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    Archive for the ‘Bits and Pieces’ Category

    WT Top 30 Happy Times

    Monday, November 2nd, 2009

    A few things to keep in mind:

    - List is chronologically ordered.
    - Geographically manifested.
    - Series of days, rather than single days.
    - Mostly (but not exclusively) socially related.
    - Most importantly, days full of happiness and personal contentment.

    1. Istanbul, Turkey
    2. Kathmandu, Nepal
    3. Muine, Vietnam
    4. Luang Prabang, Laos
    5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
    6. Koh Tao, Thailand
    7. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
    8. Tioman Island, Malaysia
    9. Bali, Indonesia
    10. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
    11. Adelaide, Australia
    12. Melbourne, Australia
    13. Sydney, Australia
    14. Moorea, French Polynesia
    15. Santiago, Chile
    16. Cochabamba, Bolivia
    17. La Paz, Bolivia
    18. Cusco, Peru
    19. Lima, Peru
    20. Máncora, Peru
    21. Cali, Colombia
    22. Cartagena, Colombia
    23. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
    24. Antigua, Guatemala
    25. Wrightsville Beach, NC, USA
    26. Washington, D.C., USA
    27. New York, USA
    28. Montreal, Canada
    29. Quebec City, Canada
    30. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

    (and many more to come…Inshallah!)

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    WT Top 13 Hard Times

    Sunday, November 1st, 2009

    Chronologically ordered. Personal experience. (What made it hard in parenthesis).

    1. Azerbaijan (heat, time/visa pressure)
    2. Tibet (altitude, terrain, cold, isolation, crash, terrible washboard roads)
    3. Vietnam (headwinds, non-social periods, negative attention from locals)
    4. Northeastern Laos (nonstop rollercoasters, heat, feeling weak)
    5. Australian Outback (isolation, heat, lack of facilities)
    6. Southern Bolivia (altitude, isolation, nightmare roads)
    7. Southern Peru (mountains, isolation, altitude, cold)
    8. Northern Peru (desert monotony, heat)
    9. Southern Colombia (mountains)
    10. Panama (time pressure to meet friend, heat)
    11. Mexico (monotony, heat, lack of rest days, self-inflicted hardship)
    12. Mali (heat, isolation, heat rash, attention from locals, no frills)
    13. Mauritania (heat, isolation, endless headwinds, lack of facilities)

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    New Photos From West Africa…(UK)

    Thursday, October 29th, 2009

    Hmm… Uploading huge batches of photos from Mauretania seems to be a bigger task than expected.

    Normally, I upload all photos in the lowest resolution (fine for online viewing), but for some reason even that doesn’t seem to work for me. The batches are too big for the connection to deal with, I guess or the visual memory on my laptop isn’t big enough. Something’s not big enough, and isn’t it always like that…

    I have managed, though, to handpick a few photos from the last weeks through West Africa and put them in a Flickr album. A rather poor representation of weeks so rich. No text, no trying to be witty, just visuals.

    The photos are rather haphazardly selected from the tiny thumbnails on my laptop. That’ll have to do for now. Hopefully, the photos will tell their own story – especially to you non-Danish speaking people out there, whom, it may seem (but it’s not so, whispered the devil in my ear) I’ve badly neglected lately in my all-Danish diary. Just keeping up with the diary, mono-language as it is, is at times harder than the pedaling itself, so bear with me.

    Photo Album From West Africa

    or

    View West African photos as slideshow

    Nicolai (Nouadhibou, Mauritania)

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    Newsletter from Mauritania (UK)

    Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

    As some of you may have noticed on my Facebook status updates, the headwinds have been torturing me lately going up through Mauritania on the western fringes of the immensely desolate Sahara. It’s really tough going, physically and mentally, traversing the biggest arid zone in the world, with sometimes more than a hundred kilometers between tiny settlements and signs of human life.
    Sleeping out in the greatest solitude imaginable under the starry African sky, in my tent or simply just in my sleeping bag in the warm dunes off the road, is an incredible experience and somewhat makes up for the daytime struggles.

    Somewhat. Still, facing the brisk headwinds for hours and hours and hours, with nothing in the indifferent and stark desert-scape to cheer you up, or to keep your mind strong, is emotionally very demanding, very challenging. Checking my bike computer doesn’t help at all: 12-14 km/h on flat terrain, small chain ring, pushing hard. No free kilometers around here.

    But it’s not all bad. I feel delighted having come this far already, somewhat ahead of the “schedule”
    that doesn’t really exist other than in my fragmented mind. I now know what to expect from the next 1.000 km stage through Western Sahara – hard work, howling headwinds, inhospitable landscapes, slow progress, canned sardines, sand and grit everywhere, mental battles. No challenge is too big for the well-prepared, they say. I know I can’t go wrong, and the only way is up/north!

    I left Accra, Ghana 54 days ago (36 of which cycling days with a total of 4.010 km) and have traveled through Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania. When the going gets tough and there are no apparent changes in the landscape, only progress makes happy, and (mum, dad, sister, friends, others) it does feel great getting closer to Europe and eventually Danish turf. It really does…

    Thanks for the optimism you bring me.

    Nicolai (Nouadhibou, Mauritania – 56.793 km from home)

    BTW, did you check out the new WT-photos from West Africa?

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    Automatic Translation of WT Diary…

    Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

    A friend of mine (thanks, Brian!) just sent me the following link that automatically translates WT into English. Since I’ve just been posting the diary in Danish lately, this might be a help to some. Naturally, it’s not all correct, but still, from what I’ve just checked it looks better than zero.

    Link to WT Translation

    Am not sure if you need a Google account to make it work. It works for me via the link. Just click it, then go to the DIARY section, click “Nicolai” under “All Diary Entries” and voilá, the translation should be on your screen.

    Let me know how it works!

    Nicolai

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    Newsletter from Mali, West Africa (UK)

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


    The Welcome.

    No, it’s not that I’ve forgotten about ye’ non-Danish speaking lot. Not at all. But cycling here in tropical West Africa is quite a weary feat, and at the end of a long days’ cycling there simply isn’t a whole lot of energy left for documenting, note-taking, translating it all etc. Bear with me, the weary worldtraveller…

    Village, eastern Mali.

    West Africa has been an intense, hot, exciting, and often exhausting experience so far, 39 days and more than 2.000 km after my arrival in Accra, Ghana. Economically, the region is by far the most impoverished I’ve ever been to – a monetary fact somewhat contradicted by the natural lushness and seemingly evergreen landscape all around me. But make no mistake, ‘cos this is the end of the rainy season (roughly 3 months) that every year turns the otherwise stark and arid savanna into a phenomenally green blanket, so remote from my preconceived mental images of dusty West Africa.


    Cycling In West Africa.

    In terms of road quality, I’ve generally been positively surprised here. Some 95% of my chosen roads through Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali have been paved and I’m not complaining.

    Market in Mali village.

    In terms of temperatures, I’ve been equally surprised, but not quite as positively. West Africa is hot. Real hot. Just sitting under a shady afternoon tree – apparently a favored pastime around here – is hot, and that pedalling through the landscape on a fully-loaded bicycle is excruciatingly killer-hot goes without saying. Supplies admitting, I drink around 8-12 litres of liquid every day, and my main staple diet consists of mountains of plain rice usually with some sort of sauce (fish-, peanut-, tomato-, you name it-) on top. It’s definitely not gourmet, but it keeps me going, and at 0.30-0.60 USD a plate the budget rat inside of me is smiling.


    The White Boy In Black Africa.

    Thanks to the facts that a) my French tongue is practically non-existent, b) there aren’t many long-distance cyclists here, c) there are not a lot of blond persons here, d) there are practically no blond men here, and e) there is an infinitesimal number of blond, male, long-distance cyclists in West Africa, cycling is never boring. Never. Everywhere, all the time, I attract so much attention you wouldn’t believe it, and the energetic greetings come from all sides when I ride through the desperately poor villages made up of round and square mud houses.

