My short bio: Hey guys and greetings from Lebanon. I'm a German cyclist who has been going round the world for over 8 years, spending little money and enjoying the hospitality of the people all over. I did an AMA half a year ago when I was in Kazakhstan, a lot of people seemed to be interested.

I had many different bikes over the years and been to most of the world (black = visited) I had quite a few adventurers, crossed the Sahara by bike, cycled in the Siberian winter, boated the Amazon...

I come here today for two reasons: To answer any questions that might help you got on the road, travel and bike, listen to stories and hopefully be inspired to travel yourself.

And to ask for your help. Yesterday night I have been robbed, a soldier came to my tent, went through my things, pocketed all the money and electronics he deemed worthy, when I tried to resist, threatened me with his gun and left into the night. I just started this part of my journey, the Middle East, and Lebanon was the first country I visited.

I'm now sitting in Beirut in a hostel... and have set up a Gofundme campaign, which was suggested to me as a possible solution to my missing gear.

My Proof:

The last AMA got a lot of attention and just like then, I will promise you this: I will stay and answer every question till no more will come. The last time it took 14h, but I'm up for the challenge. :)

Cheers, Patrick Martin

Edit: Huh. That was weird, the AMA half a year ago had 3000+ comments. I'll be back tomorrow, it's the middle of the night here. Maybe some more people found their way here by then. :)

Comments: 166 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

LisaFortitude10 karma

Have you ever thought that this would happen to you sooner or later? (actual question, not sarcasm or anything) I mean people are poor and they would do anything. I've told you before I think that I'm amazed you camp in some of the countries with small economies. I'm so sorry to hear this but I'm glad you're strong and you don't give up. Really mad about that HDD. Why were you carrying it out with you? Why not leave it, you treasure, home in Germany to your family or friends?

Meph24810 karma

No, this was originally planned as a one year trip, but the more people I met that do it, the more reasonable it seemed to be. Why work in an office 9-5 if you can work online, make the money you need and then spend all your time doing what you want?

My budget might be low, but that is because I dont work much. I could have more money, but I value my time more.

I was carrying the HDD because I just got rid of my place in Germany, stored my PC in a box and wanted to take everything important with me. I planned to make a photo book, thats why I took all the pics too. I'm sure I still have some in Germany, but I dont know how many and which.

iliveinablackhole_7 karma

I've wanted to travel the world for the past decade but I've never had the money. How exactly do you get by with such little money? Do you ever take flights to travel over seas or just boats?

Meph2488 karma

I usually have 1-2 flights per year, because I travel overland by bike. This year my budget is higher, because I spend more on flights to reach islands, but that is only because I ran out of countries on continents.

Prices in developing or third-world nations are very low, camping is free, cycling is free, even going through the US I would keep that budget easily, spending my money on food and entry tickets.

Udvideren3 karma

Since cycling isn't entirely "free" because you need extra 'fuel' for your body. How much of your budget goes to food? And how is your relationship to food because of that?

Meph2489 karma

I would say about half of the budget is food.

I love that I'm able to eat as much fat, unhealthy food as I want, because I burn so many calories. :)

Bread_Chap7 karma

Can you describe the feeling of being threatened by a gun? I was mugged when I was young so I can kinda get my head around what it would be like but it'd be interesting to here your description.

Thanks for doing this AMA :)

Meph2487 karma

Angry + helpless.

I've been in the military, seen lots of guns in my life, had a lot of life threatening situations due to traffic, nature... In the moment that happened I was... sarcastic. "Yeah, great, nice that this happens to me. No, please, take what you want."

In the meantime I was hiding my laptop and thinking how successfull it would be to shove him off the cliff, but there was too much shrubbery in the way and I did not want to face an angry armed soldier. I let him take the stuff, that way I only had to deal with a nervous armed soldier.

Bread_Chap2 karma

I think it's interesting that when a person is faced with something that could just kill them they're thinking kind of goes beyond fear and just into sarcastic hopelessness.

Meph24812 karma

I did not think that he would kill me, just threaten me to get what he wants. Lets say I get abducted by Islamists that want to behead me, my reaction would be very different.

I felt fear of death once, while freeclimbing (no safety, no gear) in Jordan once, in the canyons around Petra. The rock plate I was standing on broke and I only hang at the wall with my hands. I should have died, realistically speaking. (I was young and dumb, but better trained)

The next 15 minutes I was sweating cold sweat, shivering and probably very pale... while I pushed myself into a rock crevice and held me there with friction, before climbing down again. Very slowly.

