn’t know that’s not how you do within this country, but you know people are kind, what can I say? Like, and again, like at the time I really was that dumb foreigner who doesn’t understand anything or who can’t even speak English. I had a very strong accent. Like I didn’t speak properly.

So, you know, I couldn’t even speak in proper kind of, I don’t know. I didn’t have any consistency in the way I spoke English, [00:21:00] if that makes sense. And I couldn’t understand other people either. So that kind of added to the whole experience. So yeah, I happened to meet someone who had auditioned for the same Blvd film that I had auditioned for.

She got, she, she had played this I don’t even remember she had played a wrestler and I had auditioned for a part playing opposite her. But yeah, I hadn’t got it by the way. Well, I think it’s that I think to do this, you need a sort of slight sense of naivety because otherwise, if you think otherwise you, if you go knowing everything, I don’t think, I think, and you go with a sense of all the sort of horror stories that you usually get told about you wouldn’t get started and to have that and to have that [00:22:00] sort of sense, naivety, I think really helps because I think people work off that and that is why in a sense sometimes why people are so kind, maybe they saw pithy on me when I did it, but But I, I think it also helps slightly having that.

And so how long, what was the, you sort of slept in bus shelters while camped, I mean, kind of, what are some of the stories, any sleeping kit? No, it was now when I think about it now, my job is planning, expeditions and adventures, or, you know, managing other people’s expeditions, assessing risks and marketing and stuff.

And now when I think about it, I’m like everything I did then was against everything I would suggest to the people to do now. But having that wild edge is [00:23:00] something that we all need in spite of all the planning. But yeah, it’s interesting that but that was also the beginning of my. Bigger dream of getting around the world in hundred days which also by the way, the a hundred days, but then it happens, but we’ll get there.

When I was writing to John or growths, obviously I didn’t have anyone other than my parents and a few Facebook friends to report back to about how my days are going. So I just felt incredibly lonely. So reading a book called this road, I ride by Juliana Buring. And that was where I found out about this recorded about, you know, getting around the world, circumnavigating the world on bicycle, like, wow, that’s also a thing.

[00:24:00] Is it something that I want to do? Is that something that I can do and would this whole kind of. Questioning if that was something I wanted to do. And if I could do, I would like just read more and more of a book along the way. And as I got to journal Brits, I had finished the book. I was just sitting there and thinking to myself how, none of what I’ve done had been planned, how none of what I had done had been trained for, and still we made it across the fucking country.

So what are we waiting for? We can probably do more than this. So the next kind of progression to that for me, was riding my bike around the world. And that’s where the dream came from. And yeah, that was where it all started. How much planning did it sort of take to get that [00:25:00] expedition off the ground?

Well, a lot, a lot, a lot more than I was prepared for. And a lot more than almost prepared for, with a lot less patients than I think I have now let’s put it that way many, many months. And I didn’t know many people in the industry. Oh, many people. I didn’t know any people in the industry. Sorry. I just knew that I, I had a big dream and I was very tiny and I needed to train for it.

So my university took PTO on me, probably like probably I did that bit out. My, my university was incredibly helpful in, in setting up the training resources for me. So was a personal trainer and all that, but being strong enough to do something, doesn’t ensure that you do it. [00:26:00] You need to have money for it.

You need to know how to put yourself out there. And my way of doing that was DM-ing thousands of people who I taught with no more than I do. And just asking them questions and learning from them. So mark Magowan, for example, I met him, I, I wrote to Kendall mountain festival from Boone mid I, well, I wrote to Kendall to meet him and talk to him about this.

And he was incredibly helpful with helping me understand what I need to have in place to pull something like this off. And that was so helpful. And I remember it was quite surreal. It was. Him, Sean Conway and myself like brewery art center. And I didn’t even like beer, but I had quite a few of those.

And I was just like, I can’t believe this is happening because if I’m talking to this about [00:27:00] these if I’m talking about this to these legends, I actually have to do it. And then yeah, eventually I, I, it was hardware getting their funds together because I at sense, 512 or something like that, emails and only 12 of them got back with a positive response probably in total.

Not more than 30 people got back full stop. So it did take that much effort, but that was because I knew nothing about which brands to approach, what research to do. And, and, and what questions to ask how to present myself to certain brands and how am I unique in what I’m doing and how can actually make a point of that?