    Koloko village, Burkina Faso.

    At very first the feeling of being this white boy in black Africa was quite exciting, but once I hit the next village – and the same excessive yelling and bonjours continued, making me feel like some weird circus act – the novelty had worn off, and the human roadside noise and clatter became a nuisance all too soon.

    The Attraction of the Day/Week/Month/Year...

    It’s not that I’m cranky or picky, it’s just that it totally destroys my natural line of thought, ruins my flow turning the pedals – and after 450 (to me completely aimless) bonjours and ça vas in a single day, you become immune to it all and start ignoring the lot, knowing that ignoring people is a huge social insult here as in most regions of the world.

    That said, I do love it here, and I strongly feel that the in spe Book of WT wouldn’t quite be complete without this African chapter that I’m living at the moment. Just being here, in West Africa, is a petite adventure every day. It’s not easy travelling here, and not speaking the official (French) or native (Barbera and many others) tongue makes every single transaction with the locals a challenge (and source of misunderstandings and laughter) to me, and God, have I missed those well-supplied North American A/C convenience stores! Can’t have it all, can we.

    The Oases.

    In between periods of non-communication and hardship of cycling, I’ve been lucky to meet and stay with a few fellow Danish and Swedish friends, which no doubt has been the social highlights of my time in Africa. Hanging out with like-minded souls, indulging in deeper conversations, and enjoying a rare bit of luxury has provided me with much-needed breaks, and these Scandinavian oases have seen me totally revitalized and recharged (mentally and socially), ready for the uncertainties of the winding roads ahead.

    The Plan.

    On a macro-scale, I just picked up my now completely full passport with a new Mauritanian visa, and will be leaving the Malian capital for Senegal (no visa required) tomorrow, and then follow the southern banks of the Senegal River, going northwest up to Rosso on the Mauritanian border, then straight north through the western fringes of the great Sahara desert, into Western Sahara and Morocco, where I’ll most likely spend Christmas and NYE. At the other side of the Gibraltar, good old Europe awaits me in the new year.

    Frontiere Mali, 15 km.

    The Au Revoir

    Au revoir and thanks for your support, ladies and gentlemen.

    Nicolai

    On the dusty, dusty roads of eastern Mali...

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    New Photo Album From Canada

    Monday, September 28th, 2009

    My 3 weeks in Quebec, Canada offered me only 750 km of cycling, but were full of social experiences and unforgettable big city time in Montréal and Quebec City.

    In keeping with WT-tradition, I’ve composed a ragbag of my impressions from Canada, a country with the most lovable people and scenery that I’ll definitely come back to.

    The attentive reader will notice that there’s still no USA album in the otherwise chronological series of WT photo albums.

    The patient reader will know, that patience is a virtue, and that there’s a time and place for everything in this world.

    I recommend you click the 4-arrow icon in the lower right hand corner of the album itself, to view the photos full-screen.

    Photo album from Canada (slideshow, 115 photos)

    You may also see the photos in Flickr, the usual way.

    Nicolai (wireless from Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso)

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    Photo Album From Mexico

    Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

    Though the calender says it’s only around 4 months ago, those super hot and often somewhat dreary cycling days in Mexico seem light years away…

    From my little hotel room in Kumasi, Ghana, I’ve just composed a new photo album (100 photos) from my mere 21 days (1.870 km) through the length of Mexico.

    I recommend you click the 4-arrow icon in the lower right hand corner of the picture below, to view the photos full-screen.

    You may also see the album in Flickr, standard way.

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    WT Now On iTunes!

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

    (English only)

    As you might’ve noticed, there’s a new Podcast logo on WT (look right).

    It means that you can now listen to the WT Podcast on iTunes!

    Thanks to an old friend (aka Mr. Lova’ Lova’) you can now subscribe to the podcast via this podcast link (or click here).

    WT on your iPod, on the stereo, in your car, WT as your ringtone (haha, and thanks for that, Thorbjørn!), WT’s simply everywhere ;-)

    Nicolai (Kumasi, Ghana)

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    New Soundbites from Ghana (English)

    Monday, September 7th, 2009

    There’s a little something for the Danish and non-Danish speaking lot this time.

    The new English soundbite is from a random roadside meeting with a local Ashanti girl, Victoria (who obviously tried to hook up with me (read: marry me! This is Ghana). Victoria’s beautiful granny was curious and rocked up too. On Victoria’s back was her 1½ yo son, Nicolas.

    Hope you enjoy! I certainly did…


    Soundbites, yes please!

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    WT Memorable Accommodation 2006-2009.

    Sunday, September 6th, 2009

    Over the last 1.250 days I’ve slept in an awful lot of places, locations, beds, wild camps, and private homes. Enough to make one feel homesick, I guess.

    I’ve made a list of some of the most memorable accommodations (non-wild, non-private) over the last 3½ years. The reasons for my choices vary greatly: some places (like that Kashgar hotel) just felt like Paradise after long periods roughing it, other places (like that luxury beach bungalow in Vietnam with my family in 2006) were pure indulgence, while other places were downright weird (like that double-decker bus in Australia).

    And though most of my private stays, with friends or strangers in their local environment, around the world generally make for stronger, deeper relationships and memories (and often more comfy beds!), these are not included in the following list (but huge thanks to all who helped me out along the way).

    1. Matafonua Lodge, Foa Island, Tonga.
    2. Global Village. Greymouth, New Zealand.
    3. Rumah Saga, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.
    4. Hotel. Kashgar, Western China.
    5. Bamboo Village. Muine, Southern Vietnam.
    6. Night Bazaar Condotel. Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
    7. Ubud Guest House, Bali, Indonesia.
    8. Double-decker bus. Batchelor Butterfly Farm, N.T., Australia.
    9. Continental Hotel. Saigon, Southern Vietnam.
    10. Rainbow Lodge. Taupo, New Zealand.
    11. Loki Hostel. La Paz, Bolivia.
    12. Mubinjon Guest House (extra photo here), Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
    13. Bahodir B&B, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
    14. Luxury apartment, Varna, Bulgaria.
    15. Alamo Hostel, Mendoza, Argentina.
    16. Hostel Trail, Popayán, Colombia.
    17. Loki Hostel, Máncora, Peru.
    18. Hotel Garden View, Kathmandu, Nepal.
    19. Hotel Octagon, Pokhara, Nepal.
    20. Tblisi Guest House, Georgia.

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    WT & The Art of Bicycle Maintenance

    Sunday, August 30th, 2009

    After more than 55.000 km (3.635 km pre-WT in Morocco and Tenerife, Spain) on different surfaces of the world, my baby – The Koga Miyata Worldtraveller – has naturally seen some changes over the years. Below is a somewhat detailed list of these changes.

    I’ve been riding my wonderful bike through 6 continents now, and I strongly believe that it’ll serve me all the way back to Denmark in 2010. I treat it like a woman, and I guess that’s why she’s put up with me for so long without any breakdowns…

    Here goes…

    I. Wheels

    Rear:
    1. Mavic. Lasted 13.000 km (from Denmark to China). Small cracks in rim where spokes connect. Changed (to 2) in Kashgar, Western China.

    2. Giant (standard). Lasted 17.000 km (from China to Australia). 10 USD rim. Side walls totally worn. Changed (to 3) in Merimbula, Australia.

    3. No-name (double-walled from Taiwan). Lasted 23.000 km (from Australia to USA). New entire wheel, incl. Taiwanese hub. 110 AUD. Changed (to 4) in

    4. WTB. So far 1.000 km (from Canada to Ghana). New entire wheel, in Shimano Deore hub. 110 USD.

    Front:
    1. Mavic EX 721. Lasted 53.000 km (from Denmark to USA). Changed (to 2) in Wilmington, USA. Incredible durability.