I dont do freeclimbing anymore.

dieWolke5 karma

Hi! I've been reading what you write about your travels..until now you shared with us your opinion that the world is a safe place...safer that pictured in the media and the light of recent events, has your opinion changed? PS. Thanks for the AMA's :)

Meph2486 karma

No, that opinion hasnt changed much. I did something different that day: I stopped early, broad daylight, people knew where I was. Usually no one can rob me, because no one knows where I am.

Having said that, I am aware of how partial that is to your question and makes the world sound even more dangerous. Well, Lebanon is on the list of places with travel warnings, the war in Syria destabilized Lebanon too.

So I'm in a unsafe country atm. That being said, I also heard from people who just spend 1 or 2 months here and they had no trouble.

dieWolke3 karma

yeah, but anyway it kind of sucks to be robbed at gunpoint....Anyway, can you share some other tips on camping (in order to make it safe and cheap), especially in Europe?

Meph2484 karma

In Europe?

Skandinavia has the everymans-law, you can just stealth camp anywhere, even on peoples grounds.

Europe is super safe, there is next to no violent crime and no wildlife that could endanger you, no epic diseases like Malaria or Ebola... I'd say you are already safe.

And cheap? Camping is free. ;)

tokodan4 karma

First, I honestly hope you can get your stuff back somehow, especially the hard drive.

What I want to ask is, what did your parents think when you first left home to travel? Did you encounter any resistance against the idea?

Meph2486 karma

Sure I did. I remember that I told my mother first, who was very scared and probably still is. Sometimes I go places, like Syria, and tell her afterwards that I've been there. By now she is used to it.

My father did not mind much, but by now I dont have much contact to him. My parents are divorced.

But yes, that was a rather important part, telling them... when I was 19 and living at home it was one of the more difficult things to do before I left.

Zanza003 karma

I am sorry for you bad encounter (shit happens), but I am more sorry for your pictures. When you can make a cloud thing in wich you can put all you remaining photos.

Question from a cyclist to another, what advice can you give us to enjoy more the ride?

edit: if you ever come near Milano, Italy pm me :)

Meph2482 karma

Get a light bike, that makes a ride more enjoyable. I loved the road biking most, when I had light bikepacking gear on it and could cycle 40kmh instead of 20kmh on a heavily loaded touring bike.

But I guess that is different for each person. Do what you like most, I dont know what you enjoy. ;)

WinchesterCODE3 karma

What do you think about Uruguay? Do you enjoy the time here?

Meph2485 karma

I really like your president ;)

I did enjoy the visit, but did not stay long, it's rather small in comparison to Argentina. I remember seeing a giant tarantula for the first time, that was awesome.

paininthedic3 karma

Hey Patrick! Really glad you're doing this AMA!

  1. What have been the toughest weather conditions you have had to endure? Do you prefer very cold temperatures or very warm temperatures?
  2. On this tour you're using a fold able bike, how do you find it compares to your more "regular" bikes performance wise?
  3. in countries such as Canada, how much time do you typically spend, and how much of the country do you get to see?

Thanks again!

Meph2487 karma

Toughest would be +50°c in the Sahara and Central Asia or -45°c in Siberia. I do prefer hot weather, because it's easier to travel in it. You just wear less clothing and drink more. Cold weather kills you faster and you need a lot of specialized gear. The sleeping bag I had in Siberia costs 1000€ alone. It was sponsored.

The bike rides surprisingly fine, but potholes and any horizontal lines like train tracks are a pain. Except for the small tires, it does well.

Canada I spend about 2 months, in the US 4 months. I have to come back, it's not enough time. Canada I've barely seen anything, the US I travelled both coast lines and crossed the country once, but there are still many places left, especially things like Alaska and Hawaii.

paininthedic1 karma

Thanks for the reply!

Meph2485 karma

No worries. The last AMA had 3000+ comments, this one is pretty harmless in comparison. ;)

steezburgers3 karma

When you are traveling, how many miles do you average? How do you decide what days to get many miles in and what days to take it easy and take in your surroundings?

What was your favorite camping spot?

Also - I've been following your site few about six months now. I'm so sorry to hear what's happened! As soon as I get my next paycheck I'll gladly contribute to get you back on the road!

Meph2483 karma

I cycle at least 100km, about 60miles per day when I tour, but it is very random. Sometimes I dont cycle at all for a month, sometimes I cycle almost every day, usually something between 60-120 miles.

I'm pretty flexible and decide as I like when to go fast or slow, it mostly depends on the country and landscape.

Camping spot... I dont often stay anywhere camping, it's more a "pitch the tent in the evening, continue the next morning". I dont think I ever camped 2 nights in the same spot.

SpeIIbound3 karma

Not to sound ignorant but doesn't the whole ISIS thing terrify you? You are far more brave than I. Even all the way over here in the US I lay low.