I knew none of that, all I knew is that, oh, I have a dream which is still, you know, riding a bike around the world. I don’t have a track record. I’ve [00:28:00] only like ridden my bike kind of across the Himalayas and across the UK. But again, like that’s not a big deal and I just played everything down. I didn’t, I didn’t understand even a little bit how to make it sound like something at all, or, you know, so it was, it was very hard to be prepared for this and.

At some point I ran out of money and my dad was, my dad had to help me, which was incredibly embarrassing, but at the same time very generous of him. So, yeah. And so you took off what from the UK to cycle around the world? No. So one of my incredibly steep I’m I love to say that one of my knots or good decisions was to start and finish in Australia.

I don’t know why I called that. It was just really random. I was like, I want to go to Australia [00:29:00] and I’m going to have to go there anyway. So why don’t I just start and finish that? When else am I going to get to enjoy the country? I’ll tell you later why it was not a great idea to finish there. Anyway, it started from PERT across Australia Perth to Brisbane fleet, to Wellington, Wellington, to Auckland across Northern Ireland of New Zealand, flee to Vancouver and took an incredibly exact route across Canada into Halifax.

And yeah, I realized I wasn’t going to get a us visa. So I had to like cover more distance than I should have in, in, in, in Canada anyway to Halifax and then Iceland. But then I couldn’t go all the way across Iceland because of an accident. So. Portugal to Portugal, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, [00:30:00] Russia.

Russia was only from the finished border to UFA. And then from there I flew to India and did this weird route across India. And then from there there, I had finished 29,000 kilometers 18,000 miles. So from there I flew back to Australia. So that was the route. Wow. And I mean, God, it’s amazing. Cause we had mark Beaumont on the podcast and he was talking about sort of logistics of around the world cycle and sort of getting it sort of officiated by the Guinness book book of records.

And just sort of, as you say, the sort of logistics behind it, was it, was it more of a, an experience or was the record important to you? At the time, it was very important, but when I had already started, I did some stuff that so like, you know, stuff, like [00:31:00] at some point I just stopped caring about my log book.

I still had it. And I still took the signatures when I was just like very kind of reluctant to if that makes sense or even stuff like like not kind of bothering to backup my data and stuff like that. That meant that like yeah, I don’t know. So it meant a lot to me the actual record bit, but some stuff happened to me on the way, which made it obvious that I wasn’t going to get it.

So halfway I was in 55 days and 9,020 miles I had done in 55 days. And I only realized when I was asked about it, that I actually don’t have. Consistent evidence that, so one thing that really bothered me was the spot tracker. It just made me incredibly aware and incredibly less adventurous. Like it just [00:32:00] reduced the whole fun factor for me.

So I just turned it off. I was like, I was just like, fuck it. And obviously that’s not the way to go, but go and tell that to the 19 year old me, like, you know, she took some weird decisions and yeah, whatever. So I, at the time, even if the record meant so much for me, I almost expected to get the, get, get it without actually Bearing to the consequences of it, like actually having that pressure of the spot tracker actually having the kind of pressure of oh shit, I need to bucket this up or, oh shit, I need to take the signature.

And then again, next time, like when I stopped somewhere, I’ll have to get it there. And then again, and you know, all of that was just like overwhelming because also another thing to remember was that in some parts of the world [00:33:00] until films huh, offered to like support with some filming. But again, my attempt was unsupported.

So what ended up happening was that I selected a couple of people. One of them was like a friend of mine to join the film career and kind of, you know, film some bits of this ride. And what actually ended up happening was that they joined, but I was doing the logistics for most of it. So that meant that it was just.

Overwhelming to say the least. And and one thing I had learned was that I can either have fun and strictly have fun, or I can, I can actually like also remember the other stuff and actually like, take that pressure. So until the halfway point I was doing both very well. And then [00:34:00] Spain happened in Spain.

I’m not sure if I’ve told, like, if you’ve heard about the story before, but I got mugged at knife point. So I w I was, I was riding late in the evening and a couple of guys in a motorcycle. They pushed me off my bike and one of them was taking stuff from my bags and stuff. And the other one like held me and, and there was a knife, like right here.

When you can see the knife and the edge of it shining, suddenly your life flashes in front of you, and you do realize what you actually want out of what you’re experiencing. Well, what I wanted was to be alive basically. But anyway eventually we found that well, we, I, it was just me, there wasn’t a soul crew at that point, but at that point I was like, this is really fucked.

I was looking at the license plate of the motorbike [00:35:00] and I was memorizing the numbers, but what ended up happening was they took what they had to pushed me along the edge of this road. I fell off headfirst. And then I heard a tug, which I later found out was my bike falling on me. And I think I was unconscious for, I don’t know how long, but I got up and.

