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    Christmas Note From Camp WT (UK)

    On my bike the other day I suddenly realized that this will very soon be the end of 2008. We all have these moments, and I just couldn’t get it into my head. Just recently I started feeling comfortable and familiar with the sound of 2008, and now, well, it’s about to be replaced by another unfamiliar set of digits, 2-0-0-9. All part of the process.

    Far from my European home...

    Luckily for me, WT is out there, and without the documentation I’d find it hard to believe that we’re on the brink of a new year. Dividing the year in months, countries, faces and places it became obvious to me that, wow!, a lot of stuff’s been going on this year (as well as in 2006, 2007, and, I suppose, the years to come).

    Tarabuco Sunday Market. Bolivia, October 2008

    I still feel extremely (such a vague word compared to what I feel here) happy and fortunate being able to live my dream. And being able to share my dream and my thoughts with you, ladies and gents, makes it all seem even more worth while. I’ve said it too many times already, but thank you so much for the attention, the feedback, the encouragement, the thoughts, and for being part of my mental support, my army of unsung heroes when smiles are wide as well as when the going gets tough. I really do appreciate it all and I hope we’ll meet here again in 2009.

    At the Australian Open Tennis 2008, Melbourne.

    Looking back on 2008
    I started 2008 with a beautiful ride on the 1st of January from Sorrento (where I spent Christmas with good friends) to Melbourne, where I stayed most of January.

    After a week on magnificent Tasmania, I went back to Melbourne for the Australian Open Tennis and the truly unforgettable Rainbow Serpent Festival.

    Wonderful Diamond Bay near Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula.

    Beginning of February I met up with Jens, a Danish film-maker and anthropologist (and good friend), who cycled with me for a month from Melbourne to Sydney while making a WT-documentary. It was so much fun to have Jens on board the otherwise solo WT vessel, we made some good footage, Aussie nature was outstanding. Rumour has it that this coming year will see more of that travel documentary coming.

    Nicolai on the road, headwind.

    Leaving Sydney and Australia wasn’t easy for me. Tears were shed at the Sydney Int’l Airport on March 23rd when I left for Christchurch, New Zealand. As an all-round country, Australia (see mini-movie here, quality is bad) is probably my favourite country and I sometimes miss it (the nature and my friends) more than I miss my Danish home turf. Weird, isn’t it?

    From the Crown Ranges Summit, 1076 m.a.s. NZ highest asphalt road.

    New Zealand was stunningly beautiful as everyone’d told me. I spent 3 months there touring both islands and meeting heaps of hospitable kiwis along the way. It’s a great little isolated paradise they’ve got down there. The natural splendour of New Zealand is unbeatable and I experienced a great degree of freedom and being out there amongst the Gods of Nature (see mini-movies from New Zealand’s South Island and North Island.)

    Tongan wildlife!!!

    End of May I left Auckland, NZ and swopped chilly Kiwi temperatures with the tropical delights in the Kingdom of Tonga. I totally loved Tonga, for its sheer beauty, laidback atmosphere, and almost complete lack of touristy knick-knacks and infrastructure.

    Next up was the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Moorea, where I experienced some of the most outstanding island scenery I’ve ever seen. (Mini-movie from French Polynesia here)

    Magnificent Moorea!

    On the 08.08.08, the day the Olympic Games started, I arrived on Rapa Nui/The Easter Island where I spent a week before the LAN Chile plane took me the last bit across the gigantic Pacific Ocean to Santiago, Chile.

    Uhh, the majestic Andes Range is sort of blocking my way!

    South America was a reality and being back on the continent after 6 years absence, ready for an uncertain number of months cruising the Andean countries was another dream come true to me.

    Tongariki, Rapa Nui. August 2008.

