With a piece of thread over a map – straight through Europe and along the west coast of Africa – I come up with the distance as the crow flies. Roughly, I estimate the distance along roads to be the double that, and I calculate a total travel time of somewhere between one and two years.
I haven’t cycled much before – long distance at most for a week or two, and almost never daily. Fact is that I haven’t even touched my bicycle for the past eight months. But I guess I’m somewhat desperate to get away from life back home, and besides feel a longing to contend physically for the journey. Anyway, I need a quick start. I start off with the commuter train to southern suburb Järna, and begin to pedal from there. I will at least reach further than to a concrete suburb of my own hometown before I have to settle and pitch my tent. It is the first day of what will become quite a long journey.
To be honest I really lack confidence and with that also energy, appetite for eating and the hunger to see and do things. So I eat bread with a slice of salami for lunch, and I pedal only because I know that once I’ve overcome these first few days, I will enjoy it thoroughly.
In a small clearance in a suburban wood of Bergshamra, nearby Nyköping, I pitch my tent next to a jogging path amid a fair amount of mosquitoes. Get inside, eat a can of cold beans and fall dead asleep.