Whenever I got up, I kind of, I was like, shit, that’s my bike. And then I was like, it’s my frame back still there. And it was, I kind of pulled my head tote out of there because when you’re essentially living on your bike, you know, where everything is, isn’t there. So I pulled my head torch off on out and found my way back to the road.

Walked to this gas station. Must’ve been like five or so kilometers. And so a good kind of hour, if not more. And [00:36:00] this guy must’ve felt incredibly bad for me because he literally just shut everything there. And he was like, right. We need to like help you that sort of thing. So he took me for a coffee to this place like behind, it was like a motel kind of place.

So my, my lips were bleeding. My nose was bleeding and there were like, I was basically like a big breeze. I was not looking. You know and I didn’t remember much at all. I just remembered this number that I was memorizing to keep fear away as much as I could. So I was never, I had to remember this number.

We started with B six and I kept repeating it to this guy and he didn’t understand that thing, but this family was like, oh, that’s a number of a motorcycle. Like, you know, the structure of the numbers is like of a motorcycle. Anyway, they were [00:37:00] like, they, they encouraged me to report it, which I did. I was taken to a hospital where he found out that I had concussion.

I couldn’t keep much food down. I couldn’t kind of drink properly. My head hurt quite a bit. I couldn’t balance much on my bike. I was just like really in a bad place. And yeah, at that point I just decided that I wasn’t going for the, I wasn’t going for the fastest record anymore. And also like I got back on the road within the next 48 hours.

Well, within the next 40 hours wasn’t going for the record anymore. It was taking, I was going incredibly slow, staking me so long to get anywhere. And I, I just felt really rough for housings of my health after that really, because bear in [00:38:00] mind I was doing it took me. I remember the first time I did a hundred kilometers after the concussion incident was within a week of that.

Yeah. That took me eight hours because I could climb, could do the climbs, but I couldn’t do the downhills. I just couldn’t balance. Like if someone home took me, I would get out of the road and I would cry. I cried so much. Like I now get bruises under an, over my eyes if I cry a lot because I don’t know.

Like, I think it’s from that because I’d broken my news or something. It’s, it’s insane how much I had cried in those, in those few days or once after that. Yeah, after that I decided to continue. And then, then I took another fun decision to, to instead of resting for eight days until my Russian [00:39:00] visa was there in Finland.

I was like, no, I don’t want to rest rest. So I went to the Arctic circle. I took a plane to Volo took a bus to Inari and then like went for a hike in the forest there with my friends kind of backpack and left my bike at my friend’s mom’s house. And just, yeah, I was just like, yeah, I’m just going to learn how to deal with the snow and how to survive in this note from the people that I meet over there which I did, and yeah.

Then came back, got my Russian visa cycled in through Russia and winter, which was a real interesting experience. And yeah, definitely something I won’t forget in a hurry. Yeah. We had Julie Stewart on who cycle through Siberia and he said, you know, the temperatures drops so low in [00:40:00] that area and. It’s really in hospitable.

And for, from there, I mean, you were what you got through Russia and then flew to India. Is that right? Yeah. So I went from the Finnish and Russian border road all the way to UFA from there. And then, yeah, one of the interesting experiences actually, before I get to the India bed, was that a five star hotel offered to host me for free just because I called them up from outside Moscow.

And I told them what I was doing. And I told them that I need a place to stay. And I just lived that you a hotel in Somara and I’m like, you know, can I get a booking and something like that? I don’t remember what I said, but I knew they spoke English. And at that point I could only speak people. [00:41:00] It, I could only expect people in cities to speak English at that point, because I learned that soon enough that in the rural areas, people wouldn’t quite know English.

And I got to Somara and there were these very well-dressed people applauding as I walked up my bike up this kind of stairway, and as it turned out, and then the minute I stopped, they stopped and they took stuff off my bike and I was like, oh wait, they were clapping for me. Oh, thank you. I was literally like that.

Initially I had thought there was like a Russian celebrity or something behind, but apparently not. And they baked me this beautiful cake and, and the, it had written, we believe you can do it. And that was so nice, like really [00:42:00] nice. And they, they offered me, they also need hot tub and stuff. And like, you know, they offered me their best room, gave me a lot of food, which I needed at that point, like, you know and they were incredibly kind to me and yeah, I’ll never forget that experience.