Meph2483 karma

Not to sound like as ass, but did you ever check what ISIS stands for? It's the (wannabe) islamic state in iraq and syria. I'm not going to either of these places, mostly because of ISIS. So yes, they are dangerous and a good reason not to head into their territory.

clearlybeloved2 karma

You still with that chick?

Meph2481 karma

What chick?

Arducius2 karma

Hey pal, So here's a question, as part of an Asian adventure earlier this year I spent three months exploring Vietnam bottom to top on a motorbike. I enjoyed this so much that I've decided to ride all the way to Australia (from home in the UK) but ideally I could do with a little help not bankrupting myself, how did you go about monetising your journey to help cover costs? What was the process like and what kind of response did you get from companies you approached? Do you think I could do something similar with my trip? Beyond starting a YouTube for a diary and an instagram I'm clueless. Thanks in advance, and good luck. I'll share your campaign.

jzwinck2 karma

Patrick (the guy here) does get sponsors to send him really nice equipment, but as far as pure cash I suspect it's not much. And he's way ahead of you. So you will probably need to pay your own way, apart from maybe some gear (how to get gear sponsorships has been written about in many places, including by Patrick here).

After all, if people got paid to travel, loads of people would do that instead of regular jobs. :)

Meph2481 karma

Yeah, I travelled 4 years before I even thought about approaching companies and asked for gear.

Sadly I dont get the electronics sponsored, otherwise I would not need this crowdfunding. :/

Meph2482 karma

I did not monetise my tour in any way. No one pays me and this crowdfunding thing today is the first time I use something like this.

I do get equipment from companies in exchange for reports, pictures and social media posts, but that is because I have a large portfolio and a website.

You can do something similar, but you would spend a lot of time on it. For a first big trip, I think it would be more important to focus on the trip, not on the PR around it.

xBelRagazzox2 karma

What countries would you suggest to visit for a first time traveling young couple. My SO and I are planning on going on a month long trip next December and have been trying to decide where to go. I personally love animals like elephants and monkeys and trying different food and seeing a lot of nature scenery, while my SO is also into the nature scenery and hiking. Where would you suggest is the best country or countries to vist?

Meph2482 karma

From what you describe: SouthEastAsia. Young couple, elephants and monkeys, new food, hiking?

Head to Borneo and mainland Malaysia. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are perfect airports, easy to get a flight there, then head into the Cameron highlands, TamanNegara rainforest, in Borneo you can see Orang Utans... Perhentian islands have good diving, too. :)

I would stay away from the popular names in Thailand, because it is absolutely overrun with backpackers.

Otherwise I would say India (food, exotic, elephants), but not as a first time trip. The country is too crazy.

julianface2 karma

I'd I understand correctly you were robbed in Libya just recently? I thought Libya was a no-go zone right now. How was the process of getting a visa and can you comment on any updates on the general political climate right now?

EDIT: Tripoli, Lebanon not Tripoli, Libya... Sorry

Meph2483 karma

No worries, not the first to ask about Libya.

It is indeed a no-go zone atm. You can get a working visa if you like, costs about 300€ and you have a 50/50 chance to get it, or so I've been told. I wouldnt go there, and I went to Somalia and Sudan and might head into Iraqi Kurdistan.

calicialoveschacal2 karma

Hi! I'm from Venezuela... Did you like our country? Which places did you visited there? any favorite food?

Meph2484 karma

I had to leave due to your money situation. Did not know that the difference between black market and bank was so large. I liked it, but would love to come back once it is a bit more politically/economically stable.

I came from Boa Vista, went to Mt Roraima, the capital, over to the west till Colombia. I unfortunately passed the place with the constant lightning, that would have been awesome, but I had to get to Colombia to get to a bank with an ATM ;)

favourite food... several, but none from Venezuela, sorry.

paininthedic2 karma

Thought of a few more questions!

  1. Where you're on the road a large majority of the time, do you find it hard to keep in touch with family and friends? Do you have a SO? If so how do they feel about you being gone for so long.

  2. What is your average pace when cycling?

  3. What country has had the best beer?

EDIT: formatting

Meph2484 karma

  1. Yes, it is very hard. Lots of friends disappear over time, because you only see them once per year or so. I do have a girlfriend, who accompanies me now and then.

  2. Depends on the bike. 22kmh on the MTB this year, maybe... 19kmh on the folding bike, about 25kmh on the road bike.

  3. I do not drink, I just go with: GERMANY! :P

Marbi_2 karma

Hey man,

First of all please be safe, and dont do stupid things like running after an armed man.

Second how are you holding up? Whats the next move for you? Are you planning in staying longer in Lebanon ?

