Translation from BLT newspaper

Article in BLT, 27 Feb. 2013

Article in BLT, 27 Feb. 2013

Inofficial translation

Cycling to Thailand

The car is sold and the apartment is rented out.
Wej Wetchupakorn and Joakim Ekendahl have now started to ride their bicycles to Thailand.
– It will be a journey from one of our homes to the other, says Wej

Wej and Joakim left their home in Göteborg on the westcoast a week ago. They have been riding slowly the first part and yesterday they made a stop in Karlskrona where Joakim has many friends after having worked at the coastguard for several years.

They are used to travel but now they have the journey of their lives in front of them. The coming 9-10 months they will cycle to and in Thailand.

What’s below

Wej comes from Thailand and has her family there. Joakim used to work in Thailand and has been there many times.

– When on those long distance flights, you board the plane, get a drink, eat, sleep, watch a movie, sleep some more and then have breakfast. When you arrive you have passed half of the world and the question of what is below that aircraft has struck us many times, says Joakim

When the city library in Göteborg where Wej works closed for major renovations she applied for a leave without pay. They decided to go and Joakim left his job in Älmhult which he commuted to before.

Lots of planning

The route will take them through Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. Then they will pass a number of former soviet republics before they will face the 6000 km through China. When in Laos it will be like the last sprint to the finish line.

– This is the least the planned route, says Joakim

They have sublet their apartment in Göteborg, sold their car and prepared themselves in many ways. The preparations have been on two levels. One level is the equipment and the trip itself, and the other is for everything that is left at home. Like how to pay bills, says Joakim.

No beginners

They know what they are doing and it is not the first time they go for long distance cycling trips. Wej have had another long leave without pay and spent it cycling around in Thailand. Then we cycled for a month in Tajikistan and after that trip we had all the equipment needed, says Wej.

They have made contacts with local people along their route through various networks so that they can find places to shower and sleep. As soon as they will get to warmer areas they will start to camp.

In contrast to the trip in Tadjikistan, they will this time carry a set of normal clothes.

– We want to be able to be invited to people’s houses, go to restaurant and be among “normal” people and be dressed in normal clothes and not functional outdoor clothing. This is probably the only luxury we allow ourselves, says Joakim.

In their luggage there is also some electronic equipment like computer and ipad. Books can be read on the ipad these days, says Joakim.

They estimate that they will cycle about 90 km a day. People ask if it won’t be physically exhausting, but we believe it will be more of a mental challenge, says Joakim.


The boxes in the pictures above show what is packed in each pannier. 


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