My short bio: Hey everyone, my name is Patrick and I have been travelling around the world for over 7 years now. I am heavily into sports and usually ride a bike everywhere. I just came back from Ireland, country #115, previous to that I rode a carbon roadbike from Westafrica to Europe. My next tour will be through the Siberian winter, from Europe to Japan.

By now I have been to every country North/Central/South-Americas, Australia & New Zealand, 50% of Africa, ~33% of Asia and every country in Europe, except Belarus.

You can find our more about my tours on my website:

I already did an AMA 7 months ago in r/bicycletouring, in case you want to have a look.

I'm happy to help people that want to travel as well, but don't quite know where to start.

My Proof:

*awesome typo in the title: sually = usually. :D

Comments: 330 • Responses: 113  • Date: 

dumbwaiters30 karma

How do you manage financially?

Meph24832 karma

Some savings, some passive income (Rent from my house and donations from a PC game mod I make), some odd jobs, and free equipment sponsored by companies.

But most important is keeping the costs low. Travel by bike, camp a lot, and cook yourself, and the highest costs dwindle down to almost nothing.

I say a bit more about costs in an interview I did here:

sltrOlsson6 karma

What's the name of the mod?

Meph24816 karma

Some asked that already, so I just copy paste the answer:

It's very obscure. It's for Dwarf Fortress, an american indie game that is somewhat of a cult classic in the roguelike genre. Its even in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. :D

Tarn Adams does all the work, I just happen to write the currently most popular mod for it. Masterwork Dwarf Fortress. The name derives from the quality rating of ingame items, which go from well-crafter up to Masterwork.

The community is the best I have ever seen on the internet and is the main reason I spend so much time on it. The people there are amazing.

DoWhile11 karma

DF is huge on reddit!

Meph24810 karma

And I'm huge on DF. ;)

Digitaldude55521 karma

Most dangerous country you visited?

Meph24844 karma

Officially: Somalia, most dangerous country in the world. (I felt very welcome and safe, also got police/military escort for the largest part.)

Un-Officially: Anywhere where I was forced to ride a bicycle on a highway. Traffic is the biggest danger, not animals, disease or bandits.

Hoyata218 karma

I'm from Somaliland aka north Somalia, it's very safe the only thing that could kill you is being board to death. I can see how Somalia is dangerous, Somaliland has a democratic elected president and peaceful power transfer. Their own currency army police too

Meph24814 karma

It was indeed Somaliland I visited. From Djibuti to Hargeysa and from there to Ethiopia. You guys are super welcoming, although I got some complaints about my choice of dress. Tight cycle gear doesn't work well in islamic countries now and then.

luther_lamar3 karma

How did you like Ethiopia?

Meph24821 karma

I like the country for its geography, but the people are a curse. Sorry to say it, but it ranks on my personal list very, very low. Only place where kids randomly run up to me and throw rocks or hit me with whips (they are usually sheperds and drive some animals).

It was quite tough, and the food was among the worst I had. (I know that ethiopian restaurants in the western countries are fancy and have good food, but an ethiopian village is something else)

I am not the only one who had this experience, a friend of mine just rode through there, 5 years after I did it, had the very same problems.

luther_lamar3 karma

Where in Ethiopia did you visit? That may have been part of of the problem. Properly cooked Ethiopian food is amazing!

Meph2488 karma

Came from Sudan, went to Gondar, north to Shire, Adigrat, axumite empire stuff and through the simien mountains, down Mekele, to Lalibela, to Addis, Harare (which was nice), Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa towards Djibuti/somaliland, and all the way down from Addis to Moyale to Kenia.

I think I saw most of it. I liked Addis and Harare, and the sites in Lalibela, but the food was horrible. Injera, Injera, Injera...

luther_lamar2 karma

Yeah you definitely saw a good portion of the country. I'm sorry you had a bad experience there, I love it out there! I will admit though, Ethiopian food in the U.S. tastes way better than Ethiopian food in Ethiopia.

Meph2486 karma

Not sure how you travel/life, but with the bike you burn a lot of calories and you are slow. So you stop 4-5-6 times a day for food, and mostly in the tiniest of villages. Yes, Addis or Gondar had good food, but mostly I was in the middle of nowhere.

90815 karma

obvious question - where live the most beautiful ladies ?

Meph24844 karma

Skandinavisraelcolumbia :D

fodtp11 karma


Meph24820 karma

Correct. In German its Kolumbien, thats why I accidently added that U insteaf of an O.

rune55 karma

Why Colombia and not Venezuela?

Meph24814 karma

Better plastic surgery :P

Kanij2 karma

Could you tell me about your trip through Colombia. I go about three times per year. Wondering what cities you visited

Meph2483 karma

We came from Venezuela at Cucuta, and stayed a month in Santa Marta, I hiked to the cuidad perdida, went to Cartagena, Bogota, all the way down to Ecuador through Ipiales, and somewhere was this quaint little mountain town thats all cobblestones and colonial, but I forgot the name.

No Medellin or Cali though.

thoughtgap12 karma

Sorry if this question was already posted, but I'll try anyway: could you publish a rough gear list including your essentials? Danke! :)

Edit: spelling

Meph24810 karma

Hasnt been asked, but cant be answered. Gear for every tour is vastly different. But you can find two rather detailed lists, one in text form for a 18 month tour from Argentina to Canada, and one for a ultra-light tour from Westafrica to Germany, on my website. => go to routes, and Americas and Westafrica have the detailed lists. Just click on the "Details" button under the map. Hope that helps.

internalwombat11 karma

So, where are you from originally?