    2. Sun Rim Rhyno Light. So far 3.000 km (from USA to…). New entire wheel, incl. Shimano Deore LX hub. 60 USD (special discount).

    II. Tyres

    Rear:

    1. Continental Travel Contact. Lasted 12.000 km (from Denmark to Uzbekistan).

    2. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 14.000 km (from Uzbekistan to Australia).

    3. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 8.500 km (from Australia to New New Zealand).

    4. Specialized. Lasted 7.500 km (from New Zealand to Ecuador).

    5. Schwalbe Marathon Extreme. Lasted 8.000 km (from Ecuador to USA).

    6. Bontrager. Lasted 1.500 km (from Florida to North Carolina, USA), but was changed before worn out, free of charge.

    7. Bontrager. So far 3.000 km (from NC, USA to Ghana)

    Front:

    1. Continental Travel Contact. Lasted 13.000 km (from Denmark to Kyrgyzstan)

    2. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 31.000 km (from Kyrgyzstan to Peru). Unbeatable durability.

    3. Schwalbe Marathon
    Extreme
    . So far 14.000 km (from Peru to Ghana). No flats until now. Knock-on-wood.

    III. Cables

    Gear cables:
    1. A welder in Turkey broke a gear cable trying to weld my (alu) bottle holder.
    2. Same cable changed in Chiang Rai, Thailand (not broken, but hard to use).
    3. Changed again in Santiago, Chile (not broken, but hard to use).

    Brake cables:
    No replacement.

    All cables have been cleaned and oiled a few times at bike shops when I had to make major repairs on the bike anyway.

    IV. Chains.

    All in all, after 56.500 km on the bike (3.500 km on pre-WT trips), I’m on my 9th chain.

    I’ve used Shimano HG93 (27 speed) several times, which is my favourite. This chain normally last 8.000-14.000 km.

    Due to lack of HG93-availability, I’ve used the weaker Shimano HG53 twice. They’ve lasted from 5.000-7.000 km.

    I’ve used a SRAM chain once. It lasted around 8.000 km.

    V. Cassette

    1. Lasted 5.000 km. Changed a little pre-mature in Hungary.

    2. Lasted 16.000 km. Changed in Singapore.

    3. Lasted 14.000 km. Changed in Santiago, Chile.

    4. Lasted 19.000 km. Changed in Wilmington, USA.

    5. So far just 1.000 km and still rolling.

    VI. Front chain rings.

    1. Middle ring changed in Singapore after 21.000 km.

    2. Middle ring changed again in Medellin, Colombia after 23.000 km.

    3. Small ring changed in Medellin, Colombia after 44.000 km.

    4. Big ring not changed (but sort of needs replacement)

    VII. Saddle

    1. My beloved Brooks leather saddle served me for 54.000 km. I changed it (slightly heart-broken) in Wilmington, USA ‘cos I got a great deal for a new one, and the leather had started tearing apart around the bolts. Never mind, it took more than 5.000 km to sort of mold the hard leather to the shape of my ass.

    2. The transition to my new saddle (a aerodynamic, non-leather one with an ergonomic whole in the center of the saddle. June 2009) has been acceptable, but not painless.

    VIII. Tubes + flat tyres.

    I’m not counting the number of tubes I’ve used, but I reckon around 20-25, in total.

    Likewise, I don’t know how many flat tyres I’ve had. Around 30, I guess. Mostly on the rear tyre where most of the weight is.

    At the moment I haven’t had a flat tyre in the front for a whopping 14.000 km, thanks to a) Schwalbe’s ironwall tyres, and – to a lesser degree – b) to my carefullness and near-constant visual nails-on-the-road scanning.

    IX. Bike Shoes.

    1. Diadora shoes. 60 USD. Lasted 52.000 km (minus a few thousand km of flip-flop cycling in Asia). They were a very trusty, if smelly and worn, set of friends to me. RIP in Wilmington, USA.

    2. New Specialized bike shoes. So far 3.000 km and feeling great.

    X. Brakes

    No replacement or problems whatsoever.

    XI. Brake pads.

    Naturally, I’ve changed the brake pads numerous times. Approx. 6-7 times on rear, 4-5 times on front. I remember a steep decent in heavy rain in Turkey near Posof and the Georgian border that almost wore out a set of front brake pads from all the braking in rain. Changing pads is a 5 minute operation.

    XII. Bottom Bracket.

    1. The original lasted 28.500 km and was changed in Melbourne, Australia.

    2. The second one lasted 26.000 km and was changed in Montreal, Canada.

    3. I don’t expect another chance of bb before I reach Denmark in 2010.

    XIII. Head set.

    Cleaned and re-greased in Singapore, after 22.000 km.

    XIV. Pedals.

    No replacement. Just occasional oil-drops.


    XV. Frame.

    No fiddling, welding or problems at all. It’s a Koga Miyata goddammit!

    The frame has some strange surface freckles around the holes where the bottles are attached, probably due to a lot of salty sweat from me dripping on those parts. It’s only cosmetical. But the Koga is still a beauty!


    XVI. Racks.

    The Tubus bike racks have done an amazing and impeccable job. No break-downs, weldings etc. Super strong and reliable.


    XVII. Handle bar

    Still the original butterfly multi-grip handle bar. I absolutely love it, not least because of the 5-6 layers of handle bar tape/duct tape/sports tape that I’ve put on it to get a super firm and fat grip. People are ofter astounded by the thickness of the handle bar. It’s my primary showing-off part on the bike.


    NB: This bike maintenance page was made on my laptop 11 kilometers above ground level, on my way from Boston, USA to Accra, Ghana in a Boeing 747, operated by Lufthansa.

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    Voice From Boston (now in English!)

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

    Click here for the latest sound bites from Camp WT…

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    Newsletter from Canada

    Thursday, August 20th, 2009

    It’s exactly 1 year ago since I – with my heart beating – left the Santiago suburb Peñalolen and started the long climb up the snow-covered, Andean giants, that I’d been gazing at with both horror and excitement for days from the Chilean capital.

    Over the last year I’ve cycled through 15 countries, a total of 20,000 km across the two American continents. As the previous WT-years, the last one has been a long, uninterrupted chain of events, places, faces, that I could never forget.

    However, I’m running out of asphalt here in North America. Fortunately, I know that there is new, unexplored asphalt on the other side of the Atlantic. I just received the happy news that my flight over the Atlantic – from Boston, U.S. to Accra, Ghana via Frankfurt (so close to home!) – is confirmed. Thus, it’s a pleasure to announce that on next Friday, 28AUG2009, I’ll leave North America for Africa, my 6th and last continent.

    Breakfast on the curb!

    It gives me the shivers (the good kind) all over knowing that very shortly I’ll be landing in the Ghanaian capital, more-than-ready to explore West Africa. I expect the changes (social (big, black fellas! :-) ), cultural (no Subway restaurants, lots of dirt roads), from comfortable USA/Canada to the Dark Continent to be very tangible, and I must admit that although I have swallowed the last 4 months in the USA/Canada and could’ve easily continued my North American, bike nomadic escapades, I am incredibly excited for the next WT-chapter. The little adventure troll sitting inside of me is extremely stoked we going to Africa.

    I am now 50 km north of the Canadian/US border and will arrive in Boston on August 24th. Accommodation is sorted already. I do look forward to Boston, but Africa is written all over my mental whiteboard now.

    From Accra, Ghana I plan to go up through Ghana to Burkina Faso, and on to Mali. Then either to Senegal and further up North-West Africa to Spain, or to Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, etc.

    The WT-adventure continues and I need all the support that can be mustered.