Meph2483 karma

I'm fine, trip is continuing as planned. In 3 days I fly to Kuwait, then Bahrain, then Doha, then Dubai. Lots of short stays in tiny Arabic countries.

bubblebathosrs2 karma

How did you find South Africa?

Meph2486 karma

It would be very easy to say that it's trivial to find, the name gives away its location.... :P

But no, I did like it. There are a lot of things wrong with it, the rampant racism mostly, but the landscape, the food, the wildlife? WOW.

I remember visiting a cat sanctuary and I could walk with Cheetahs in a cage and their young were sucking on my fingers, just like baby cats. That was a one-of-a-kind experience so far.

tontey2 karma

Fellow german here just having one quick question: about how much money did you actually spend on all your trips? and if that should be more than your stated 15$ don't you think your title is a bit misleading? no offence just curious.

Meph2482 karma

It's about $50k, the last time I calculated everything I came to a daily budget of $15.40.

At the moment I spend more because I booked 7 flights this month, which is highly unusual, but if I spend less the coming months it will average out in the end.

bigcums1 karma

He means $15 per day, he uses CouchSurfing and rides everywhere to save cash, I heard he sucks the morning dew on leaves for water and eats mouthfuls of dust for food.Dudes a nutcase.

Meph2482 karma

Obvious troll is obvious.

smallcityencased2 karma

I'm 19 years old and in college, you're living my dream. Recently I've really thought about doing something like this, maybe backpacking Europe this summer. As a female what kind of precautions do you think I should take? Also would I be able to do it inexpensively (broke college student)? Or any other countries that you liked better for backpacking? Where were your favorite places to travel there? I've been to Spain and absolutely loved it there. Side note: I followed your last AMA and am really sorry to hear about your stuff, will definitely be donating to your go fund me!

Meph2483 karma

If you want to go around Europe for cheap, get camping gear and either a bike or hitchhike. Everything else costs a lot because of the transport and accommodation.

Since I'm a man and dont know how it is to hitchhike as a woman, best ask someone like this: , she is hitchhiking all over the place. ;)

I like Skandinavia and the Alps, but that is not the cheapest nor warmest area. Try the Balkans, the former Yugoslav area. :)

KredeBallade2 karma

Did you dieded?

Meph2484 karma

No, I did not become an hero.

bigcums1 karma

Fellow traveller here, you have any ideas on other options for photo/vid storage? I am currently using an external HD like yourself and every 6months sending it home, but after 3months I start having nightmares of HD failure or theft. Online storage isn't an option due to the sheer size of files and poor internet connections.

Meph2481 karma

I usually have one copy on the laptop and one copy on the HDD, and keep them in separate bags. Now and then I upload the better pictures, but due to the slow internet in most countries that is not a good option. Some people burn them to DVD, copy them to SD cards and send them home manually.

TheAlmetto1 karma

Have you traveled to countries when they're engaged in armed conflict at any point?

Meph2482 karma

Yes, for example Somalia. But I spend my time in the relatively safe north, I did keep my distance from Mogadischu. Overall I try to stay clear of conflict zones.

AlcyoneVega1 karma

Hi, fan of your ☼masterwork☼ mod over here! I'm planning a light bike trip around my country, Spain. Any stories you wanna share about the country? I'm worried about the south and coastal/mediterranean areas, stealth camping seems hard because of lack of trees and hiding spots, and lots of huge fenced areas.

Meph2483 karma

Stealth camping in Spain was never a problem in southern Europe, I'm sure you will find something. Worst case you can camp at the beach. ;)

A story from Spain? I did go to Salamanca and saw a couple of guys fighting with swords, shields and all kinds of made up weapons. Fake, of course. I forgot the name of the game, but you have to touch your opponents body with your weapon. It looked so much fun that I joined them for a few rounds. Standing in Spain in front of old city walls, citadelle in the background, and you stand surrounded by strangers with swords, maces and axes... it was fun :D

ecosunknownlibrary1 karma

What place or experience changed you the most, do you think?

Meph2482 karma

I think seeing how other people live, that the western European style is not the only way to live, that there is not "right" or "wrong" when it comes to what you want to do. You always hear about rampant consumerism in the west, but you dont realize what it is, until you lived a while in a third world country. ;)

Rointhepro121 karma

Which country do you think has the most fun?

Meph2482 karma

I dont think it depends on the country, because every person has a different definition of fun. Get drunk and party you can do in almost any developed country, but if you fun consists of snowboarding and skiing, maybe dont head into Egypt.

Depends what you are looking for.

onlytech_nofashion1 karma

Where are you from in Germany ?

Meph2481 karma

From Cologne, it's on the river Rhine near the netherlands.

jtnzl1 karma

When were you in New Zealand and did you enjoy it?