Meph24815 karma

Cologne, Germany. I spend about 3-6 months a year there. Resting, planning, doing paperworks, finances, sponsoring...

eonsandeons3 karma

I'm planning on moving to Europe from Canada once I graduate to teach english, and Germany is one of the main places I am considering moving to. I have visited once and loved it but visiting and living are two very different things. Would you recommend a move to Germany?

Meph2483 karma

Germany is a nice place to live, after all I still live here after seeing 114 other countries. ;)

But I cant recommend anything to you without lots of background info. But yeah, Germany is nice, so are Switzerland and Austria. Dont know if you are francophone, if yes, France of course too.

weemental8 karma

How did you meet people whilst traveling? Do you think the experience made you more confident? Did you ever feel especially lonely?

Meph2487 karma

Meeting people is the easiest thing while traveling. Honestly its inevitable, there is no way not to meet people.

Be it on public transport, hiking, biking, dormitories in hostels, just talking to other foreigners in foreign countries (Lost in Translation is a great movie about that), being approached by strangers, approaching strangers, asking for help... it happens automatically. Sometimes it's even a bit too much, especially in hostels.

Yes, I'm about an unlimited amount more confident now than before.

Lonely on tours, also yes. Worst was the 1 year tour to Southafrica from Germany. It was just me on a bicycle, and while you meet people, they are not people you can relate to. It was quite hard finding someone to talk to. The internet helps a lot. But I also traveled a lot with my girlfriend, who comes with me when she can. :)

Hakim_Slackin7 karma

do you recomend a high tech aluminium bike or something like that or a common steel frame which could get welded if broken?

Meph2487 karma

Considering that I rode a full-carbon roadbike on my Saharacrossing, I would say neither. Steel is too heavy for my taste. Aluminium is ok, but also more heavy.

Getting stuff welded is more a myth than anything else. Even if it works, the bike handling will never be the same, and I would rather get a new frame, than ride a broken one. Too risky.

Hakim_Slackin6 karma


Meph2486 karma

That being said, I do travel pretty light. I usually have 1 handlebar bag and 2 pannier bags, or no panniers bags and everything on the frame.

If you have 6 bags and lots of stuff, a heavier frame doesnt affect you that much. But I count grams a lot.

Hakim_Slackin3 karma

I backpack a lot so I'm all about gram counting.

Meph2483 karma

I am heavily influenced by US ultra-light hikers, people that do AT, PCT and CDT. :) You guys have the best companies for fitting gear, its always a hassle to order it from Europe. :P

Jason_Worthing1 karma

How much weight do you generally travel with? (not counting your bike or clothing / helmet / things you are wearing)

Meph2482 karma

I do have to count the stuff I am wearing. ;)

Depends on the tour. The last was 2 weeks hiking in Ireland, I had 7kg total. Thats what I wear, backpack, clothing, full camping gear.

Last bike tour was on a 7,6kg carbon racing bike, no pannier bags, everything on the bike itself or in a backpack. I had 10kg of luggage, with water/food it was ~20kg total. Bike, gear and supplies.

On my 18 month Argentina to Canada tour it was more like 12kg bike and 18kg luggage, so around 30kg total.

OtakuSRL7 karma

Around how many tires / rims have you repaired / replaced through-out your journeys? :)

Meph2488 karma

Rims: 0

Tires: A new set about every 5,000-10,000km. Schwalbe Marathon Plus hold a long time.

Inner Tubes: Probably 70 patches, and at least 12 new tubes.

Bikes: 5. I am on my fifth bike now, getting ready for number 6. (fingers crossed, depends on sponsors)

Overall I have to say that high-quality bikes are pretty mainentance free, if you treat them well.

illustribox1 karma

Whoa. What rims were you using?

Meph2481 karma

Whatever was on the bike. Mavic 719 on the heavier one, Mavic Ksyrium Elite on the roadbike. I also had some cheap chinese steel rims on one bike, but thats a long story and wasnt intended.

OsijekLoL6 karma

Which country have you enjoyed the most and why :)?

Meph24811 karma

A hard question. :)

There is no favourite, because it different times, different things are important to me. India was amazing, I spend 3 weeks on the Andaman Islands, aways from everything. Very relaxing, cheap, good food, good people...

Senegal felt like a paradise, after going through Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinee and Guinee-Bissau. But if I would go now, (Germany to Senegal) it wouldnt.

I could easily write down a list, and say "Place A was best for X", "Place B was best for Y" ;)

I think every place that fullfilled some kind of childhood dream was amazing. When you say "Once in my life, I want to see/do/accomplish this", and then you do. These moments are the ones I enjoy most, not a specific country in itself.

JimmyMarshall3 karma

Ohhhh... what were the Andaman Islands like? What did you get up to there?

Meph2487 karma

Snorkel, dive, read, lie in the hammok, hunt crabs and cook them, swim, bonfires at the beach, eat, sleep, nothing, walk around and talk to people about future plans.

The islands are one of the best places I have been. They are like southeastasia without tourists. I stayed on Neil island, which only has 3 places for accommodation. It was very far away from anything else.

And the food is among the best I had.