    Love, Nicolai

    Parc de la Montmorency (falls) just outside Quebec City.

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    Puzzle of the Day!

    Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

    It’s not too hard. Difficulty Level: Easy

    Lufthansa 423: Boston, MA, USA – Frankfurt, Germany
    Boeing 747-400 Fri, Aug 28 4:35 PM – E 5:35 AM (next day) – 1
    STOPS: 0 7.00 hrs Economy 3660 mi

    Lufthansa 566: Frankfurt, Germany – Accra, Ghana
    Airbus A340-600 Sat, Aug 29 11:00 AM – 1 3:30 PM
    STOPS: 0 6.30 hrs Economy 3130 mi

    Wish me good luck! I’m thrilled like never before…

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    Top 20 Songs That Make Me Wild

    Monday, August 17th, 2009

    I probably have my iPod plugged firmly in to my ears around 70-80% of the time I’m riding. That’s a lot of songs over the last 1.225 days of traveling.

    Some songs make me absolutely wild! (yes, wild!) in the saddle no matter how many times I listen to them. No doctor could ever prescribe any better medicine for my well-being than these tunes.

    Here is my Top 20 Songs That Make Me Wild: (click links to listen – comments/suggestions welcome)…

    1. We Don’t Need Nobody Else – Whipping Boy
    2. City of Delusion – Muse
    3. Wicked Gil – Band of Horses
    4. Ragoo – Kings of Leon
    5. No I In Threesome – Interpol
    6. Time Bomb – Dave Matthews Band
    7. O Valencia! – The Decemberists
    8. Origin of The Species – U2
    9. Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    10. Bombtrack – Rage Against The Machine
    11. Neighborhoods #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire
    12. Den Bedste Tid – One Two (DK)
    13. Socker – Kent
    14. Missed The Boat – Modest Mouse
    15. Ett Slag För Dig – Tomas Andersson Wij
    16. Don’t Go – Hothouse Flowers
    17. Et satanisk mesterværk – C.V. Jørgensen (DK)
    18. King Kong Five – Mano Negra
    19. Until It Sleeps – Metallica
    20. 156 – Mew (DK)

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    Voice/Sound Recordings from Camp WT

    Friday, August 7th, 2009

    I’m happy to inform I’ve made a new entry on the menu (to the left on front-page), called Sounds, where I’ll put voice diary bits and greetings (in Danish or English), and odd sounds from the expedition once in a while.

    I hope you enjoy and do come back now and then…

    Go to Sound section…

    Nicolai

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    Get free HQ Photos!

    Monday, July 20th, 2009

    Get selected, high-quality photos from the WT-Expedition for free!

    That’s right, free. The world has given me so much, so according the the “there’s no free lunch” principle, I’ve decided to make some of my favorite photos available to the WT-readers. You may use the photo for whatever purpose you fancy (desktop, wall-photo, calender, gift, you name it).

    How Do I Do?

    Simply just click on the “Download this photo…” links below, right-click on the photo, and click “Save as…” to save the photo on your computer.

    Easy. No strings attached.

    Nicolai (New York, July 20th, 2009)

    Australian outback, October 2007.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Nicolai in front of Mt. Kailash (6656m), Western Tibet...
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Moorea, French Polynesia, 2008.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free!

    Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua. March 2009.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Uspallata morning, Western Argentina. August 2008.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    In case it’s a sunny day and you feel like making a small donation, feel free to do so by clicking this Paypal link, or by becoming part of the WT Hall of Fame.

    Highway in Argentina. September 2008.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Nicolai on the deserted road going up to the Taldyk Pass at 3630m. Kyrgyzstan.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    The Twelve Apostles. South Australia.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Australian outback. October 2007.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Mount Bromo and neighboring volcanoes. East Java, Indonesia. August 2007.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free

    Baby monkey. Ubud, Bali - Indonesia. 2007.
    Download this photo (above) in hi-res for free


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    Top 10 Beer of the World

    Thursday, July 16th, 2009

    Knowing that there are so many beautiful types of beer out there, coming up with an all-round Top 10 Beer Of The World List might seem like a bold thing.

    Anyway, I’ve come across a great deal of good beer over that last years, and on the list below is a (sort of) ranked list of some of the best I’ve come across.

    As you can tell, I’m into India Pale Ales at the moment. I had no idea that the US is home to such great (micro) breweries.

    The last entry on the list, the Thai Beer Chang is more of a nostalgic reminder of all the good times this beer gave me in 2007. There’s definitely something in this beer that makes life look a little brighter – and that they don’t put on the label!

    Confronted with a list of other great beers, I feel like a total rookie on the beer scene, so much unexplored territory out there. But I’m working on it, and here goes:

    1. ***** Snake Dog (USA, India Pale Ale)
    2. ***** H.I.P.A (USA, India Pale Ale)
    3. ****½ Dog Fish Head 90 (USA, India Pale Ale)
    4. **** Little Creatures (Australia, Pale Ale)
    5. ****Montieth Summer (New Zealand, Pale Lager)
    6. **** Okocim Palone (Poland, Dark Lager)
    7. ****Hoegarden Original White Ale (Belgium, Witbier/White Ale)
    8. ***½ Coopers Original Pale Ale (Australia, Pale Ale)
    9. ***½ Negra Modelo (Mexico, Dark Beer)
    10. *** Beer Chang (Thailand, Lager)

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    New York, New York…

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

    (UK only)…

    Wow, wow, wow. I made it to New York. Am sitting in a park at the southern end of Broadway, and though there is a strong breeze here, I’m not sure it (the breeze) explains all the goosebumps on my arm and in the jewel box. It is quite simply inexplicable for me to be here in New York, not that I’ve really seen anything yet (just got off the ferry across the Hudson River from Jersey City an hour ago), but just being here is very special to me. Come 51.000 km and 52.000 km: this is a real milestone for me.

    50.950 km, 38 countries, 5 continents and 1.192 days after I left Copenhagen, Denmark, New York is finally under my feet, and – soon, I assume – under my skin.

    Later this afternoon a host through Couchsurfing will open his Manhattan doors for me, and it feels great that it’s been taken care of. For now, I think I’ll just cruise around Manhattan with my bike, trying to grasp that I’m finally here (first NYC visit as you can tell from the excitement)…

    People ask me: Where to next, Nicolai?

    I’ve had voices me telling me where to go for a while now, and I think this might be the right moment to tell you about it. Looking at the map of North America, it seems like I’m almost running out of asphalt on my north-east bound crusade across the US. But not quite. There’s still some 700 km of mostly forested pavement up to the Canadian border, and thus, I’ve decided to make it to Montreal! How about that? I mean, how can I not – I’m in the neighborhood anyway, Canada is totally unexplored territory to me, and Canadians are great people. Then West Africa. Then home.

    Hope these words find you all in great spirits and shapes.

    Nicolai (Manhattan, New York)

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    New WT-movie out!

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

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    WT Route Map April 2006 – May 2009

    Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

    Wanna to keep track of my whereabouts over the last 3 years? Here you go…
    Click on the link directly below the map for a larger map. You can navigate the map with the mouse and via the menu to the left on the map.

    WT Route Map April 2006 – May 2009

    Some of the points may not be exact but rather serves to give rough idea about my route around the globe.

    You can find the link under the front page menu Routes & Maps for future references.