So that was really cool. And then I obviously continued my ride to UFA and from UFA flee to flew to India. And then yeah, there was a road I don’t even remember. Was it five times? I’m a sixth year. Somewhere in between kilometers in India. And that was interesting because I had been by myself for so long.

Like when you have written 24, 20 5,000 kilometers by yourself, and you’ve been in your own head for so long and suddenly you’re in a country that you recognize [00:43:00] places, recognize language and recognize people in. And I can’t even describe how it felt. My parents said they would again, drive in like 5,200 kilometer radius.

And they were like, you can decide where you want to stay and you know, you can do your own payments and do that. We weren’t like support, support you, but we, we need to know that you’re okay because you have almost died thrice in the life. Three months. So I thought that was fair because once I got changed by a bear second time to hold thingy, you know, with with the with the horrible people in Spain, her, well, when would the people imaged me that?

And and at the finished Russian border, I had like I, I kind of pulled something that didn’t quite work. I [00:44:00] told them that I gave them a passport and a visa and they asking for money and I said, I’m not going to give them any money. And they were like, insisting that they wouldn’t let me until without money without like giving them some money.

And I was like, I’m going to call my lawyer. And I didn’t even have any signal or a SIM card for that matter. And I just pretended to call someone and I was speaking to them. Very loudly kind of trying to make a statement that, you know, fuck you, let me in kind of thing. And then yeah, they had to let me in because they thought I was going to see them or something and yeah, but because of kind of a few of those experiences and also the fact that I had lung infection back in back in Canada.

So that didn’t help either. So like, because my parents knew all those things now they were like, gosh, like, oh, we just want to make sure she pulls it through like, you know, India so that she has actually done what she wants to. So they were like, you know, they were [00:45:00] supportive, but not increasingly like, you know, they weren’t allowed to be, oh, I was just like, stay away from me, but it’s good that you’re there.

But then there was also really strange mentally because of the familiarity and. Just knowing that, that I wasn’t all by myself, that was really strange. But yeah, then I finished on Christmas Eve in Australia. And that was bizarre. So I had run out of my Australian visa within the last week of my ride through India.

And then I had to apply for like an emergency visa, which arrived. I got my visa on my way to the airport. So I had booked my flight without having a visa in place, living life on the edge. What can I say? And yeah, then I got my visa reached Australia on Christmas Eve. And it was [00:46:00] literally just my parents and me and the like Marathi community kind of center there.

And like, no kind of. Friends or like that sort of thing, which I would have loved to have at the finish line, because I was looking forward to that part so much. And for so long on Christmas day, everything was closed, everything was closed. So instead I just sat with my dad in that hotel. And the hotels power actually, and just, we told the hotel what, like I had just come back from.

So we had an open tab for like cocktails. So I had quite a few of those that was literally my that was Christmas day, 2018. Now your trips, I mean, it’s just a absolutely incredible [00:47:00] story. And you need that sort of time in the Russian hotel with them sort of putting you up and putting on a show.

Well, what, what were the sort of other moments that really stuck out to you from that trip? Oh, okay. Day two. Oh Friday and I I’m already writing through some terrain that feels like I’m in the middle of nowhere in Australia seeing approaching Nullarbor, we’re quickly approaching the liberal. And there’s a guy who had like silhouette teeth and, and very gangster.

Relook is driving in this truck with his mate. I want to say anyway, I’m writing and he’s throwing cans of coconut. Like, you know, offering me that as a search, like whilst we were both kind of, I was riding and he was driving, I caught it, [00:48:00] but it’s in my pocket, kept riding and then he throws another can of Coke at me.

And I’m like, cool. Okay, this guy’s nice. I get it put in my pocket, keep going. And after four cans of Coke, he signals me to stop. So I’m like, fuck. Now I have to stop. We don’t like, you know, sometimes you’re looking at people and when you’re by yourself and when you’re in the middle of nowhere, mostly bad things run through your mind.

At least they did at that point because probably I had to be a little judgmental to protect myself at that point. So stopped. And the guy tells me that he has been in prison before, and he tells me that he’s got like guns and stuff with. Then he proceeds to give me a lot of hugs and a lot of high-fives every other sentence.

And yeah, he just [00:49:00] looks and sounds very like gangstery. And then when I’m sneaking, I taken my phone out of the pocket. He takes my phone from me, dialed his number and calls on his own phone and then gives me a phone back and say, now you have my number. If any motherfucker troubles you on the one you call then he called us family.