Mondonodo6 karma

What was the most scenic place you've been to?

Meph24825 karma

Mountains: Patagonia, Torres Del Paine.

Cliffs: Northern Ireland

Deserts: (Northern) Sudan

Islands: San Blas Archipelago, Panama

Forests: Vermont (?) ;)

Or, without categories: Grand Canyon wins. ;)

SlyRatchet3 karma

Back up a moment! Northern Ireland Deserts?

Meph2485 karma

Cliffs: Northern Ireland. ;) (the formatting was bad)

SlyRatchet4 karma

Ah, well at least Northern Ireland made it in there in some form! It's always nice when NI gets talked about for something positive.

What was your favourite place in the UK, not including the Northern Irish cliffs?

Meph2482 karma

I dont know much in the UK to be honest. Comes from being an Island, I cant get there easily with a bike. :P

Never been to scotland or wales, only know London and Stonehenge, and the way in between.

rune55 karma

What country or countries had the most unfriendly people? (Just so I know which ones to avoid.)

Meph2484 karma

For me its Ethiopia, but it might differ from person to person. Too friendly people can be just as bad though. ;)

Jaksuhn6 karma

Which countries had over-friendly people ?

Meph2488 karma

Middle East, Arabic countries.

Edit: No, ignore that. I only saw the question without context first. The people in the middle east are the most friendly, but they are not the over-friendly-getting-on-your-nerves people. These you find in densely populated countries, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and central Africa.

TeachesYouEnglish5 karma

How many countries have you had sex in? Thats the real question

Meph24815 karma

A gentleman never tells.

AGCRACK4 karma

Do you have any countries or areas of countries that you would suggest avoiding because of danger? I'm particularly interested, but not limited to your experience in Africa.

Also why every European country except Belarus?

Meph2484 karma

Not really. You have to ask around locally and have a good timing. Obviously active warzones are bad, as are places with natural catastrophes like volcano eruptions or wildfires. But you can at least enter every country without entering those no-go zones. I would even go to Afghanistan and Iraq, as soon as I do a tour in that area.

Belarus: I was in Kiev but waiting for the visa would have taken so long that I would have missed Christmas with my girlfriend. Honestly I would have gone there even then, but I already knew that I will pass through it when I go to Moscow this winter. There is no other reason, it just randomly happens to be the last. Ireland was the second last, for no particular reason.

callmepapaa4 karma

How do you plan your trips?

What countries have you found the most challenging?

When considering possible locations, what factors do you take into account?

Have you had days that you regretted doing it all on your own?

Meph2483 karma

Ui, lots of questions.

  1. I make a rough plan, about route, climate, duration, visas I need, estimated budget and equipment. I take my time on the tour itself, and do not make specific plans for "On this day, I want to be here, doing X", but go with the flow. Once all the necessities are done, and you have your paperwork in order, the right gear for the weather and an idea what you can spend and what you cant, it's all day to day. You might get stuck for 2 months on the Columbian north cost, or you might pass Milano in a day... I do that depending on my mood.

  2. Pretty much anything in Africa is hard. Southamerica has the same issues, but 10 times less, so its pretty ok overall. India has a unique challenge I'd say, it's so full and noisy and dirty and you have no personal space. Overall thats my main gripe: No personal space. can tell you all about it, he just crossed Ethiopia (I warned him that it will be tough), and he sounded like he had several breakdowns because of the peoples attitudes.

  3. Only one: Have I been there or not? If I havent, I will go.

  4. I am not doing it all on my own. You often meet people and travel with them for a while, and my girlfriend came with me a total of ~18 months so far. A year in southamerica, 5 months in asia, 1 month in europe...

alejandus4 karma

any reason why you are leaving the philippines out in your next tour?

Meph2482 karma

Its a maybe. Island state, needs two flights. Flying with a bicycle is a large hassle. I might do it, I might not do it. Its certainly a place I would enjoy a lot (I am a rescue diver and my girlfriend a divemaster, so we would fit in quite well)

nitefly174 karma

Any particular moment/story of being scared or fearing for your life?

Also same question but for your best/most memorable moment?

Meph2487 karma

I got a pretty cool scar from a crocodile that got me in Mozambique. :D My own fault, really, same with any other time I was in life danger. Capsizing with a packraft on a river on Sulawesi without any safety gear and losing the paddle was bad. Or free-solo climbing in Jordan, around Petra, and one of your stands breaks of the wall... I think that was the closest I ever got to dying. But I am usually not scared of much, I am a very practical person. Risks are numbers and can be influenced.

Best moments I couldnt name. There are too many, for too many different reasons. For me its always, like I mentioned somewhere else here, when I reach a goal I worked hard for. Summiting a mountain for example. Or that feeling when I reached Cape Aghulas, the southernmost point of Africa, after cycling towards it for a year. That was awe inspiring. One of the few times I would actually use the word 'amazing'.

nitefly173 karma

Mind blowing! As someone who gets a thrill from exploring tiny ole' England on my bike, this is so inspiring!

Did you ever make a conscious decision to try and take your cycling this far (if so when when and what inspired you?) or did it start off small and kind of snowball to what it has become today?

Meph2485 karma

It snowballed.

I was running marathons and going to the gym a lot before I started traveling. First year was a classical round-the-world backpacking trip, no bike. I really missed the regular exercise, so after the tour I wanted to combine sports with travel. Bicycles are without doubt the best when it comes to that. Cheap, fast, easy to repair, fit on busses, trains, boats and planes, healthy, and give you the sense of accomplishment when you reach a destination.

