Pedalling Portugal – Why am I going to Portugal?

If you’re following this blog or following me on Twitter you probably know by now that I’m getting ready to cycle in Portugal for three months next year. But why am I going?

This is a question that have weighed on my mind a lot. My answer was simple when I first came up with the idea for this trip, but as the months went by it grew in complexity and became plural.

But most of it was a lie.

When I prepared to announce my plan to my family and friends I became terrified that they wouldn’t understand my drive. So I searched for ways to justify myself. I was going to cycle in Portugal to launch a career based on my writing and sounds. I would come back and take up studying again, retrain into something new. My experiences in Portugal and what I would produce based on them would act as my portfolio to help me get into the school I had chosen.

I applied for a few grants to help me financially but really I sent my applications because I wanted to be able to say ‘See, my trip is not a whim. I have financial backing.’ I am now glad I did not receive those grants. They were just a mean to validate my trip in the eyes of others.


In the few weeks when my trip was only an idea known to me, my reasons to go where entirely different. I wanted to get to know Portugal more intimately. I wanted to find a head-space I lose too easily in London. I wanted to explore writing and sounds at my own pace, without the clutches of work during most hours of the day.

I never wanted this journey to bring any money or to build a new career on the back of it. But as I started to talk about it to others, I felt those ingredients needed to come into play. So I began to make notes on how people made their living from travelling and exploring new places. I knew this was not the life I want to live but I kept on anyway because their stories fascinates me. I admire and on a certain level envy them. But what I envy is not their job but their passion. They love what they do and are driven by it. This was something I had and lost. I have been wandering ever since, letting myself be carried by the flow of life. I want to know again what it is to do something you love on a daily basis. And this is why I am going to Portugal.

Now is the perfect time, a moment when I don’t have many ties to hold me back, when I have no squabble leaving a job I don’t really care about. I have enough savings to allow for this trip and just about enough to scrap by when I come back. So I’m going to make the most of this privilege and explore what I love. Not for others, not for money. But for me.


Pedalling Portugal will begin in March 2016. For more information about this upcoming trip, visit this page.


17 thoughts on “Pedalling Portugal – Why am I going to Portugal?

  1. I wish you good luck for the tip- the idea sounds wonderful and i hope it all goes well- will you be blogging about it? I’d be really happy about getting to know portugal a bit…


  2. I’m glad you’ve found greater clarity in your sense of purpose. It’s easy to get bogged down by the feeling that our goals need to be justifiable, explainable, profitable, or sensible. They do not. I feel very lucky to have made your acquaintance (digitally, as it were), to have lived vicariously through your journeys a little, and to have benefited from your encouragement to take my own.

    I hope that cycling through Portugal is everything you hope for and more, and I am already excited to read about your experience! Keep us posted as much as you can without bogging yourself down (should I expect some lovely Instagrams?), and I know we’ll all be excited to read more when you get back… Of course, I’m speaking as if you’re starting out tomorrow, but you still have some prep time correct? If I recall properly, your departure will be in March, right? Do you mind if I ask what sorts of preparations are still on your to-do list? I’m just very curious about this whole trip.

    Sounds very challenging, but also very enchanting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wade.
      It is indeed very easy to feel the need to justify oneself and it was hard to realise I didn’t need to. I’m really glad I did in the end πŸ™‚

      I’ll definitely be blogging about the trip. Though I probably won’t be posting much while on the road as I don’t anticipate to use the Internet much. I’d rather be enjoying Portugal rather than the Internet. Not sure about Instagram – I’ll have to see how my phone copes with not being charged all the time (the plight of modern life :P).

      Absolutely, I still have a few months. I’ll be starting in early March.

      Ask away πŸ™‚ I’ll be happy to share the preparations. I don’t really have much left to do. I have most of the gear I need from what I bought in the past for microadventures. I’m going to upgrade on a few things (e.g. cooking pots, saddle, etc.) but other than that I’m ready. I’m not planning an itinerary as I’ll be there for three months so it seems pointless – there is blog post coming next month about this. I’d rather follow my fancy and local advice πŸ™‚

      And next month I’ll start to look into the logistics of getting there in more details (I know roughly how to but I need to buy tickets and all of that).

      But other than that I don’t think I’m doing much else in terms of preparation. What has been the most helpful was doing microadventures, wild camping, and finding out that everyone can do it and that it’s great fun πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s great that you’re focusing more on having the experience and sharing it later. It’s great to share the experience, but more important to actually *have* the experience first!

        It sounds like you’re pretty ready to roll! Just a few details to work out, with plenty of time to do so. I’ll look forward to your upcoming post about your travel plans.

        It’s also very encouraging that you’ve done all these other activities and they have really prepared you for this trip. Not because you were using them to get ready for this adventure, but just because you wanted to do them and in hindsight they clearly prepared you. It’s such a great reminder that it’s important to just go “do the stuff” and have the experiences, because the little things all build to something bigger!

        Still so excited for you!


  3. Good on ya Allysse! If you weren’t doing primarily for yourself, it would be in danger of becoming a chore, so go for it and enjoy. I look forward to what you find, see, hear, say and write πŸ™‚


  4. This sounds exciting, and I wish you well. I look forward to reading about your trip when you get back. Your post is timely. I’m contemplating an extended solo trip next year. My motive is simple. I like to cycle, particularly in the sun and near the water.


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