Bears & Hunger- Alaska & Canada
Biking through Alaska, Yukon, and BC in Canada calls for travelling long distances in the wild. This has led to some hungry nights and wild encounters with bears. Climbing trees to hang my food, checking bear tracks and scat, and scanning the skies for mountain squalls leaves me feeling incredibly connected to this stunning part of the world. Kuala Lampur, Malaysia 30/4/19 - Smithers, BC, Canada 3/6/19
Cambodia to Malaysia
I want to say thank you to the Cambodian people for making entertaining dance workouts in public places, the Thai people for dousing me with buckets of water during Thai Water Festival, and to the Malaysians for either wishing me happy journey or telling me to put my shirt on.
Siem Reap, Cambodia 31/3/19 - Kuala Lampur, Malaysia 30/4/19
Slept among some cool palm tree groves in ThailandSecond time on my trip I have found and returned someone's wallet on the roadBangkokThai billboard advertisement admonishing Buddha tattoosMy Thai lunch this day consisted of frogs, crickets, hornet grubs, and mangoes
Second taste of durian in life
Keeping It Hot In Cambodia
My loop through Southeast Asia has taken me across rural Laos where I participated in a local Buddhist festival serving beer to elderly women. Reaching the Pacific ocean on the coast of Vietnam marked the end of an eight month trip across Eurasia from the Atlantic. And the days get hotter and hotter here in Cambodia where I hope for cloud cover, rain and anything that relieves the heat throughout the day. Laos 3/3/19 - Siem Reap, Cambodia 1/4/19
VietnamI say goodbye to my Costa Rican machete which has been carving my pineapples for more than three years.Eight months ago I said goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean in the Netherlands. Now I say hello to the Pacific again in Vietnam. This picture shows these cool little bowl fishing boats used here.
Cambodian beer advertisements cover the sides of rural homes tempting consumption prizes of air conditioners, flat screen televisions, and washing machines which would all fit just perfectly in these homes.
Go Fruit Yourself!
Cycling through the rest of Burma, a rather cloistered country for so long, was a forward step back in time. The world felt old and original, with people still getting around in ox carts, rice fields being farmed in traditional ways, and life moving by just a little more slowly. The transition into Thailand was shockingly stark. I felt the heavy influence of western materialism, and the difference between two neighboring countries was one of the stronger I felt on this trip. But along back country roads through hilly Thailand, provincial Thai farmers still pick tamarinds off their trees by hand, and invited me over to share sticky rice out of bamboo baskets. And while the heat is nearly insufferable some afternoons, the myriad tropical fruits keep me motivated to explore almost every local market to shock my taste buds and watch the happy reaction of the people when they are. Mandalay, Burma 7/2/19 - Vientiane, Laos 3/3/19
Shake Your Buddha!
I started the New Year riding out of India across the Northeast States, a unique part of India surrounded by Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Burma that many different tribal groups still call home. Crossing into Burma I made my way to the old city of Mandalay where I completed a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course in noble silence. The positive experience left me feeling recharged physically and emotionally, ready to explore more of Southeast Asia. Siliguri, India to Mandalay, Burma 1/1/19-7/2/19 (Warning, the video above contains content that some may find disturbing)
I went for my first teeth cleaning in 3.5 years before leaving India. The sounds from the cleaning tool like a rusty screwdriver scraping on glass accompanied by the screams of a little girl sitting one meter away from me contrasted considerably to the dental experience in the United States. But boy are my teeth clean now. Fun fact: while I thought my cavity was due to my excessive consumption of cane sugar here, turns out cane sugar actually has cleaning agents. Even today some Indians use cane sugar as an alternative to brushing their teeth.Outside Mandalay, Burma
Burmese ox facial hairWhile change currency in a Burmese bank, two men walked in and dumped this pile of cash on the floor out of a white sack taken from a truck parked directly outside the bank entrance. The men then threw stacked piles of cash over the counter.
Bamboo ox carts in IndiaFrom the way Indians make the most of their bikes, my loaded bike blends right inBollywood feature filmI often saw families fishing in these muddy shallow pools. The children would move their hands through the mud until they found a fish and then throw it five meters up to dry land.
The Din and Silence of India and Nepal (respectively)
Unable to secure a visa for Pakistan or China, I had to fly from Uzbekistan to northern India. Cycling with a Dutch couple for a week brought peanut butter and Sinterklaas into my life, which made life more enjoyable amidst the constant din of horns that comes with cycling through crazy India. After a little trekking in the Himalayas, I made my way into Nepal to enjoy the serenity and playfulness of the gentle Nepalese people. Happy New Year to everyone, may 2019 be a special one. Tashkent, Uzbekistan to Siliguri, India 19/11/18 to 31/12/18
I wish these Nepalese signs were posted in India where the horn happy culture creates a din of honking all day everyday. I think my best idea to date is becoming a horn salesman in India, a lucrative endeavor undoubtedly.Helped cut and pack mushrooms with a family on a farm one night
Met my new favorite Dutch couple, Tim and Gynn, in Uzbekistan and in India we biked togetherWhy is there a stadium built around this stretch of road? The bizarre police marching competition/ceremony that takes place daily at the border between India and Pakistan.