I started with tours in Germany and around. Then it got too cold and while backpacking around India/Nepal that winter I made the conscious decision to make a large tour. From Europe thats only China (Silkroad) or Africa. And since I hadnt been to Africa at that point, it won. :D

StupidScientist4 karma

How big is your belt to be able to fit all those countries under it?

Meph2485 karma

A bit larger than the bible belt, but much smaller than the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

franbatista1233 karma

How hard do you think your Siberian journey will be, do you think it will be your hardest? I'm guessing you will follow the Trans-Siberian Railway?

Also, did you like Portugal?

Meph2483 karma

Portugal was really awesome. The quinta da regaleira was one of my favourite things to see, of all places worldwide.

I will partly ride the bike, partly ride the train. And I dont know if it will be the hardest, its hard to judge. I did a 18 month trip before, which is far longer... or a tour in 50° weather... is that better or worse than -35° ? Is Indonesia with all my bad luck there worse? Or Westafrica, for its lack of infrastructure and the French language barrier?

I dont know, I just know that it will be the coldest, and that I am looking forward to it. :)

chasmoffaith3 karma

Where would you not bike again?

Meph2486 karma

Some areas were quite boring, like the center of the US. Corn fields all day, every day. I was riding the Route66 at that point.

If something is challenging/hard I would cycle it again. A pointless exercise in wasting time by going across easy, flat territory without anything to do or see, or anyone to meet? I would skip it. I am quite good at knowing this beforehand by now, so I am not above taking a bus or train when I think a particular stretch wont be challenging or fun.

generalAbraxis3 karma

What is your opinion of e-bikes?

Meph2486 karma

Cant be used for travelling. Lets say you cycle 10-12h a day. The battery lasts for 3-4. Then you camp, and cant charge it. You will lug around 5-10kg extra for the motor and the battery, but seldomly have the chance to use it.

For city, especially elderly or unfit people, they are awesome. For touring? No. I looked into it a lot, I wanted to do a larger tour with one, but after a few days of research... just no.

gheff1233 karma

Whats the least favorite country you have visited?

Meph2487 karma


I almost died, because of wrong info I got (drowning while rafting alone), lost 400€ of gear, got dengue fever, my girlfriends electronics got stolen, (worth 800€), my documents with 400€ cash got stolen, my glasses broke, and did I mention dengue fever, and no one speaks English, and everything is slow, and I spend 10 days on steel ships eating rice with fishheads.

Thats only true for Sulawesi, Timor and Flores though... after it, Komodo, Bali and Java, was fine.

Chasestthomas3 karma

Most interesting man in the world comment right there

Meph2488 karma

More like Bad Luck Brain in that month.

LightSniper3 karma

What mod did you write?

Meph2485 karma

It's very obscure. It's for Dwarf Fortress, an american indie game that is somewhat of a cult classic in the roguelike genre. Its even in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. :D

Tarn Adams does all the work, I just happen to write the currently most popular mod for it. Masterwork Dwarf Fortress. The name derives from the quality rating of ingame items, which go from well-crafter up to Masterwork.

The community is the best I have ever seen on the internet and is the main reason I spend so much time on it. The people there are amazing.

LightSniper2 karma

It looks right up my street man, gonna check it out

Meph2482 karma

If you do, do yourself a favour and do not start with that mod. The game is insane, and people need lots of time to learn it. Look around the forum for the Starter Pack (, it will suit you much better.

KingBR13 karma

How many U.S. states have you visited and which ones are your most and least favorite?

Meph2485 karma

I dont know how many, ~20 or so.

Most favourite: Colorado.

Least favourite: Probably something in the center, idaho-oklahoma-ish.

Marylandman1012 karma

how would would you say you've spent doing this?

Meph2483 karma

~50,000€ (?) over a 7,5 year period. (I have about 20.000€ worth of equipment, but much of it was free)

sltrOlsson2 karma

What's the craziest, most weird or scary stories you have from your travels?

Also, what did you find the easiest? Traveling as a 19 yr old or as a 27 yr old?

Meph24812 karma

27 all day. I have so much more knowledge, you can drop me off anywhere in the world, I'll be fine. There are literally no worries at this stage anymore. 50° desert on a bike? Ok, I need X and Y, and do this. -35° in Siberia? Oh right, I know exactly what to take, what I need and dont want, and how to do it.

Craziest story: There is a island on lake victoria that is owned by a british millionaire. He literally build a castle on it. Only way to get there is with the weekly supply boat. Only way on the boat, is by being on the list. Only way to get on the list, is to know someone who has been on the island. (Its free stay, free alcohol, free weed, all day, every day)

As someone who doesnt take any drugs, neither alcohol nor weed, it is a pretty strange place.

Other than that its always crazy when you randomly meet people again. German guy you met in a buddhist monestary, where you learned viapassana meditation? Lets run into him in Melbourne.

Guy on a bike, who talks to you online without knowing who you are on a online board (about that game mod), and we are cycling both in the same country, Peru. Years later sitting in Tunesia, he is in the same hostel, I only knew it by the facebook post he made. Months later, he sleeps on my couch for a couple of nights. Same guy that introduced me to packrafts, and is the reason I own one now. :D

hitchenator3 karma

That island seems like something out of a dream or a film, jealous! Hope to start traveling once I finish my degree, appreciate this AMA

Meph2482 karma

Thank you. :)

paulloewen2 karma

What is the best country for bike traveling? i.e. road conditions, driver attitudes, etc.

