There is only the vaguest whiff of a plan. Just some loose ideas and soft connections. I’m trying to stay as open as possible to opportunities, directions, people, places…
I’ll start in Faro; that much I know. For little other reason than it should be warm and it’s conveniently located towards the south west of Europe and therefore tailwinds will certainly push me wherever I want to go. At first I’d like to just travel and get in to the habits and routines of cycle touring so I’ll probably head towards Sagres and then up through Portugal for a few weeks. After that the route will probably depend on the availability of the following:
Warmshowers.org – is like Couchsurfing for cycle tourists. People offer cyclists a place to stay for a night or two. It might be a bed, or a sofa, or space to pitch a tent. I’m hoping it will be an interesting way to meet like-minded local people, alleviate loneliness and save money at the same time.
Workaway.info – this is a website that connects people who need help (in exchange for food and lodging) with people who are willing to volunteer their time. Almost any type of work is permitted but there seems to be a glut of ‘language teaching’ (potentially babysitting) and farmhand positions. I’m especially interested in cycling-related work and also things like brewing beer or other boozy tasks. If I find the right place I could stay for a month or more whilst learning new skills and maybe beginning to speak a language.
Wwoof-ing – stands for WorldWide Opportunities in Organic Farming. Like Workaway but focussing exclusively on seasonal farm work. Although I don’t think large farms are excluded, most are small or family farms with an emphasis on sustainable practices.
If I can muster the discipline and energy to learn a language, I’ll probably try to stay in one country (probably Spain or Germany). If I’m too lazy or just want to keep moving I’ll be motivated mainly by the weather. As it gets warmer I’ll head further north or into mountainous areas and if I’m still going by autumn 2016 I’ll start to make my way back south – potentially in to Italy or Slovenia, Croatia etc.
As I’m only going to be a few hours away from the UK, I’m hoping some friends and family will make plans to come and visit too. It might take me a week or more to get to a point where our paths intersect, but I’ve got nowhere I need to be and I like the idea of letting the route sort itself out.