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    Top 30 Songs For My Funeral

    Sunday, May 17th, 2009

    I might be a wee bit on the early side with this one, but better early than never. Jesus only lived until 33, like me, and I doubt he got to choose the music for his last crusade…

    1. One – U2
    2. Socker – Kent (S)
    3. No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of Horses
    4. Autumn Leaves – Eva Cassidy
    5. A Thousand Hours – The Cure
    6. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
    7. Cold Water – Damien Rice
    8. Gravedigger – Dave Matthew’s Band
    9. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
    10. In My Heart – Moby
    11. Into My Arms – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    12. Crazy Mary – Pearl Jam
    13. Karma Police – Radiohead
    14. Hyperballad – Björk (I)
    15. Wicked Game – Chris Isaac
    16. Ett Slag För Dig – Tomas Andersson Wij (S)
    17. Love Is Stronger Than Death – The The
    18. So This Is Goodbye – Stina Nordenstam (N)
    19. Today – The Smashing Pumpkins
    20. Afraid Not Scared – Ryan Adams
    21. Skygger af skønhed – C.V. Jørgensen (DK)
    22. Fluorescent Lights – Windmill
    23. King of Sorrow – Sade
    24. Pretty Good Year – Tori Amos
    25. I See You, You See Me – The Magic Numbers
    26. The World At Large – Modest Mouse
    27. What If – Coldplay
    28. Endless – Claus Hempler (DK)
    29. 20.000 Seconds – K’s Choice
    30. Ode To My Family – The Cranberries

    () signify country of origin of the Nordic songs: I, Iceland: DK, Denmark: N, Norway: S, Sweden.

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    Satisfaction With Life Index

    Saturday, May 16th, 2009

    The Satisfaction with Life Index is an attempt to show life satisfaction (subjective life satisfaction) in different nations. In this calculation, subjective well being correlates most strongly with health, wealth, and access to basic education.

    This is an example of a recent trend to use direct measures of happiness, such as surveys asking people how happy they are, as an alternative to traditional measures of policy success to GDP or GNP. Some studies suggest that happiness can be measured effectively. (From Wikipedia.org)

    The Satisfaction with Life Index

    As most WT-readers would know by now, I like lists of all sorts. Being a Dane I tend to particularly like this one. It was made a few years ago, in 2006, the year I began this expedition.

    …and you might wanna know why I chose to leave that golden country of Denmark, right there on top of that list, but that’s another story for now. It certainly wasn’t because of dissatisfaction with life, I tell you…

    Have a look at the list. It might bring a few surprises. I was in Turkmenistan in 2006 which is #171 on the list. Georgia is #169. Bulgarians don’t seem to be very happy about life, at #164, whereas Brazilians (#8) and Costaricans (#13) seem to have a blast…

    Nicolai (from The Deep South in country #23 on the list)

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    New Google Map Feature on WT!

    Thursday, May 14th, 2009

    Welcome to this new feature! The great Google Maps that makes it possible to keep track of my whereabouts on the planet.

    Please click on the blue “drops” that might (might not) have a little piece of info about the accomodation style (wild camping, private, hostel etc.) or otherwise.

    Regular Google Map Users know it all, but to everyone else, you can choose between a number of viewing modes in the right hand corner (map, sat, terrain) and you can zoom and fiddle around on the navigation bars in the upper left hand corner.

    Also, you can “View Larger Map” by clicking the appropriate button under the map…

    I hope you enoy and see you in Google Map World…


    View

    WT USA Route 2009 in a larger map

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    The Swine Flu – An Anthropological Take

    Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

    LET’S FACE IT: It’s not about the flu. No, it’s not about the flu. It’s about fear. It’s about the fear of losing control in this otherwise over-controlled world that we inhabit. How else would you rationally explain why people from all over – though it seems to be mostly a Western phenomenon – get so extremely worked up on a mass scale not compatible with the fact that a mere 16 people have died (as of today, 02MAY2009) from the newly detected H1N1 virus?

    Fear, I tell you, is a very powerful (if very irrational) force that moves people, makes us react, and – as is clearly the case this time – sometimes makes us lose the grip on (rational) life. Not unlike love. But when love takes control, things seem to go hmm and ahh, whereas when fear takes control (in and around us) things get messy, things get ugly, and the mass hysteria that we are witnessing on a global level these days – in the media as well as in the streets – is not pretty and we don’t need it.

    It’s ugly when people look at you like a criminal when you sneeze (because of the aircon, i.e.) in a Mexican convenience store, it’s ugly when the random street vendor you ask for direction takes one step away from you, to cut it short, it’s ugly when humans are not acting human and treating each other as such. And it makes me sad.

    As an anthropologist I see certain strata, certain aspects of human life, and I question and try to understand why people behave and react the way they do. I try to find the rationale when there seems to be none, try to make sense of the senseless, and – to be honest – this pandemic angst is quite senseless when you look at the facts and the what-is instead of the what-if without letting fear rob all human logic.

    As a private person, I’m disappointed with the way we (including the media) have dealt with this flu situation so far. The precautions made globally seem downright absurd.
    I’m disappointed with the ever so greedy sensationalism of the media, but – after all – it’s their bread-and-butter. But do keep in mind, that the media is the biggest hand that feeds the flu hysteria. Not H1N1 itself.

    What disappoints me the most is the complete lack of mental filters, the lack of personal assessment of the situation, of the apparently unquestioned trust we show whenever “experts” have things to say about this and that, which all seems to be the name-of-the-game for most of us in our contact with the almighty wisdom and messages of the media. Most people simply seem to just gulp it all down, uncritically and undigested, and it saddens me.

    There has always been virus around, there always will be. As unsensitive as it may sound, virus (and the deaths caused directly or indirectly by them) are very much a part of life, and this proliferating global panicking, that seems so out-of-hand, shows us that we are not very well adjusted to this fact.

    The difference is that we are now able to detect and track down the origin, the spread, and likely future of the virus. Nothing makes this particular H1N1 virus more lethal than others, but because science and technology now allows us to follow the life of the virus closely – and with the media all too eager to tell us about the possible (and often) horrific outcome – we start freaking out, we start visualizing the worst case scenarios, we start seeing ghosts (when there are no ghosts), and Armageddon days are here. This is out of all proportions.

    And come on, this virus (plus the next ones to come – and, yes, there will be more) only does what virus does. They spread. And they spread some more. And that’s no good, but what is really bad is that the fear of getting infected spreads way faster than the virus itself, that people stop trusting people, and that our minds get contaminated with angst, disbelief, and worry. It’s such a waste of our time and good energy.

    I hope that this Swine Flu-episode will very soon become history, and that we will look back on the whole thing with relief and a was-that-it? feeling. That we learn from this, that history won’t repeat itself, or rather, that we won’t repeat history.

    Stop fearing. Stop panicking. Turn off your TV. Start thinking.

    Nicolai

    (from Mexico, the assumed epicenter of the Swine Flu) :-)

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    Top 10 Alternative Rock Albums

    Friday, May 1st, 2009

    Because it’s not all about the flu – time to kick some ass.

    01. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time
    02. Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
    03. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
    04. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
    05. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
    06. Interpol – Our Love To Admire
    07. Jane’s Addiction – Strays
    08. The Killers – Sam’s Town
    09. The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers
    10. Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards

    - As of May 2009 -

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    Top 56 Songs For Rainy Days

    Sunday, April 12th, 2009

    It’s time for another Best Of from Camp WT.

    This list (alphabetically ordered) is a collection of sometimes tearjerking, always beautiful songs that – at certain times of my life – were all important to me, songs that in intricate ways found their way into me and simply stayed there.