Meph24811 karma

Anywhere western/southern Europe. I'm from here, so I thought its standard. Man, was I shocked when I cycled in the US.

There is literally no driver attitude against cyclist over here, and you dont have to ride on the road anyway, there are international bike paths. I say that again, we have a large network of bike routes connecting countries.

Have a look at the map:

If you want first hand info, this guy literally cycled ALL OF THEM. He cycled pretty much everything everywhere in Europe.

thomasGK3 karma

The USA is slowly stepping up it's bicycle culture. I wish it would hurry up!

Meph2489 karma

People are way too used to cars. I couldnt believe when I saw suburbs without sidewalks. Its either car or nothing. Crazy. And apparently drivers hate cyclists, its quite sad to read the stories that find their way to me.

theredditasker2 karma

What is your opinion of Britain?

Meph2484 karma

Thats a super broad questions, and I dont have any specific feeling about Britain. Its a country like any other in western europe.

HeiBK2 karma

How did you prepare physically for your trips, especially the first time you decided to do this?

Meph2482 karma

Not at all. I was already running Marathons and going to the gym/rock climbing all the time, and just came from my 9 months mandatory military training.

Edit: To be a bit more helpful: You dont need any special training for tours as a backpacker or cyclist. Training helps, but if you dont have it, it will come to you on the tour.


Your website says "The main goal is visiting all 193 UN member states, or in other words: Visit every country in the world." but yet you include Taiwan and Vatican City in your list. Why do you include them and not other places like Palestine and Kosovo?

Also, the flags for Lesotho and Libya need to be updated : )

Meph2482 karma

Both Taiwan and The Holy See hold special positions. And, as I learned just now, Palestine does too. ;) I had to look it up, they have it since 29 November 2012... apparently the list I used when I made the website was older than that.

Kosovo has the votes of most members, but hasnt been ratified yet (?)

tl;dr: Its not really important, its an arbritary goal. I just wanted to say "I want to go everywhere", and I had to take some way of counting countries.

Jaja3212 karma

What did you think of Israel?

Meph2482 karma

Besides not-touching-politics-with-a-10-pole-stick?

I am too misinformed to have a valid opinion, I dont care for politics at all, and rather not say anything at all than saying something wrong.

Jaja3212 karma

I didn't mean your political opinion. Rather, what did you think of the country itself? How was your experience there? Sorry if I wasn't clear :)

Meph2482 karma

Ah, ok. :)

I liked the country, both the capital Jerusalem with the historical sites (even though I am an atheist, still interesting to see) and the landscape. Dead sea was kinda crazy, there is a national park with hiking, and I wildcamped, but it was super hot.

I cycled the negev desert, overnight, which was beautiful as well.

So, good experiences. Strange people though, very paranoid, and many other travels I met were very religious. For the first time in my life I saw a christian praying before they eat... I only knew that from american movies. :D

Dabee6252 karma

How do you cross oceans with a bike?

Meph2482 karma

In a plane. Bikes are either free or cost ~50$ extra.

Smaller distances, like island to island, obviously on a boat. :P

Jason_Worthing2 karma

I've been really inspired by travelers like yourself in the past few years and I just recently moved to China to start traveling myself. I'm saving up money now and I'll start seeing more of Southeast Asia next year.

You've been traveling for over 7 years, but how much of that has actually been travelling? Do you take extended breaks to go home, rest and raise money, or have you been traveling non-stop for 7 years? Answered here

Whats the longest you have sent in one place during the 7 years and where was it? Why were you there for so long?

Also, How do you deal with Visas? Do you need to apply for a visa for every country you have visited, or is that something you can often do at the border? Are there any / many countries that don't require a visa to enter?

I know that's a lot of questions. Feel free to cherry-pick the ones you want to answer. I'm really interested in this kind of travel and any advice you can offer is great! Thanks!

Meph2482 karma

I spend about 2 years in Germany in between, and 5 years on the road.

Longest stretch was 18 months on tour.

Longest time in one place: 5 weeks Buenos Aires to learn Spanish. 8 Weeks in Santa Marta/Cartagena on the Colombian north coast, because its nice. My girlfriend also made her diving licences there.

The visa question I cant answer for you, because its different for each country of origin. Places that let me in (or require a visa) might not do that for you. EU passports are pretty good, and I can get into about half of all countries just at the border.

If you want to keep in contact, add me on facebook. I am always happy to help starting travelers with tips, contacts or a place to stay. :)

Where are you from? (I can answer the visa question a bit better then)

Meph2483 karma

PS: Southeastasia is backpacker paradise, you wont meet more of them anywhere else, together with good weather, delicious food, diving, beaches and culture.

Jason_Worthing2 karma

Thanks for the info! I will definitely add you on facebook.

I'm going to get my DiveMaster in The Philippines or Thailand or really anywhere I can find a good, cheap diving center in SEAsia next year. Then I want to start the traveling life of moving to a new country every 6-12 months, teaching English or working in dive shops wherever I can find a job.

Good luck on your Trans-Siberia trip next year!

PS Most active AMA author EVER.