And and then he had me talk to them and introduced me to his daughters and his wife, and took photos with me. And it was incredibly kind. And he kept checking in on me, like over the next few days. And yeah, interesting man, but never judge a book by its cover, as they say. And he was only looking out for me as it turned out and, you know, just being incredibly nice.

Wow. It is amazing. Those sort of [00:50:00] stories. And as you say, some of the people along the way on these trips, that one does is incredible. Do you what was the sort of motivation because you went through quite a few hardships, what was the sort of motivation and the back of your head that sort of kept you going.

You know, after you’d been mugged and be beaten in Spain, a lot of people might’ve thought of quitting. What was in the back of your mind that kept you going? Was it the mates vacation to break the record or to complete the circuit of around the world? It wasn’t, it definitely wasn’t to break a record anymore.

I’ll tell you that right now. What it was at that point was that I had nowhere else to go. My UK visa had expired. My parents lived in Oman. I didn’t want to go to [00:51:00] India or, well, there was no specific that I could go to India. And I, I don’t when I told her of home, I thought of my, like of the student’s house in the UK, where all my friends were.

So the home for me in that moment, Was where I was and what I was doing. So I had to get back into that to feel comfortable again and believe me when you’re concussed. And when you decide to keep writing, you need to find something comfortable, something, anything. So for me, it was just talking to my friends for hours and hours on end on phone, whilst writing, counting frogs on the road, dead frogs on the road, or like, you know, like some really strange things, just, you know, some, and again, like I’m wanted to continue because I need that.

If [00:52:00] I did know I was going to get to a place which was darker inside of my own head and I had no idea how long it would take for me to get out of there if I didn’t continue. And I know like right now, so. How many years has it been? Two and a half years after finish. The only thing I regret is not having enough collective evidence of my ride.

If I hadn’t done, if I hadn’t finished it, I would have had bigger regrets. I would have regretted not having completed it. I would have re I would have hated myself for it. And that’s just how much I knew myself, which pushed me to keep going. And because I knew that when I’ll be back, it will be a story to tell.

And I knew that it wasn’t going to be all bad. So I know cycling in winter sounds awful in Russia, but [00:53:00] when I got there, yes, it was cold and miserable for a lot of fit. But when it wasn’t riding in the night, it was just incredible, shiny snail while around. With only like the black light to focus on and sort of black light, white light to focus on in the dark.

And it just kind of, every time I like think about it, I see exactly what I was seeing then. And it, I don’t regret that at all. I would have felt really bad if I hadn’t done it, you know, or even the Arctic experiences that I had in the middle of my when, when my Russian visa was being processed, like it would have been horrible if I hadn’t done that.

Like I would’ve, I would have not felt good about myself now. And earlier when we were talking about the incomplete feeling in yourself [00:54:00] By not doing certain things or by not having done certain things and then pushing yourself and doing those things and finding out who you actually feel about it.

Like, I think that’s what kind of motivated me because until I was done with it, something always felt incomplete. And then when I was done only the evidence got, if it felt incomplete, which I was fine with hours and fine with it for a long time, I was like, no, I want recognition. I want, I want to be accepted.

And you know, all of that. And now I think about I’m like, Hey look, I had all of those experiences with very less pressure and actually had fun. So yeah, that was, that was what it was. I know. It’s not probably the answer you were looking for. I’m sorry for that. Yeah, it was, it’s a, it’s amazing because as you say, I mean, one of mine was to sort of fear of missing out on what.

[00:55:00] Tomorrow might what, what might happen tomorrow? That was sometimes one of my greatest fears is you might miss the most exciting, the most incredible experience by not going on to the finish. And like, with all these trips, the, the end, there’s always quite hollow and it’s always quite, it never quite lives up to how it one might imagine, but it’s actually the experiences in between that really matter.

Yeah. I’m sure there’s probably someone saying no, no, no. The world record was amazing for me. Thank you very much. Oh God. I mean, I will say that I would have quite liked that I had trained so hard to make sure that my body was ready to pull 200 miles a day and make it run the world in a hundred days.

Yeah. That’s not how it works. That’s just not how life works. Is it? [00:56:00] Well, you don’t really get what you need, what you want, you get what you need. What, what was that phrase? Something on those lines. Isn’t it, I’m not wise enough to say that, but someone else has said that and I just copied it. Well, I mean, that’s just an incredible story and thank you so much for sharing it today.

There’s, there’s a part of the show where we asked the same five questions to each guest each week with their first beam on your trip or expeditions, what’s the one gadget that you always take with you? Anything that plays music and the deepest, darkest times. I need my music. I need my queen playlist.