Freezing through the Silk Road
A sprint across Azerbaijan and I reached the Caspian Sea, home of most of the world's caviar? While anchored aboard a cargo ship offshore in the Caspian Sea, I enjoyed typical Russian food and taught Russians how to play the card game Bulls**t. I wasn't as strong as the wild horses, the two humped camels, nor Borat in the cold steppe country of Kazakhstan, and so I took an old Soviet platskartny train into Uzbekistan. Biking the silk road in Uzbekistan has been a pure joy, enjoying old cities along the historic trade route, and the overwhelming hospitality of Uzbeks along the way who want to give me everything I could possibly need. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Tbilisi, Georgia through Azerbaijan, cargo ship across Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan 17/10/18 to 19/11/18
Are these Uzbek children real or not? I was fooled multiple times while biking past these signs to slow down traffic, even smiling and waving before I was close enough to realize I was effectively fooledWhen staying with families in Uzbekistan, I sleep comfortably between thick cotton blankets next to gas heaters
Azerbaijan – Caspian Sea – Kazakhstan
Heating up the old soviet platskartny train with coalHonorary English teacher with Kazak studentsLifting power lines to allow massive gas tanks to pass through towns in KazakhstanCanned Kazak horsemeat, oh yes it's goodFirst double humped camel sighting
Georgia On My Mind
While biking through the Blakans I helped make local plum brandy with a man on the side of the road, I survived the traffic nightmare that is biking in and out of Istanbul, and a race across Turkey has me into Asia now. I had heard good things about Georgia before arriving, and I have not been disappointed. The autumn season is in full bloom, the first I have experienced in three years, and harvest season means local men fill my hands with walnuts and freshly fallen apples as they greet me in the small farming towns I pass through.
Timisoara, Romania to Tbilisi, Georgia 10/9/18 to 17/10/19
I had to amputate my girlfriend's foot
This Serbian farmer invited me for a drink of fruit brandy as I biked by his home. While we couldn’t speak one another's language very well, he understood that I wanted to help him distill his next batch. The photo here is him putting the lid over all the plums we had just poured in with old buckets. We then rolled bread dough into long strips to seal all the cracks of the still. Serbians make good use of all the fruit they grow on small farms and in their gardens, even fruit that is spoiling makes for good brandy ingredients.
Swiss Bliss with Mein Vater
After cycling around Germany and racing on the famous Nurburgring Grand Prix race track, I made my way to Switzerland to unite with my father. Hiking through glorious alpine mountains, enjoying Swiss cheese and German libations, and visiting castles and fortified cities in Bavaria made for a wonderful reunion. Now I move east quickly as summer comes to an end. Hamburg, Germany to Timisoara, Roamnia 26/7/18 to 10/9/18
Meet Johann Pollinger, an Austrian cow farmer who built this small hydroelectric plant on his land to power his farm and home. He generates more power than he needs and is credited by an Austrian electric company. I have been skeptical of hydro power plants due to stories of environmental damage, but after staying one night on Johann's farm he showed me that on a small scale hydro power plants can work well within the environment. Great work Hans! Salzburg, Austria
Winner Buys the Beer in Belgium
On to Belgium where I met with old friends to celebrate Belgium's run to third place in the World Cup. This led to plenty of good Belgian beer consumption where I learned that the winner buys the beer. Further north I learned more about my Dutch roots, meeting family and seeing the birthplaces of my Oma and Opa. I find it a strange coincidence that my fatherland is a country with such a strong history of cycling and wind energy, two things I am deeply interested in. Paris, France 19/6/18 to Hamburg, Germany 26/7/18
Classic Dutch windmillIt's blackberry season in Northern Europe, and I am consuming at least one kilo of them daily as I bike through the Dutch and German countrysideBelgian bike lanesBrussels, BelgiumGermans are quickly winning award for best use of solar for residential and commercial purposesI met Has Van Der Muelen, the most accomplished mountaineer in Dutch history, back in Argentina before he summited the tallest mountain in the Americas. We met again at his home where he continued to amaze me with stories of his expeditions.Haarlem, Netherlands, the home of my OmaDutch essentials- Note stroopwafels are some of the best cookies everThe Atlantic Coast, NetherlandsMust be in AmsterdamCyclists fill the bike lanes in HollandWorld Cup Semifinal viewing, Belgium vs France, in BrusselsBelgian music festival
Belgian bike cultureBelgian chocolate I will dream of you foreverAlexandre Pirson started Sun for Schools in Belgium, a cooperative that installs solar energy systems for schools to educate youth about renewable energy and a sustainable future.