Meph2482 karma

Your plan sounds good, I know lots and lots of people who are doing that. Diving mostly gives free food and accommodation though, teaching English does give money, but they only accept you if you are native English speaker. For example I as a German, even with good English, wouldnt be hired by anyone.

Thanks :)

And about the most active author: I am used to it from my PC game mod, and am working on the PC anyway. Reddit AMA is PR mixed with helping people to travel, which I do gladly, so if I put a workday into answering questions here, than its just another day of work for me. Unpayed, but something I like to do. :)

eolomea2 karma

Wie sicherst du deine Sachen gegen Diebstahl?

Vor allem, wenn du draussen übernachtest.

How do you secure you belongings when sleeping, especially if you camp outside?

Meph2486 karma

All my stuff is in the tent, except the bike. Its locked to any solid metal object, fence, largeish tree trunk... its usually right at the tent entry, and one of the lines is tied to it. If someone moves it, the tent moves.

I never had problems with people trying to steal from my tent. Mostly because they never find me, I start camping when it gets dark, and leave in the morning when it gets light.

At some point I had a motion sensor on the bike that gives a very loud alarm, but after three false alarms in heavy wind (and you really dont want to crawl out of your tent at night in heavy winds to disable it), I decided not to use it anymore.

Hallogemz2 karma

How was going through Romania and Bulgaria?

Meph2483 karma

Pretty wet. It was winter, but not cold enough for solid snow, so any passing car showered me in ice-sludge. But also just pretty when it comes to scenery. The people I met by couchsurfing/warmshowers were great, especially in Romania. They were also into biking, one of them is on a large tour of his own atm.

gnomonologue2 karma

Hallo Patrick, wenn Sie Iran besucht haben, was ist eine Sache, die Sie würde uns darüber erzählen?

Meph2487 karma

His question in english: Hello Patrick, after you visited Iran, what would be a thing you would tell other people about.

Nach dem was ich bisher vom Iran gehört habe, sind die Leute extrem Gastfreundlich. So wie im Sudan oder Somaliland. Ich hab von jeden dem ich kenne der im Iran war, nur Gutes gehört. :)

In English: What I heard so far about Iran is, that the people are extremely hospitable, similar to Sudan or Somaliland. I have only heard good things about it, from everyone I know that went to Iran.

defff_metal2 karma

What motivates you to live your life the way you do?

Meph2485 karma

Well, I travel to cool places, meet friendly people, eat tasty food, do a lot of sports and keep fit, have 24h free time a day, 365 days a year, and while I do work hard, I only work on things that I personally think are worth the time. My hobbies.

So I dont really understand the question, I dont need a special motivation for what I do. I love it! :)

(I realize that I cant do this forever, but why not grasp the opportunity till I am 35 or so and settle down)

DrVolzak2 karma

Can you speak any other languages? If so, what was it like to speak them in the countries of origin? If not, did you pick up a significant amount of a language when visiting a country?

Meph2486 karma

English is a foreign language for me. Native German speaker here. I also learned latin for 5 years in school and I can do reasonably well in Spanish.

I understand texts in Portuguese, French, Italian, Dutch...

Yes, you pick up a lot. Speaking English in England or Spanish in Spain is just like speaking it anywhere else. Not quite sure what you meant with the questions.

It gets weird when you learn a bit of a language in a country that it not its origin. For example Spanish in Argentina, or French in Westafrica. You learn stuff thats very regional, and later one wonder why the people in Spain or France do it differently. :D

nextstopjapan2 karma

Hey, i saw that you went to the UAE.

I'm guessing dubai?

Did you enjoy your stay there?

I'm a local from there :-)

Meph2483 karma

Indeed Dubai, in summer. 45-50°. I was travelling low budget, so there was not too much to do. The city itself was interesting to see, but unfortunately it was not for me. I did like the local markets though, I spend lots of time walking along them at night... the city is quite surreal late at night.

internalwombat2 karma

Why NOT Belarus?

Meph2482 karma

Visa was too hard to get. I will go there end of this year, its the last country of europe for no particular reason, I just havent gotten around to visit it.

Drakenjagertje2 karma

I really like what you're doing and hope to partake in a journey like this myself one day. Got some questions for you :)

How many kms do you travel a day?

How do you take care of personal hygiëne?

Any close encounters where you might of gotten seriously hurt, situations where you felt really scared?

Do you sometimes travel with a companion? If not would you like to have a companion to travel with for a few months or do you prefer the solitude?

Do you always follow the streets or do you prefer to follow dirt roads?

How did you like Belgium :)

Meph2485 karma

  1. Depends heavily on terrain and weather. 150km easily, 200km ok, 250km good. Max was 520km, to see how far I can get in 24h.

  2. Just like anyone else? If you mean "where do I find showers on long bike tours in the middle of nowhere" than the answer is: You can wash yourself in a lake, river, or with just 1l of water. Hostels, Campsites and Hotels, or couchsurfing hosts have showers as well. And even if not, if you stink, you stink. You are alone in the desert, or jungle, or mountainrange. Who cares?

  3. I got a scar from a crocodile bite, I got dengue fever, and no, no situations where I fealt really scared.

  4. Yes, my girlfriend of 4 years. Half of that time she came with me. Otherwise I prefer solitude, I am not a standard character, and either I drive people crazy, or they drive me crazy. :P

  5. Streets mostly. Dirt roads are too slow.

  6. Belgium is fine. Neighbour. :P The cities are beautiful, but you guys should seriously get your government in order. :P

Drakenjagertje3 karma

Haha I know, don't even know why we still have one. Got one last question for you.