    I’ve cycled a total of 6.360 km since I left Santiago, Chile late August this year. As the crow flies that’s the same distance as from my hometown Copenhagen, Denmark to the African Equator near Kampala, Uganda – if anyone should ever wonder what happened to me this autumn. Exclusive of this are the occasional extreme headwind days, crossing the gigantic Andes Range, the high-altitude cyling on the Altiplano, the seemingly endless ups-and-downs in Bolivia and Peru, the heat of the Peruvian desert and the cold of the Bolivian 4.000+ m mountain passes etcetera.

    Lunch at the Lake Putrerillo, west of Mendoza, Argentina.

    The route so far has taken me across the Andes from Chile into gorgeous Argentina, up through the north-west part of the country along the famed and magnificent Ruta 40 (see movie from Chile + Argentina), into and across Bolivia via Tupiza, Potosí, Sucra, Cochabamba, La Paz, and Copacabana. Bolivia is another favourite country of mine.

    Curious mules.

    When I cross the border into Ecuador between Christmas and NYE, it’ll be two months since I crossed the border into Peru (photo album out soon) on the Titicaca Lake.

    Argentinaaaaa!!!

    It’s been a week already since I met up here in Máncora with my friend from back home. Ragnar (who’s originally from southwestern Norway but lives and works in Copenhagen) is here in Peru (and Chile) for 3 weeks and will fly back to Denmark on the 28th of December. I keep my fingers and toes crossed that 2009 will see me re-unite with more familiar faces from back home or wherever. No, I’m not discreetely asking for sympathy, but being away from your beloved ones is probably the single most difficult thing about cycling around the world.

    Puquio elderlys.

    It’s been (and still is) great to catch up on the past, see memorable jokes arise, and enjoy social times with someone you know and knows you. I can hardly imagine a better Christmas present, and I’m extremely pleased and happy that we got to meet under this blissful Peruvian sun. His was the first familiar face for me in two years (!) since I said goodbye to my parents and my sister in a tearful taxi in Saigon, Vietnam on the first day of 2007.

    Another flat tyre! Near Juliaca, Peru.

    Gastronomically, I’ve been treated very well ever since I arrived here in South America almost 5 months ago. It’s really cool that finally (after 11 fairly anorexic months money-wise in Australia, New Zealand, and Polynesia) I feel I can actually afford eating out several times a day, and it is a welcome luxury to my life that I don’t have to cook every meal myself, that going out doesn’t ruin my slim pockets, and that I can afford sleeping in cheap hostels and thus save both time and energy by not camping, putting up the tent every day, cleaning pots and pans and other quotidian tasks. Me getting lazy? No way! :-)

    The Koga and La Ruta 40...

    Specifically, the abundance of cheap mangos has given me numerous fruit parties over the last 6 weeks or so. At just 0.60 USD/kilo the mangos are hard to resist for me and my daily intake has been around 1 kg (3 big ones). Having resorted to this nomadic bicycle life in celibacy it does feel great to experience this kind of food porn on a daily basis. Pure heaven, I tell you.

    When the going gets tough! South of Cotagaita, southern Bolivia.


    Distance cycled, 2008: 14.000 km

    Distance cycled, 2007: 14.150 km

    Distance cycled, 2006: 11.100 km (9 months)

    Total distance cycled: 39.250 km

    (See complete WT log)

    Indigena woman north of Vitichy, southern Bolivia.


    A sketchy estimate for 2009

    As said, I will get to Ecuador before New Year and I plan to roughly just head for the mountains and the mainroad, the Panamericana, and relatively quickly (on your bike, everything is indeed relative) cross the country and head for Colombia.

    From Cartagena (Colombia) on the Caribbean I’ll take a sailing boat to Panama and start pedalling up through Central America, across Mexico and into the US where I plan on sticking to the southern States and end up in Florida (alternatively New York) from where I’ll hop across the Atlantic (via boat or plane) to West Africa (likely Senegal) and go home from there. Sounds easy enough, huh?

    Nicolai and the Koga on the Bolivian altiplano...