Meph2482 karma

Wow, that is long ago in the first year of my trip. I arrived 01 January 2008 and spend a month going from Christchurch to Auckland. I did enjoy it, but spend way too much money ;)

drunkmanishere1 karma

How was the trip in India?

Meph2481 karma

Exhausting, but very interesting. I love/hate India, the food and landscape is amazing, the culture a unique mix of everything, but there is also so much wrong with the country, the overpopulation, smell, garbage...

Most of all I enjoyed the Andaman islands. :)

StaticTaco1 karma

Who is your sponsor?

Meph2481 karma

See for the sponsors, underneath the gallery. These companies have supported me with free gear, no one ever paid me for this.

max-monday1 karma

Hi Patrick, great AMA. I hope Im not too late.

Can you tell me about your trip to china? Where did you go, and did you meet a lot of persons who saw a non-chinese person for the first time? I know chinese people are kind and will probably invite you for food and shelter if you are lucky, but how did you communicate with people who only speak chinese. I can Image you can show them the basics if you try, but do you (in general during your travel) get more communication than just "Hello" and "Bye Bye"

Meph2482 karma

China was extremely difficult because of the language barrier. I barely communicated with the locals at all, I also never got invited for food or shelter. Instead I got kicked out of hotels for being a foreigner, was not allowed to cycle across the borders (both Mongolia and Kazakhstan border posts forced me to take a bus or jeep to cross it), and overall Chine did not leave the best impression.

max-monday1 karma

Sorry to hear that, when I visited China I made mostly good experiences, but I was mostly in big citys. I also experienced that some Hotels do not allowe foreigners, but I learned that is because each hotel has to pay a extra fee to be allowed to host non chinese citizens, and most of them say that the annualy fee would be bigger than the profit of hosting non chinese citizens. So its nothing personal.

Meph2481 karma

Most places dont have hotels for foreigners... onl big cities do. ;) So yeah, I guess you saw a completely different China than I did. I liked HongKong and Beijing.

yalcton1 karma

Worst place to get a flat tire?

Meph2481 karma

Middle of nowhere, hot, lots of traffic. Nothing better than standing on the side of a highway in 40° heat, no shade, trucks passing by and you try to fix a flat.

Worst place I had was 10km before a town in Djibouti after I came back from Lac Assal. I was out of water (only time that happened) and it was 45°.

kcolrehs1 karma

Hi Patrick,

Could you explain (with detail) how you choose camping spots, particularly in countries where it's not legal? How did you do it in the US for instance, or in Western Europe states like Ireland or Germany? Have you ever been caught, and what was the result?

Thanks. Happy adventures and good luck with the GoFundMe!

Meph2482 karma


I cycle till the evening and pitch the tent when it is getting dark or is already dark. Either I cycle till I see a spot I like or I check my GPS to find fields, forests, etc. Rivers are usually very good bets too. I dont need much space for the tent. You only stay the night, most trails, fields, etc will do.

I have never been caught, or maybe I have been seen, but no one said anything. As long as you leave no trace, people dont care. I dont think that the German police for example would say anything. I know a couple of other bikers that have been found by the police, they just asked whats going on, wished them a good trip, and thats it.

kcolrehs1 karma

I have a sense that I'm asking questions already asked before. But, do you plan out your days and routes, or just kind of go which way your favor goes and see where you end up? If it's the later, have you ever been in a position where there was no clear place to find a camping place?

I've been tempted to travel like you, but whenever I imagine coming across suburbs or large towns, I can't imagine finding a safe, secret place to crash for the night. Do you ever ask landowners if you see people out on the property?

Thanks for answering by the way.

Meph2481 karma

I go by direction and whatever road is available, I dont plot much, but sometimes I have to, because some places are remote. To get food and water I have to plan and get a certain distance.

Yes, a lot of times I had trouble finding camping spots, especially on the coast in the western world. Anything densly populated is hard. Sometimes I slept in train/busstations, contruction sites, between two highway ramps (lots of greenery, cars go by too fast to notice you, they cant easily stop, and there are no pedestrians)

Obviously these are all bad camp spots.

When I have the option to ask, I always ask landowners, who so far always have said yes, but they are hard to come by. How should I know who owns what? ;)

kcolrehs1 karma

Do you have any recommendations for free camping in NZ? I'd like to do a tour of the coast on both islands. I'm more of a walking guy than a biker. Should I switch?

Meph2481 karma

Biking allows more distance, hiking gives more options because you can go crosscountry without a trail.

No recommendations, NZ should offer plenty of space for camping.

marikaga1 karma

I think you're living my dream... At what age did you start this trip?

