We are Anna and Mateusz Emeschajmer, we were both born in Poland, in 1984. At the age of five Anna moved to Germany with her parents and her brother. Anna has a Master in Science of Art and Romance Studies from the University of Bremen. Mat graduated as a Cross Cultural and Gender Psychologist at the University of Gdansk. We met in 2009 in Sopot and decided to see the world together. Anna had traveled in Europe and used to live in Italy during her student times. Mat had found his urge to travel already during school when he hitch-hiked around Europe and went to New Zealand, Australia and South-East Asia in his uni gap year.
In 2010, after finishing our studies, we moved to Oslo in Norway, to save up for the big trip and assemble the needed gear. Unable to find jobs within our line of education Anna worked with international children for the German kindergarten in Oslo while Mat freelanced as an industrial climbing specialist. In preparation for our “big journey” we did a number of short hiking trips in Norway, and went for a cycling and packrafting trip to the Canary Islands, where we had the chance to test our equipment.
We started our journey in Turkey in April 2012, cycled through Iran and the Central Asian „stan” countries and reached China. We went all the way south and visited Hong Kong and Macao (where we had the chance to volunteer at a Gary Casparov chess game event), re-entered China and crossed the border with Laos, to later visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand (where Anna’s parents visited us for a two week vacation). In South East Asia we decided to go for an off-trip, and flew from Bangkok to Delhi, to cycle in the Himalayas. We ended up spending 9 months cycling across the sub-continent from its border with Pakistan on the Nort-West, to the border with Myanmar on the East, visiting Nepal, Sikkim and the North-Eastern States on the way. When back in Bangkok, we left our bikes with our friends and went to Laos, to go down the Nam Ou river on our packrafts. We later continued cycling through Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore, where, after 2,5 years on the road our money was almost gone. We were both lucky to find a job there, and spend 9 months working (Anna – teaching German and Mat working for a rope access company). While living in Singapore we went to New Zealand (December 2014), where we spent Christmas with Mat’s family and where we got engaged. In summer 2015 we flew to Europe to get married and to enjoy some time with family and friends. After three months at home we came back to Singapore where our bikes and all our equipment have been waiting for us, took a ferry to Batam, Indonesia, cycled across Java and Bali and flew to Darwin, Australia. We then cycled all the way to Melbourne, across the dry and hot Outback (October, November 2015) partly on unpaved, 4WD tracks, from where we flew to Auckland, New Zealand. We cycled both Islands during the Kiwi summer of 2016, and flew to Sydney, to end up in Melbourne – resting and preparing for further parts of our round-the-world cycling journey.
The “getting nowhere philosophy”
While planning our journey we did not have any fixed destination. We did not even know for how long we would be gone. The most important for us was to be on the way, to constantly change the surroundings and get exposed to whatever was waiting out there. To us the idea of traveling, a need to be on the road came first. Cycling was secondary, merely the most suitable method of transportation for what we needed and hoped to get from the journey. We also knew that we wanted to be gone for a long time; not weeks or months, but years. We did not want to travel to see all those must-see tourist destinations, bucket-list spots. We rather wanted to be nowhere in its most ordinary, yet realistic form.
The most important thing for us is to remain free and independent. We are aware of the fact, that it is impossible to be totally free, and that there will be always something limiting our dreams, but we try to do our best not to get stuck in routines and stiff concepts. We want to travel, but we don’t want to be attached too much to the concept of traveling either – we have no problem “cheating” from time to time by taking a bus or a train. This is not a race, and there is nobody waiting for us at the finish line.
To be in between, to be nowhere is our goal. NowHere is Now and Here.
We cycle because we like it, and if one day we stop enjoying it we’ll simply drop it and find something else to do. We have not decided when we’ll come back, we have a few different options and are open for new ones. Right now we have everything we need: good bikes, a portable home, clothes for almost any weather, a stove to cook our food and filters to clean the water, a solar panel and dynamo hubs to charge our batteries; all this stuff can be carried by one person! The only things limiting us at the moment are visas and strange regulations, but that we can not change. We would like to show to others out there that a journey like this is possible – you need a bit of time to prepare, some funds to get all what you need (or lower your needs) and the world is yours! What is really important is not to spend too much time on planning, dreaming and talking about the journey but actually doing it, starting out and letting the road carry you!