    Songs that I feel connected with (in whatever way, for whatever reasons) and that I share a piece of my past with. Songs that might touch you as well, be it on a rainy or a sunny day…

    1 – Adriana Calcanhotto – Devolva-me
    2 – Alceu Valenca – La Belle de Jour
    3 – Antony and the Johnsons – Fistful of Love
    4 – Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You
    5 – Björk – Venus as a Boy
    6 – Blur – The Universal
    7 – Eva Cassidy – Autumn Leaves
    8 – Coldplay – Sparks
    9 – Counting Crows – Colorblind
    10 – Crowded House – Fall At Your Feet
    11 – The Cure – A Letter To Elise
    12 – Dave Matthew’s Band – I’ll Back You Up
    13 – David Gray – Babylon
    14 – dEUS – Nothing Really Ends
    15 – Djavan – Nem Um Dia
    16 – Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach – Painted From Memory
    17 – The Fray – How To Save a Life
    18 – Feist – So Sorry
    19 – Heather Nova – Paper Cup
    20 – Håkan Hellström – Jag hater att jag älsker deg…
    21 – Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over
    22 – John Legend – Save Room
    23 – John Mayer – Back To You
    24 – Joni Mitchell – River
    25 – José González – Heartbeats
    26 – Josh Rouse – Sad Eyes
    27 – Kashmir – The Aftermath
    28 – Kent – Chans
    29 – The Magic Numbers – I See You, You See Me
    30 – Maria Bethânia – Tá combinado
    31 – Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
    32 – Mono – Life In Mono
    33 – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss
    34 – R.E.M. – Nightswimming
    35 – Radiohead – True Love Waits
    36 – Damien Rice – The Blower’s Daughter
    37 – Ryan Adams – Avalanche
    38 – Sarah Blasko – Flame Trees
    39 – Sophie Zelmani – Going Home
    40 – Antonio Carlos Jobim – Corcovado
    41 – Starsailor – Way To Fall
    42 – Sting – Fields of Gold
    43 – Suede – The 2 Of Us
    44 – Teitur – Josephine
    45 – The The – Love Is Stronger Than Death
    46 – Thomas Dybdahl – From Grace
    47 – Tina Dickow – Room With A View
    48 – Tomas Andersson Wij – Vi Är värda så mycket mer
    49 – Tori Amos – Pretty Good Year
    50 – Tracy Chapman – If Not Now…
    51 – Travis – The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
    52 – U2 – One
    53 – Vanessa Mata & Ben Harper – Boa Sorte (Good Luck)
    54 – The Verve – Sonnet
    55 – Rufus Wainwright – I’m Going To a Town
    56 – Windmill – Fluorescent Lights

    Do enjoy and feel free to drop a comment…

    Nicolai (April, 2009)

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    Will You Ever Settle Down, Nicolai? (UK)

    Saturday, April 11th, 2009

    I do receive quite a lot of e-mails these days, from people asking various questions about my cycling life (about the preparations, equipment, route-planning, loneliness, best/worst experiences, colour of my undies etc.).

    I do appreciate the interest from all over the world and try to address the questions whenever I have a minute or two available. Recently, I’ve been trying hard to catch up with the present, to get the diary back up-to-date – an attempt that has been poorly lacking words (but a lot of photos!).

    I just got an e-mail from a british guy, David in London, who asked me:

    Do you ever hope to settle down, do you worry that you should have a wife, kids one day. Or will you travel indefinitely. I have worried too much about things and now time is running out!

    In this recent lacuna of words, I’ll post my reply here, in case unlikely event that other people have been wondering along the same lines…


    Hi David…

    Thanks for your words…

    Reg. your questions, I try not to think too much about what’s ahead of me, in terms of my future life, most likely in Denmark, but I try to keep my doors open and am sort of ready for whatever pops up/comes my way.

    I do fancy living in Denmark, at least for a while, once I hit Danish turf, around April 2010.

    My expedition needs all the focus I can afford, which is pretty much why I try not to “plan ahead” etc. I will have wife and kids one day. Absolutely. And this “missing link” in my life does, to be honest, take up more and more mental space on the journey, which is now running for the 4th consecutive year.

    Of course I do think a lot about my family, friends and girlfriend-to-be out here, away from everything that used to constitute “normal life” to me. Instead of actually missing all of that, looking back, thinking: “Shit, it’s been soo long since I’ve been with the people I love and really care about”, I try to look forward and think of it as a present to be opened in the (now not so distant) future.
    I often visualize the actual hugs with friends and family, and that is quite a tearjerker. Crossing the border with Denmark next year will be so immensely emotional to me. Goosebumps all over. :-)

    Get out of that comfy armchair of yours, David and get rolling. Regretting is not part of any bike trip!

    Hope all’s good in London.

    Best regards, Nicolai

    There is a lot more to be said on this matter, naturally, but this is it for now…

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    Photo Album From Nicaragua

    Thursday, April 9th, 2009

    It’s been a sort of busy day in WT world for me. Preparations for the 3-year birthday tomorrow (10APR2009), I guess we can call that kind of busy. A new photo album from lovely Nicaragua is ready.

    You know the game. 3 options as follows:

    1. Nicaragua photo album as slideshow

    2. Nicaragua photo album as a standard presentation.

    3. See the album below:

    Do enjoy!

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    Photo Album From Costa Rica is out…

    Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

    I’m back with more visuals from Central America. Please enjoy.

    See my favourite photos (60) from Costa Rica as a slideshow (best in full-screen mode) right here!

    …as a traditional Flickr presentation here!

    …or watch them below:

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    The Quiet Dane – a short story

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

    I met Bill Nelson first time in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2007 and again in Wellington, NZ in 2008, where he kindly hosted me for a few days in the Kiwi capital.

    Bill has written a travel article, The Quiet Dane, that he submitted for a writing contest. It was his first travel story ever, and he came a very fine runner up in the category New Travel Writer of the Year. Big congrats to Bill!

    It’s a great little story and you should definitely have a go at it here (down at the bottom)

    And yes, The Quiet Dane is me, Nicolai Bangsgaard, and being the main character of that story puts a proud feather in my hat…

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    WT article in Danish paper (Danish only)

    Sunday, April 5th, 2009

    As has been the norm every fortnight over the last three years, I had a WT-article in the national paper MetroXpress last Friday. It’s all in Danish, but here goes anyway…


    MetroXpress 03APR2009, Part 1

    MetroXpress 03APR2009, Part 2

    Metro 1

    Metro 2

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    WT Boat Trips 2006-2009

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

    Following is a cronological list of all the maritime (boat/ferry/dugout/raft or whatever) trips I’ve taken on the WT journey so far.

    Right from when it all started at KM Zero when Pablo and I left the ferry (from Copenhagen to Swinoujscie) in that cold April morning in 2006.

    Since then there’s been another 28 boat trips of varying length, from the 5 min. raft trip across the Titicaca Lake in Bolivia (# 27) to the king-size 50 hour-voyage from Bintan Island just south of Singapore and all the way to Jakarta, Java (# 15).

    The most beautiful was probably the ones in The Kingdom of Tonga (but see below for the classic exception)) (# 24+25) and the most recent across the Nicaragua Lake to the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua (# 29)…

    The WT-reader will know that the worst maritime rides were the first 33 hours of the sailing boat ride from Colombia to Panama (# 28) and the ride to the Tongan island of ‘Eua (# 23).

    The most crowded and uncomfortable (seasickness not included here) was the ferry ride from Sumbawa Isl. to Sumba Isl. in the East Indonesian archipelago, Nusa Tenggara (# 20, see under “more”).

    I hope you enjoy the list!