What's the longest time you were biking in the middle of nowhere? No mayor cities or towns nearby.

Meph2483 karma

Probably about a week. I mean, define mayor town? Hiking the everest base trek took about 3 weeks, no larger towns in sight, but enough to get by.

In a week on the bike I cover 1000km easily, so there are not many places in the world where I could do that without seeing a town. Except if I specifically avoid them.


How did you get started?

Meph2484 karma

My first tour was a 1 year round the world backpacking trip, on my own. :)

Groundswelll2 karma

What did you think of the Czech Republic and Finland?

Meph2482 karma

Love Prague. :) And the countryside makes for good cycling.

Finland I havent seen much, pretty much only Helsinki, so I rather wait with answering that, until I have seen the country proper. If its anything like Norway or Sweden, I like it.

WZEF2 karma

Are you buddies with Alastair Humphries? Sounds like a similar bio.

Meph2482 karma

He did interview me. :D But I am a couple of years younger than him, so maybe I get to his level of crazyness when I am his age. I am trying, just got more stuff for my packraft. Conquer the sea!

Rockdapenguin2 karma

How many times have you been robbed/had stuff stolen from you?

Meph2483 karma

Robbed: 0

Stuff stolen: 1 bike ~2000€ value (in Germany),

1 handlebar bag ~900€ value (Peru, on the Amazon on a boat),

400€ in cash + some documents (Indonesia, I had denguefever and left it somewhere in my haze... when I got back, it was gone. My own fault)

Thats it. My girlfriend has much worse luck with here stuff being stolen, but she is very carefree with it, while I tend to look out for it better.

No one has ever threatened me with violence of any kind. Except drunk tourists or so. :P

ghost_of_lucretius2 karma


Meph24815 karma

I dont know. In my experience only US americans have a thing for "we have states and they are different and how many have you been to."

I guess 20 or so? I only count countries, not individual states inside countries. ;)

Chasestthomas2 karma

When did you realize that it was time just to get out there and see the world?

Meph2483 karma

When I was 13. :)

Chasestthomas2 karma

Was it easy letting go everything?

Meph2483 karma

I dont think I did. What exactly do you mean?

If its house, job and nice car, you have to remember that I went straight from school to mandatory army training to this. I dont know it differently.

Chasestthomas2 karma

Well, for a lot of people going on a grand adventure means giving up job, love, school, etc. For me, at least, it's not the fear of leaving and seeing the world, it's the fear of not having security about certain things in life. I was just wondering how you were able to accomplish this great endeavor with a stead-fast mentality: no regrets?

Meph2484 karma

I finished school, I never had a job, and my girlfriend is right here, beside me. No regrets.

I dont value security highly though. What was that Benjamin Franklin quote? He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither?

I dont think I would be happier if I were more secure.

Frackenpohl2 karma

How old are you? Any tips to people who want to do the same? You are a hero!

Meph2484 karma

  1. 27 years. I started doing this with 19.

  2. Lots, but please do ask more specific questions, otherwise I might write an essay and its tips that dont fit your situation. ;)

  3. I am just like you or anyone else. Literally anyone can go places, meet people, do stuff. No special skills required (also nice to have)

didact1172 karma

Do you research heavily before a trip? Along the same line of thought, do you get much information from locals? How often are you given bad information or mislead?

Meph2486 karma

I research heavily before a trip, mostly online, from people that I know that have been there, or blogs.

Information from locals not so much. Not that they dont know their country, but most of them dont. And they dont know the needs of a foreigner in said country.

Mislead never, to my knowledge. Given bad informations, lots of times by people that want to do good, but know nothing, OR and this is extreme and super annoying: In some countries its bad to say no. India for example. So if you ask one person "is this the way to X", they just say Yes, even if they dont know. You can ask 5 people, you get 5 different answers, especially when you ask for timings or distances.

In general, asking people in third world countries for specific stuff that only a traveler might need, is almost pointless. Try finding the next expat who moved there, much more useful. Or go online.

Hakim_Slackin2 karma

Have you trekked the Transcaucasia countries?

Meph2481 karma


Not yet. I have been to Turkey, but never made it into the Caucasus so far. I might go there on my next trip, if I come back overland from China. Even then, I would'nt trek but bike them.

Hakim_Slackin2 karma

right, right. Any visa issues entering in CIS nations?

Meph2482 karma

CIS nations

If you look at the map on my website, you will see that I havent been to any of those, except Moldova and Ukraine. I assume I will have some in future, my next tour will lead me there. But I think most countries should be fine, its only a selected few in Africa and the Middle East that are difficult to do. And North-Korea/Buthan.

floridog1 karma

How was Hawaii???

Meph2481 karma

Never been there.

munkhtur1 karma

When are you coming to Mongolia?

Meph2481 karma

Maybe January/February 2015. Its still in planning stages.

misterhastedt1 karma

I'm interested in purchasing a road bike. I'ma complete novice I don't know much about particulars. With a $500 (usa) budget, what's the best "hybrid" (road and some minimal terrain) bike I can get? You seem like a knowledgeable person to ask. Thanks!

