I hope all is well with you.

My life is about to change. I’m taking a midlife break from a career as an architect and will stop work in the summer. My wife Yasmin, who is a counsellor, is also doing the same. We’ve been talking and thinking about this prolonged leave of absence for over three years now and have finally decided to go ahead and do it – to cycle and hike, what loosely might be described as, the Pacific Rim. We head off via Kuala Lumpur to Australia, South East Asia, New Zealand, Japan and will then hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in North America southward from Portland to Los Angeles. A sort of north, east, south and west of that great ocean with a bit of the ‘outback’ thrown in.

It is also a little scary as we both have to give up work from modestly successful careers and do not know what employment opportunities await us on our return. We’re both in our fifties and the kind of independent travel we wish to do cannot wait for retirement – its the ‘gap year’ we never had.

The cycling and hiking way of travelling will give us a real sense of independence, freedom and self-sufficiency. We use the power of our bodies to travel through parts of the world not seen by the guided visitor. We hope to be able to take our time, camp wild, eat and drink well as we meet people on the road and trail sides. We’ve fleetingly experienced this from other shorter pedalling and walking holidays, and this time, there is less of a need to be time pressured and to have to rush or push for a destination or mileage. As my Alexander Technique teacher Madeline would say ‘we should avoid the need to be end-gaining’ and miss all the interesting arbitrary bits in between on our journeys.

This is how we wish to travel.

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