    Nicolai (March 2009, León – Nicaragua)

    1. Copenhagen, Denmark -> Swinoujscie, Poland. April 2006.
    2. Across Atatürk Baraji, Turkey. July 2006.
    3. Baku, Azerbaijan -> Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan. August 2006.
    4. Battambang -> Siem Reap, Cambodia. December 2006. (more, Danish)
    5. Luang Prabang -> Ban Houey Xai, Laos . March 2007.
    6. Chumphon -> Koh Tao, Thailand. May 2007 (more).
    7. Koh Tao -> Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand. June 2007 (more).
    8. Koh Pha-Ngan -> Koh Samui, Thailand. June 2007.
    9. Koh Samui -> Don Sak, Thailand. June 2007.
    10. Kuala Perlis -> Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia. June 2007.
    11. Pulau Langkawi -> Pulau Penang, Malaysia. June 2007.
    12. Kuala Besut -> Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia. June 2007. (more, Danish)
    13. Tanjung Gemok -> Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. July 2007.
    14. Singapore -> Batam, Indonesia. July 2007. (more, Danish)
    15. Batam Isl. -> Bintan Isl., Indonesia. July 2007.
    16. Telaga Punggur -> Jakarta, Indonesia. August 2007. (more, Danish)
    17. Java -> Bali, Indonesia. August 2007. (more, Danish)
    18. Bali -> Lombok, Indonesia. September 2007.
    19. Lombok -> Sumbawa, Indonesia. September 2007.
    20. Sumbawa -> Sumba, Indonesia. September 2007. (more)
    21. Sumba -> West Timor, Indonesia. September 2007. (more, Danish)
    22. Picton -> Wellington, New Zealand. May 2008. (more, Danish)
    23. Tongatapu -> ’Eua (return), Tonga. June 2008. (more, Danish)
    24. Tongatapu -> Ha’apai, Tonga. June 2008.
    25. Ha’apai -> Vava’u, Tonga. June 2008. (more)
    26. Tahiti -> Moorea (return), French Polynesia. July 2008.
    27. Across Lago de Titicaca, Tiquina, Bolivia. October 2008. (more, Danish)
    28. Cartagena, Colombia -> Cartí, Panama. February 2009. (more)
    29. San Jorge -> Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua. March 2009. (more)

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    WT Days For Sale

    Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

    Please click the link below for more…

    WT Day Sale

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    New Photo Album from Colombia…

    Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

    It’s been 38 days since I checked out of Ecuador and crossed the border in to Colombia, on January 9th.

    Tomorrow, February 17th, I’ll board the Sacanagem sailing boat – along with Brazilian Captain Federico and 11 other travellers – and leave mainland South America for the San Blas Islands and (on the 22nd) arrive in Panama, Central America.

    In a nutshell, Colombia has been a real highlight of my journey so far (scenically, gastronomically, socially), and I hope the photos in the album (slide show) below will illustrate why.

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    New WT Movie: The Milestones

    Monday, February 16th, 2009

    Inspired by the link I posted the other day about a guy that’s photographed himself every day for 6 years, I’ve made my own WT mini movie, The Milestones.

    For the regular WT-reader, this might be old wine in new bottles.

    Nicolai (Cartagena, Colombia)

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    World Sunlight Map

    Monday, February 9th, 2009

    This is a live view of the sunlight in the world, as of 09FEB2009, 5PM Colombian time.

    Just click the link below…

    Asleep or awake?

    A world map showing current sunlight and cloud cover, as of Feb 09 2009 21:00 UTC.
    This is the hemispherical projection.

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    Newsletter from Colombia

    Monday, January 26th, 2009

    Medellín – Colombia, 25JAN2009.

    I’ve always been partial to the statistical material, and to call my interest for the world of stats fetichism is just another way of putting it. That’s part of the reason why the first weeks of 2009 have been tremendously interesting…

    It was a special day for me to quietly celebrate Day # 1.000 on this solo bike expedition the other day. Even for me, it’s hard to grasp; 1.000 consecutive days on the road – now that’s roughly a 140 charter holidays non-stop – if you (like me) should find it hard to put it in the right perspective!

    In terms of distance cycled, my inner statistician has also had reasons to wag the tail. Since I left Denmark on April 10, 2006, I’ve taken a photo each time I reach another 1.000 km in an attempt to try and catch the different moments on the road. Crossing 40.000 km in central Ecuador obviously made my mouth foam proudly (figuratively speaking, that is).

    40.000 km. Just north of Latacunga, central Ecuador.

    Just north of Ecuador’s capital Quito (that I skipped this time in the name of progress) I crossed the Equator from the south, and thus, I’m now back on the northern hemisphere after almost 1½ years of exploration on the southern.

    On a similar note and speaking of the Equator: that chubby latitude around the centre of our Planet Earth is officially 40.075 km in diameter, and passing that point has made it even more appropriate to call myself a round-the-world cyclist.

    This is the official circumference of the Earth...And I can now call myself a RTW-cyclist...

    All this might seem insignificant and self-celebratory, but when you decide to cycle around the world on what is already the longest bicycle expedition in Denmark’s history and in front of you have a snake of asphalt (that’s how my bike look at it, anyway!) that might turn out to be around 60.000 km long, then it becomes mentally crucial to split up the immense challenge in more edible bits, to knock a few milestones in the ground along the way, and celebrate the small conquests of the enterprise once you pass them.

    These self-invented milestones are an important part of the motivating carrot for me, coz they arm me, in a very concrete way, partly with the knowledge that the goal (Denmark, in case you didn’t know) is getting closer, and partly with the confidence that I can do this.

    So milestones – be they fictive or real – are important markers that speak the language of progress, the language of development (mental and otherwise). It’s often like that in life, isn’t it?

    With lots of thoughts and love,

    Nicolai (from Medellín in Colombia, WT-country #30)

    And do keep coming back! WT has now had more than 1.000.000 hits (the stats freak said) and your support still means more to me than my words can explain…

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    Medellín update…

    Sunday, January 25th, 2009

    Just a very short update to those (unnecessarily) worried minds out there who may be wondering where I’m at and how things are going.

    Things are very fine here in Colombia. People are unbelievably friendly and kind to me wherever I go. The military presence is strong and at no point have I felt scared or afraid regarding the safety situation in this beautiful country still badly damaged by the image problem in the eyes of the outside world. If only I could change all that…

    Have just checked into a hostal (Black Sheep; yes it’s run by Kiwis) in a residential area in the nice(r) suburb El Poblado, with wifi ad nauseum which means that you can expect WT-updates in the very near future. Will stay here until I get tired of it, and then continue on the last Colombian leg (650 km) that will take me directly north to Cartagena and the Caribbean Coast.

    Meanwhile, have a look at the BIKELITE bicycle blog (below) that might tell a familiar story…

    Lynn’s BIKELITE blog

    Nicolai

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    A Few Updates From the Bits & Pieces Dept.

    Thursday, January 15th, 2009

    Just scroll down on the links below to see the latest additions…

    The Milestones (now past 40K)

    The Licence Plates

    N

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    Schwalbe Test Driver… (UK)

    Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

    On WT Expedition Day #171, on September 27th 2006, I changed my front tyre (after 8.900 km since departure) in what could easily be on of the prettiest spots on Earth for doing just that, changing tyres. I was in southern Kyrgyzstan near Sary Tash on my way to Kashgar in the Xinjiang Province, Western China.

    Having a flat tyre in Kyrgyzstan!

    Little did I know, that it would be another 818 days until I had to do that again.

    On Day 999, after 30.807 km on the same Schwalbe Marathon XR tyre, I decided to call it a day and give the hard-working tyre a final and well-deserved rest. I had just 2 regular thing-through-the-tyre flats on that front tyre in 2 years and 3 months.

    Kyrgyzstan

    There a general consensus among long-distance cyclists that the German company Schwalbe makes the best and most durable tyres in the world which my 30K+ km just bear witness to.

    Thus, I’m very glad and honoured that Schwalbe has offered me a new set of their brand new 2009 model Marathon Extreme to take for a (hopefully long and puncture-free) test drive around the world (and thanks to my friend Ragge for bringing them over to me in Peru).

    This is how it looks on my Koga, and I’m quite excited to see how it performs.

    Schwalbe Marathon Extreme!

    In return for the tyres – and a big thank you to Product Manager at Schwalbe, Carsten Zahn – I just need to make a little stat report and deliver the tyres back to the company for further inspection.

    It feels like a nice thing to add the tag Schwalbe Test Driver to my status. The cyclists out there would know what I’m talking about…

    God Bless and long live my new Marathon Extreme!