Meph2481 karma

When I was 19.

Ramsacit1 karma

Marry/Kill/Fuck: Adam Sandler, Zack Galifianakis, George Lopez?

Meph2481 karma

Marry Galifianakis, Kill Sandler, Fuck Lopez (no idea who that is)

Ramsacit1 karma

I'm very surprised you don't know George Lopez. Very disappointing childhood im sure

Meph2481 karma

He probably does not do German TV shows.

Rekz1601 karma

What's the most amazing moment of your travels?

Meph2482 karma

The moment I first stepped out of the door when I was 19, turned the key in the door and knew, that I was not going to come back for a long, long time. I couldnt even feel the weight of the backpack when I strolled towards the train station...

xXSgtSprinklesXx1 karma

How was North Korea?

Meph2481 karma

It was only a guided day trip, I did see nearly nothing of the country. One day, when they open their borders, I will visit it properly. Till then cant recommend going there, partly because some of the money you pay for the tour is going to their government.

acatao22101 karma

Have you ever thought about making Youtube videos of your adventures? I'm sure that it would be something that would gain an even larger following, one that you deserve.

Meph2481 karma

Making videos is a lot of work. I thought about it and did some tests, but you need hardware, and you will do the work of main actor, camera man, director, editor, sound-guy, and PR guy. And uploading a video (huge filesize) is horrible from third world countries.

I travel too much to do much PR. ;)

andyw881 karma

Hi, hope I'm not too late to the party.

I've been following you since you did the 5part posts on imgur. Ever since I've been trying to cut down my budget while travelling (or living for that purpose). Real inspiration.

Sorry for what happened to you.

Questions: 1) isn't your bike very slow now with the tiny wheels?

2) I remember you made a bit of money by leasing an appartment, if this has changed then how do you make money now?

3) Besides the cycling/sleeping/laundry: what are your hobbies or activities?

4) I've travelled 5 weeks sleeping in different locations each night. It was tough, especially because after a while I couldn't remember properly the things I've done for the past days (the timeline was messed up). I needed to take a break from travelling and stay in the same place for 4-5 days and "process these memories".

5) I'm planning on doing another 4-5 week trip next year. If I may ask you, can you recommend a place if I give you the following constraints: - no crazy wildlife(big tarantula in Uruguay? no-no!!) - very much enjoy hospitality (Indonesia, US southern states) - positive culture shock: as in people that value different things in life than our western world I think Chinese country life fits these ideas/Mongolia but I'm also wondering if Japan/New Zealand is something I'm looking for.

Thanks for doing this AMA. I've read some fun stuff and I'll enjoy giving you a small donation!

Meph2481 karma

  1. If tiny wheels would make it slower, that logic would dictate that larger wheels make it faster. I havent seen tour de france riders with absurdly large wheels, so... no. ;) The small wheels have no effect on riding speed.

  2. I sold the place, money comes from interest on the bank now.

  3. Programming, gaming, reading, chess, photography...

  4. There is no question. ;)

  5. Japan yes, Korea yes (cheaper), NZ no (still very western), China depends on the area, it's a huge place, but I dont know enough about the country to recommend an area.

And thank you for the help :)

Acejam1 karma

What type of programming do you do?

Meph2481 karma

Video game mods. It's not "proper" programming. ;)

I did a mod called Masterwork Dwarf Fortress for the game Dwarf Fortress, that would be the biggest project I did. 15k players. :)

jimmy_bigballs1 karma

How do I decide whether traveling the world for me would be the best decision I've ever made or borderline insane ?

Meph2481 karma

Ask me again when I know the answer.

So far I'd go with: Why not both?

TREEandMONKEY1 karma

What do you think of the netherlands? Since you cycle could you see big difference between the netherlands (huge amount of infrastructre based on bicycles) and other countries?

Meph2481 karma

Sure, there is a giant difference. Your country (and Denmark) are awesome when it comes to bike paths, best in the world. If you go to Africa for example, you will find no long-distance bike trails at all. When I did Westafrica, I remember that I saw a bike paths only in some larger cities in Morocco, not in any other country.

SnottyPockets1 karma

How do you plan your budget for a long trip? I've lived in Thailand for a year and I'd like to see more of South East Asia, but I've no idea where to start planning a backpacking trip of more than a couple of weeks.

Meph2481 karma

I see how much money I have, how much time I have, and divide it. Sticking to your budget is discipline. With 15$ I can stay at a guesthouse in Thailand, but not in a hotel in the US, so I camp. In India I can get 3 restaurant meals on that budget, in Europe I go and buy in supermarkets. My budget stays the same, no matter where I go, it's just my level of comfort that changes.

joaqF1 karma

Hey, amazing story. Highly impressed by the number of countries you've been. What did you think of Argentina when you came?