    Things can – and most likely will – change, and that’s the beauty of it all. This is my premonition for now, though. It’s still a long way to go. A long and lovely way to go. I still feel quite confident that I can/will knock the bastard off as Edmund Hillary said after reaching the top of Mt. Everest.
    All too soon it’ll be a whopping 1.000 days since I left Denmark, and 2009 will be the fourth consecutive calender year on the road. Hard to believe – even for the captain of the ship.

    Merry Xmas to you all. And may 2009 find you in high spirits and good health.

    Nicolai (Máncora, northern Peru)

    On this day..

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    12 Responses to “Christmas Note From Camp WT (UK)”

    1. dirk Says:

      wow mate!

      nice to hear this great news! everytime it is a big adventure to read your storys again and from all these countrys your traveling/ cycling treu!

      seems that 2009 even going to get a crazyer challenge with africa coming up.
      but challenge are there to beat them, and im sure you ready for that!

      a happy christmas out there and we wish you a verry adventerous 2009 and all the luck and welness to get around in a new year!

      keep on going mate!

      greetings from Dirk.

    2. Caroline Says:

      Nicolai! I just wanna wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I still follow you on your amazing travel. Me and Lina are right now in Hawaii – Oahu, for three weeks. Be careful out there! Caroline

    3. Karin Says:

      Glædelig jul.

    4. Dr Ingrid Says:

      Hi Nicolai, happy xmas and happy new year. Home amongst family for the first xmas at time in 2 years. I can’t understand the scale of your time away but i can relate to the pleasures of being amounst friends and family especially at this time of year. Glad the food intake has impoved however a kilo of mangoes a day must be keeping you more than regular!!! Anyway happy new year and i look forward to reading more tales from your travels and seeing even more smiling photos’s. Happy cycling love I xx

    5. Fam. Godt Says:

      hej Nicolai

      Vi siger glade dejlige jul og et godt nyt hår.

      Vi glæder os til at læse om nye eventyr i det nye år.

      Let the force be with you.

    6. Pao Says:

      Dear Nicolaiiiii!!!
      I hope u have a happy christmas and wich you an amazing new year 2009 !!! with many new nices places, and good people!
      good luck amigo ! miss u !
      all ur Chilean Family send u hugs and best wishes !!!!

      besos amiguito !!!!!! take care and enjoy !!!!!!!!

    7. Teun (Mt Cook, NZ) Says:

      Hey Nicolai,

      Life is as good as you make it, and you surely know how to make it a very good life. Jealous is not the correct word for what I feel when I read your stories or watch your pictures/movies, but only because I try hard to make every day a day as good as possible.

      Keep on living your dreams…. and keep on sharing the dreams you lived with us!

      Merry Xmass and a very good 2009!!

    8. ginny Says:

      Wow it still blows away my mind reading all your adventures,how hard it will be for you when you finish this odessy.As a Mum I cannot begin to imagine how proud your parents must feel,also worried at times. Well keep safe and as Buzz Lightyear (Aiden’s hero,) says “To infinity and Beyond!” Luv NannyJ

    9. Anders Says:

      Hi Nicolaj

      Just want to say that the bike arrived in one piece. Thank you very much for the advice, it was such a big help to me!

      Merry Christmas from Cairo

    10. Volker&Katharina Says:

      Hello Nicolaj,
      thank you for your christmas letter. We wish you also a nice christmas and a good new 2009 with a lot of experience. It’s true, the time spun away last year. Now we are back in Germany for 11 month and we often remember the good time in Australia. We envy you that you have time too discover so many new things and cultures.
      We wish you all the best!!!
      Merry Christmas from Germany -Katharina and Volker

    11. Søren Says:

      Happy Xmas. Africa in 2009 – sounds exotic. May I suggest to use a Danish search engine to search for your cheap airline tickets from Florida to Africa. http://www.momondo.com has been awarded for it’s eminence to find plane tickets around the world.

    12. asepnaga Says:

      well,that’s you!this’s me!you cycle over the world and i cycle over the words.Anyway,Marry xxx mas!do i have to say the word?still,keep moving on!

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