    Nicolai (Popayán, Colombia)

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    Photo Set from Peru is out!

    Thursday, January 8th, 2009

    I’ve picked 200 of my best, most memorable, or otherwise visuals from my 2 months in Peru…

    Have a look at the album right here!

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    The Global Peace Index…

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    Just recently I heard about the Global Peace Index. Being a pacifist of sorts this index immediately caught my attention while fooling around the web the other day…

    From Wikipedia:

    The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness.

    Have a look at the list of countries here…

    The Global Peace Index

    A few comments:

    Isn’t it funny how all the textbook citizens of the Scandinavian countries all do so well in these surveys… :-)

    It does make sense to me that New Zealand are up there amongst the top, but what are the Aussies doing down at #27?

    …and don´t worry too much about Colombia’s position way down the list. This is all just based on statistical material – I’m gonna prove that all this talk about Colombia being such a dangerous country is yesterday’s news and that the country doesn’t deserve all the bad media hype…

    Anyway, I love global indexes like this…

    – The Peaceful Dane –

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    How Hard Was Today’s Cycling?

    Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

    Difficulty Level:

    You might have noticed that recently I started putting an extra line in the Stats of the Cycling Day (I like stats). A little comment is in order here. The Difficulty Level (abb. Diff.) is an over-all and highly subjective judgment of the toughness and difficulty of the cycling day.

    The most obvious parameters (for the cyclist) such as distance, uphills, wind conditions are the main parts of the judgment, but factors like weather conditions (temperature, precipitation etc.), luggage weight (it roughly changes according to the general climate I´m cycling in), my personal well-being and mood of the day (often affected by amount of sleep and food in stomach) are also part of it.

    The index goes from 1 to 5, 1 being an easy day, 5 being a really hard one (or perceived as such, ie.).

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    My Favourite Shots + NYE blabla (UK)

    Sunday, December 28th, 2008

    The following 3 photo sets each contain 1.000 (it is Xmas time, after all) of my personal favourites from the last nearly 1.000 days. See the link?

    As usual, I suggest viewing the photos as a slideshow. Just click the “Slideshow” link after clicking the links below (and click the photo once to see text pop-up).

    WT Favourites Photo Set #1

    Chronologically, this set shows 1.000 favourites from Poland (April 2006) to Vietnam February (2007).

    ———————————-

    WT Favourites Photo Set #2

    From Vietnam (February 2007) to Australia (December 2007)

    ———————————-

    WT Favourites Photo Set #3

    From Australia (Jan 2008) to Bolivia (September 2008)

    ———————————-

    …and may 2009 enrich your life (inner-, work-, family-, spiritual- or otherwise) and be just as challenging and fulfilling as you’d wish for.

    Be patient with the world and the people around you. It’s all our first time here.

    Don’t rush yourself and other things that aren’t meant to be rushed. (End of gibberish)

    I hope I’ll see you here next year as well!

    Happy New Year to all WT-readers…

    Nicolai (Pasaja, Ecuador – 27DEC2008)

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    WT-movie – Uncut Version

    Saturday, December 20th, 2008

    I’ve uploaded the original and uncut 11’13” minute version of the latest mini-movie from Chile and Argentina on Vimeo – a video sharing site comparable to YouTube.

    Watch it here!

    Nicolai

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    Milestones Updated

    Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

    Milestones updated (38.000 km, Peru – November 2008)

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    Top 20 Hard to Leave Places (UK)

    Monday, November 3rd, 2008

    People often ask me if I just keep pedalling all the time like some Forest Gump on a bike.
    As you’d know by now, the answer is a big and clear no. I take my time whenever I want and whenever I find something worth staying for.

    Sometimes it is because of the people I meet, the friends that I’m staying with, the weather, the beauty of the place, the general feel-good vibe of the place, the cultural possibilities of the big city, the need for some time off the bike, the liquid (and most likely alcoholic) temptations of the night life, or what feels like unavoidable glue in the streets. There are lots of things to blame here.

    Without having a return ticket and no apparent rush to get back home to Denmark (well, that wish for having my own family some day is still lingering), it can actually be harder to leave some places than you’d expect. Stay or go? is a constant (and, admittedly, luxury) dilemma on this RTW crusade.

    Cusco, Peru will definitely make it to the list as well. But since – after 4 days and still counting – I haven’t left this wonderful city yet, it won’t figure here.

    Top 20 Hard to Leave Places*

    1. Chiang Mai, Thailand (31)
    2. Kathmandu, Nepal (17)
    3. Sydney, Australia (30)
    4. Koh Tao, Thailand (8)
    5. Luang Prabang, Laos (11)
    6. Moorea, French Polynesia (20)
    7. Pokhara, Nepal (6)
    8. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia (6)
    9. Melbourne, Australia (25)
    10. Istanbul, Turkey (11)
    11. Adelaide, Australia (12)
    12. Foa Island, Tonga (5)
    13. La Paz, Bolivia (6)
    14. Perhentian Island, Malaysia (5)
    15. Kuta (Bali), Indonesia (8)
    16. Salta, Argentina (6)
    17. Hanoi, Vietnam (7)
    18. Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand (4)
    19. Varna, Bulgaria (4)
    20. Kraków, Poland (5)

    *) 13 cities, 7 islands. Numbers in parenthesis signify (approx.) days of stay.

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    Top 25 World’s Beautiful Cities (UK)

    Monday, October 13th, 2008

    Following is a highly biased and subjective list of the world’s most beautiful cities. The criteria are: A) a population of minimum 100.000 and B) minimum a few days of personal exploration.

    As with human beings, beauty is a questionable concept that has many different sources. Some, like #1 and #2, are just blessed with the most stunning setting imaginable. Others, like #5, #8, and #9 find beauty in their majestic magnitude and historical grandeur. Others again, like #4, #11, and #18 holds a certain socio-cultural attraction that make those places beautiful in my eyes.

    To make it clear(er) where I find the beauty of these cities, I’ve added a few parametres, plus the year of the visit(s).

    N = Natural setting
    M = Monuments and buildings
    C = Cultural interest and beauty
    H = Historical depth and beauty

    Top 25 World’s Beautiful Cities

    1. Sydney, Australia [N – 2008]
    2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [N – 1998, 2002]
    3. Istanbul, Turkey [N, M, H - 2006]
    4. Marrakech, Morocco [M, C – 2005 (x2)]
    5. Rome, Italy [M, C, H - 1994]
    6. Copenhagen, Denmark [N, M, H – 2001-2006]
    7. Cusco, Peru [M, C, H - 1998]
    8. Madrid, Spain [M, H – 1999, 2004]
    9. Paris, France [M, C, H - 1993]
    10. Chiang Mai, Thailand [M, C, H – 2000, 2007]
    11. Samarkand, Uzbekistan [M, C, H - 2006]
    12. Melbourne, Australia [N, C - 2008]
    13. Oaxaca, Mexico [M, C, H - 1998]
    14. Sucre, Bolivia [N, M, C - 2008]
    15. Granada, Spain [M, C - 1999]
    16. Krakow, Poland [M, H - 2006]
    17. Salta, Argentina [M, C, H - 2008]
    18. Potosí, Bolivia [N, M, C, H – 1998, 2008]
    19. Aarhus, Denmark [N, M, H – 1998-2001]
    20. Lisbon, Portugal [N, M, H – 1999, 2001]
    21. Luang Prabang, Laos [N, C – 2000, 2007]
    22. Bukhara, Uzbekistan [M, C, H - 2006]
    23. Hanoi, Vietnam [M, C, H - 2007]
    24. Granada, Nicaragua [N, C - 1998]
    25. San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico [M, C, H - 1997]

    Comments are always welcome!

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