Also, I'm sure that the world is a lot safer than depicted by media. Is there a place in particular that impressed you by the kindness of its people that was maybe,unexpected?

Meph2482 karma

Sudan. I cycled from the northern border to the capital and did not spend a thing. Every time I asked if there is a restaurant or shop, I got invited. Drinking water is free too.

Argentina was a lot of fun, I love the mountains you have, even if they are hard to see with all the clouds you have in Patagonia :P

ifiwastheilluminati1 karma

Do you think you'd be less welcomed if you were an American instead of German (due to the USA's unpopular foreign policy)? Have you met any Americans traveling like you are?

Meph2481 karma

Yes, but only because Germany is so popular. You would only find some hostility against Americans in countries that you mistreated, toppled governments, wars, etc.

I have met Americans travelling, backpacking, sure, but very few. For multiple reasons you guys are rare, your education system is fucked and leaves people in debts, your country is so large that people can travel a lot without leaving it, and with the exception of Canada and Mexico, you have to fly everywhere. Add the fact that most Americans speak only one language (and a bit of Spanish in the southern parts) AND your concept of a career that is more important than everything else (aka only 14 vacation days, a hard worker is a good worker, year-gap in resume is bad, etc)... well, it's easy to see why only a few Americans backpack round the world.

Maptowel1 karma

Hey Patrick, you inspired me to go out and start touring as well! I did a small tour around Lake Michigan this past summer and I want to do more more more. However, I did have a run-in with some unsavory folks who I was afraid would have liked to rob me. I feel more confident in the world yet also a bit more scared. Now you got actually robbed. My question is how confident are you in your statement that the world is safe? Is it only safe if you rely on yourselfand not get close to others?

Also, where do you shower?

Meph2481 karma

I stick with my opinion that it's safe. 3000+ days travelled, 1 day robbed. That is still 2999 to 1. ;)

I shower in hostels or couchsurfers homes. Since I left Germany 2 weeks ago, I only camped 4 nights. 4 nights were couchsurfing, 6 nights hostels.

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Meph24811 karma

Hello bot and thank you for your participation. I can always rely on you.

rogueonomist1 karma

I see you haven't visited Pakistan?

Great place. Lots of mountains, and you can definitely go cycling on the Karakoram Highway. This should be your next destination.

Let me know if you're headed out here..

Meph2481 karma

Slightly unsafe atm ;)

arnar2021 karma

where have you been in Iceland?

Meph2482 karma

Reikjavik and the ring road one time round the island. :)

ifiwastheilluminati1 karma

Have you ever taught the English language to make some extra side cash? Would be easy to teach conversational English.

Meph2481 karma

Not for me. I'm not a native English speaker, which means it would be harder to find a spot. I have thought about it, but never done it.

workingtimeaccount1 karma

Why didn't you have a budget bigger than an average priced dinner?

Meph2486 karma

Because it's the money I wanted to spend per day. And it might be an average priced US dinner, but not an average priced worldwide dinner, those are much cheaper. ;)

Dkace1 karma

What was your favorite place you have been so far? and why?

Meph2489 karma

There is no clear favourite because most places have something positive and negative. I really enjoyed the mountain areas or Patagonia and Nepal for the landscape, yet loved the food of India or Japan more, and the infrastructure and ease of travel in western Europe.

Someone once called it the curse of the traveller: Every place has something nice, but the more places you know, the harder it is to find a place that has everything.

homeboy931 karma

Every place has something nice, but the more places you know, the harder it is a place that has everything.

This is what life is all about ;)

Meph2482 karma

Ups, there is a "to find" missing. The harder it is to find a place that has everything.

CarbonInfinity1 karma

Hi Patrick, I've been following you since your last AmA. First of all, I'm not one of those guys that says that you are lucky, because everybody can do it if they just want to. Having said that, I'm still thrilled by what you do - and I think it's beyond awesome! By the way, I hope you can get your hands on your HDD. Basically everything else is replacable, but those data aren't.. Must've broken your heart.

Anyway, my question is about bicycling through Africa. I keep wondering how you sort of prepare/decide which route you are gonna take? Do you follow local advice all the time?
I can imagine a number of things which could go wrong on that continent:

*Having an encounter with a dangerous animal (lion, hippo, etc.) *People who want to rob you due to your skin color *Boko Haram and other rebels/terrorists/organisations who could just kill you in the blink of an eye. Ever (almost) got into one of these situations? Thanks!