I need to play somebody to love.

What about your favorite adventure? Oh, favorite adventure book. There’s so many, there’s so many. I recently read Anna McNutt. [00:57:00] Was it Accenture stories for adults, bedtime stories for adults. Anyway, that one, I quite like that. Oh, there’s so many that I actually like and enjoy, like, I really liked Julian of Eurowings disorder.

Right. Because that started so many beautiful things for me. So I’m going to go with that as well. Very nice. Why are adventures important to you? Because that’s where I feel more myself when I’m riding my bike or when I’m kind of walking through terrains that are, I don’t know, unfamiliar to me.

That’s where I feel like I try. Under kind of conditions, which are out of my control. And I also feel very well obviously the incredible sense of freedom [00:58:00] that comes through adventure is something that I didn’t think I should mention because it kind of is obvious, but yeah, just feeling more myself and feeling in control of my reactions and yeah.

What I’m doing and, you know, my decisions and just the self-sufficient feeling favorite Quate. The only way out is through that was written on online bike by this guy called Abdulaziz who won Trans-Am bike race back in 2019, I want to say, and he got the course record for it. I think I could be wrong.

I don’t know about the course record, but he won it by miles and miles. If not days, it was incredible. He is incredible. He filmed the first half of my Australian ride. And, and before continuing, I asked him to, because he’s such a legend and I was like, you got [00:59:00] to write something that I I’m going to want to remind myself off on my bike and on a sticky note, Heber, the only way out is through.

And yeah, that was it like ever since then, every time I find find myself in a sticky situation, that’s what I tell myself. The only way out is through. People listening are always keen to travel and go on these sort of grand expeditions. Well, so one thing that you would recommend for people wanting to get started to just get started would be the recommendation, because most of the incredible things that happen happen when you actually do take that first step.

And obviously it’s not obvious at the time it does feel like that. Something always incomplete. That’s never actually going to be the perfect time to get started. So yeah, stick to your own schedule. Don’t let other people [01:00:00] tell you that you haven’t prepared enough. You are not enough. Like you need to do more and think more and have more to get started with what you want to get started with.

Like, don’t let other people dictate that on you. Like if you think you’re ready and even if you don’t think you’re ready, if you’ve set a date, then. Do it, when that date has come or, you know, just get started finally, what now? What are you doing and how can people follow your adventures in the future?

That’s complicated what I’m doing. I, I’m doing a lot of things right now, so I, I do a lot of freelance writing for different magazines and other websites. I am writing a book right now. I’m running a business called the adventure ship through which I help manage and plan expeditions and adventures for people [01:01:00] you know, help with the logistics, the finances and the sponsorships and all that marketing, all that sort of stuff.

And Yeah. And I’m also kind of I’m doing some project management stuff, so I’m setting up a mountain biking race soon. And then I’m also setting up an adventure festival somewhere that I can’t mention just yet. So yeah, I’m doing a lot of things. And then training for Silkroad mountain race.

Last time I tried it, that didn’t go well, so this time we’ll see yeah, I’m going to look at it as an adventure or to race, so that actually get through it. But yeah, so that’s kind of the stuff that I’m doing right now. And as of tomorrow, I will be back on the road for the second half of an adventure.

As for where you can find me, you can find me on my social media [01:02:00] channels. So on Instagram and Twitter, I I’m apt wheels and words. So w H w E L S w O R D S that’s wheels and words and yeah, on Facebook. I’m the donkey Carney. Yeah. That’s, that’s where you can find me. And yeah, if you’re planning your next adventure, please do email me.

I would love to chat about it. And I recently launched something called adventure planning, blueprint which is a document where you can literally, we can use that document to plan your adventure from start to end. And it includes the templates and resources that are necessary to put your stuff like together and everything from like framing a sponsorship emails, for example, or a proposal, or.

You know, migrating marketing plan for that matter, like all that sort of stuff, but also route plan, risk management [01:03:00] and stuff like that. It’s all there. It’s been an absolute pleasure listening to your stories. And I can’t thank you enough for coming on the podcast today. Thank you for having me and yeah, it’s been, it’s been great.

And I feel like chatting about my adventures today is going to help me for the adventure that I’m about to like set off on tomorrow. So yeah. Thank you so much. Is it for today? Thank you so much for watching and I hope you got something out of it. If you did hit that like button and subscribe, if you haven’t already, and I will see you in the next.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google