Meph2481 karma

I might not be the best person to ask though. You say "purchasing a road bike", and later on a "hybrid, road and minimal terrain". So... A hybrid or a roadbike?

I also dont know the prices in the US, since all my bikes are from European manufacturers. With 500$ I would go for a second-hand bike, because you cant get a good bike with that. But I would say the same about 1000$. Its all in the definition of what a good bike is. Mine are around 3000$ each, and even then people on the internet go "What, you ride on this? Shouldnt you get something better for what you are doing?"

... point is, you dont need a good bike. I once rode a 100€ bike 5000km from Germany to Israel. Its not as nice, not as fast and not as comfortable, but it works. Everyone can do tours, regardless of the bike. A friend of mine did several thousand kilometers with a 200+kmh average per day... on a fixed biked. No gears.

Mista1231 karma

Where in Canada have you been and how was it?

Meph2481 karma

Alberta, and going from Windsor to Montreal, including Niagra Falls and Toronto. It was nice, but I think I would like BC more. :)

Jason_Worthing1 karma

What kind of technology do you take with you? A small laptop or only a cellphone?

Do you count on an internet connection to stay in touch, or do you just assume you wont and plan accordingly?

Meph2482 karma

Sometimes an EEE PC Netbook, lately a smart phone. First 6 years, no phone.

A camera, a kindle (super important, I love reading), a GPS, torch, mp3-player (lately replaced by smartphone)

I usually find internet. :)

najusujan1 karma

Did you travel to Nepal? Any comments?

Meph2481 karma

Yes, a month. Its a very nice place, one of my favourites. The locals are friendly, food is cheap and the mountains are amazing. I did the Everest Base trek and paraglided at Pokhara.


What country did you like the most, and which did you like the least? Why?

Meph2482 karma

No clear favourite, different places are good for different reasons. Nepal, New Zealand, Thailand, Germany are pretty nice. ;)

Indonesia and Ethipoia are among the bottom of the list, mostly experiences with people, tropical diseases and bad luck. Doesnt necessarily mean that the countries themselves are bad.

salawm1 karma

I'd like to take a 220 mile bike ride. Google says it'll take ~21 hours. how do you practice and pace for this? Can it be done with an average bike from wal mart?

Meph2481 karma

It can be done with an average bike, and you practice by doing smaller bike rides. Pacing is slow and steady, I started probably with a bit over 10 miles per hour average, by now with nicer bikes and training I do 16 miles per hour average.

The 220 miles... how many days do you want to take? 4 days should be fine for a beginner.

nosaJ42971 karma

Any advice for a kid who hopes to do something like this? Im a 15 year old guy (starting sophmore year of high school this week). Someday i would like to ride my bike from my home in wisconsin all the way to the souuthern tip of south america. I've been thinking taking a gap year between high school and college would be a good time to do this

Meph2482 karma

I started when I was 19, so go for it. :) A year is enough to get there, especially when you dont make too many detours.

Advice: Make the plan early and write outdoor manufacturers a year prior to your departure. Just write 1 nice email, send it to couple of hundred adresses. Even if 99% dont answer/say no, the few that want to help you will be a nice way to get gear.

Tell everyone about what you are doing. Because that forces you yourself to do it, or look like a douche. Sounds like stupid advice, but that first step, this leaving home, the start... thats the hardest part, and every little push in that direction makes the decision easier.

You cant cycle from Panama to Colombia, it cant be all bike... you need a flight (200$) or a boat (also ~200$) to get across the Darien's Gap.

Learn Spanish now. You will need it.

If you get the gear together and about 500$ per month of touring, you can do it. Its possible. More money will only mean more luxury, or a little buffer when you are back. But even if you think you have not enough to even start, START! I did the same the first time, I thought I might maybe make it till New Zealand (half-way around the world from Germany), and I managed to get completely around the world. Which I didnt thought I could do when I started.

Keep reading blogs and talk to people that do similar stuff.

Training cycling helps, but not as important as you might imagine. On such a long tour you get fit, one way or another. ;)

Good luck. :)

Lamp_Chops1 karma

I tried to go around my country on bike 2 weeks ago, broke my bike and my face the very first day and required stitches. Did you have any close calls or accidents?

Meph2482 karma


I fell down once on my own, going downhill in the alps at night, 60kmh, couldnt see much because my light was so crappy, so I decided to go to the side of the road and slow down... bad decision, side was gravel, and was ending in a chesthigh wall 2 car-lengths further. Full stop didnt help, I probably skidded into the wall with 30-40kmh, made a flip above it, slid down towards a river and got hit with my bike in the back, on top of my backpack.

Crawled back up, saw that its right next to a bridge and that I cant get my bike up that steep, wet climb, and that it almost landed in the river. Luckily I just came from mountaineering, so I build a pulley from my gear and lifted the bike to the bridge.

Then ate a bit, and cycled on till 6 in the morning. Thats the only crash I had. No injuries, nothing on the bike, all good. I wasnt even wearing a helmet.

And since this all sounds unrealistic, proof:

p0ssibl30 karma

A pedantic question: in the map on your website there is a red line going from Turkey to Cyprus. How did you do that? It is not possible to travel from Turkey to Cyprus.

Meph2486 karma

Of course it is. Antalya has regular catamaran ferries.

It was as easy as going into town, dozens of stalls sell tickets to northern cyprus. I cycled to southern cyprus, continued by cargo ship to Israel from there.