Meph2482 karma


In Africa it is very easy to find routes, because the options are very limited. Most countries have only 1-2 obvious options, paved roads that connect them to the next country. You must remember that there are very few border crossings and not all of them are open to foreigners. There are some classical routes, but most people end up cycling the same roads.

Hippos will be much more likely than lions, lions you only find in game parks and national parks, you are not allowed to cycle there anyway. That means huge detours.

Racisms is not a problem, until you get to South Africa.

Boko Haram, yep, fundamentalists are scary. Make a big detour around those areas.

I had a few situations, an elephant charged me, a croc bit me, I was in the Ebola-area when it broke out and they closed some borders... but nothing serious. It's a while since I heard that someone was killed by anything there. If bike tourers die, it's drunk drivers, not the dangers you described.

[deleted]1 karma


Meph2481 karma

Nothing, I will open my own company or work as a freelancer. Programming, writing, photography. I will never be an employee.

Slapahoex31 karma

How was Ecuador ? Did you like it? Your trip is really inspiring and interesting to me! How does your family feel about your trip around the world and how do you feel when you go into third world countries? Has anything significant that you've witnessed impacted you? Thanks, have a great day ♡♡♡♡

Meph2483 karma

Ecuador was the last country in latin America I visited, I remember it being a backpack paradise, cheap cheap cheap. Only expensive thing is the trip to the Galapagos islands, which I sadly did not visit.

My family is ok with it by now, but was pretty scared at the beginning.

Third world countries are mostly tough, not because of danger, but because of the added difficulty. Lacking education, infrastructure, food...

Lots of things changed me, I'm a completely different person, but I could not pinpoint a single thing that made that large a difference.

yurassis211 karma

What do you do for a living? What I mean is, where do you get the money to travel, what's your "money making job"? Also, how'd you like Ukraine? When did you visit there? Meaning, was it at the peaceful time or more recently during the tensions with Russia?

Meph2481 karma

I dont have one, I rent out a place in Germany, that passive income is enough for me. Sometimes I program on a game, but that is for fun, if any money comes from that good, if not, also good.

I visited the Ukraine in December when the riots started and the Maidan was full of people. It was still relatively friendly, no open hostilities. I remember that they toppled the Lenin statue while I was there.

Junhainthepark1 karma

It's hard to imagine how people's legs would cope with cycling every day, day after day. How are your legs doing? Constant pain, only late into the day, or no pain at all?

Meph2481 karma

No pain, they are well trained. I dont cycle every day, for example now I will spend 3 days in Beirut, sightseeing, walking around...

koyapres1 karma

Any chance of visiting the Philippines?

Meph2482 karma

Sure. Hope to come by this year.

dramak1ng1 karma

You dont have a whole lot of time left then if you're gonna make that happen. ;)

Meph2481 karma

Sorry, I meant 2016 with "this year" I always forget that its still december. :D

Lemony_Peaches1 karma

What was your favorite/ most reliable bike? What was your craziest experience since your last AMA?

Meph2482 karma

Favourite: the road bike. Most reliable: the quantec SLR 2, the bike I did Argentina to Canada with.

Since Kazakhstan... I would say doing a 370km day through Turkmenistan, that was fun/exhausting. Visiting Persepoles was awesome, I always wanted to go there. Getting a free bottle of wine at the Georgian border, while trying to explain to them that I dont drink... they looked like I insulted their ancestors. Every single person that invited me to something in that country always included alcohol... even the hostel owner offered me booze for breakfast!

steeletyler1 karma

Hey Patrick,

Your last AMA inspired me to one day travel to every country. I'm currently finishing up school and hope to start my journey after graduation. What advice could you give to me about my journey if I won't be biking the world? How much should I plan before I go? What are some essentials I should make sure to bring with me? Are there any backpacks you would specifically recommend? Also, are you a tent or hammock guy?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions and for the asshole in Lebanon. I'll be sure to donate as soon as the link is back up.

Cheers, Steele.

Meph2482 karma

A journey to every country? That is a big goal. I would start with a smaller trip, see how you like it, then add more and more goals.

You can make 2 plans: One is just very rough outlines, planning a year. One is detailed, planning a week. You try to stick to your year-plan, while updating your week-plan once a week. Like this: 3 months Canada, 3 months USA, 3 months Mexico, 3 months Central Asia, then a boat to Colombia... BAM, one-year plan.

But where you actually stay, what you see, how you move... that you do only for a week in advance, because things chance so much that it would be pointless to do it for a year.

Hammocks are useless on such a trip, you need trees for them. You will not always find trees.

No recommendation for backpacks... ask in an outdoor store ;)

dtrump_official-3 karma

Shocker. What else would you expect from those damn muslim countries?

Meph2484 karma

Actual hospitality. I've been to Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Iran... nothing but hospitality.