The most common question I’m asked, when people find out I guide cycling holidays in Poland, is “How did an Australian end up in Poland?”. In my more serious moments, I talk about how I needed a career break after I started a successful web development company in Australia. Or how Poland offered a unique opportunity to work remotely with my mainly US clients. But it was a little more ‘unplanned’ than that!
On a sunny morning in Australia’s Capital, Canberra (yes, not Sydney), looking out over Lake Tuggeranong I needed to get away. I needed to experience the world outside of the self imposed bubble which was rapidly losing oxygen. Reading way too many travelogues of adventures in distant and radically different countries sated my hunger for a while, but what the reading really achieved was the planting of seeds that led to my first pedal stroke towards a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
So, why not China? Why not 6 weeks cycling in a country where we couldn’t speak the language, where we had a Mandarin phrasebook in a Cantonese speaking region, where we had a general idea of a route from Guangdong to Kunming and not much else. Oh, we did have an outdated map showing China’s main roads but no detail. Four weeks later, with all our shots taken care of, we landed in Hong Kong and travelled by train to Guangdong and entered another world.The details of the trip are another post entirely! But we quickly learnt that cycling up Chinese mountains is quite difficult due to our level of fitness, the unrelenting gradient, the torrential rain, and the subsequent landslides. We cut our journey short in Guilin and jumped on a plane in search of much flatter environs…Poland. The additional benefit was that my then partner was Polish.
After exploring quite a bit of Poland by bike and train, drinking way too much vodka and eating way too many sausages, dutifully meeting long lost relatives, and falling in love with a beautiful country, we returned to Australia.
Six months later we were back in Poland living in the picturesque (mainly!), vibrant, exciting town of Wroclaw in the south-west and one of the points of the ‘Black Triangle’ and wondering what to do next…
[flickr-gallery mode=”tag” tags=”WP0407″ tag_mode=”all”]