“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle, Scientific American, 1896
After spending the last three months in Egypt I have returned to the UK and already I have started to get my usual itchy feet. I love being back in the UK and particularly Yorkshire but I have about five weeks off work with very little planned so I feel the need to go on an adventure.
I have always been inspired by another explorer named Alistair Humphreys. He is a fellow Yorkshireman and his four-year cycle journey around the world inspired me to complete my own first cycle tour through Belgium, Luxemburg and to Paris in 2014.
As I write this he is currently completing an adventure inspired by Laurie Lee. Laurie Lee wrote As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) as a memoir of leaving the security of his house in the Cotswolds and heading on a walk with nothing but his violin to fund his journey through Spain. Alistair is attempting to complete the same adventure but is not an accomplished Violinist. Laurie Lee’s story is one of the greatest travel books I have ever read, I would highly recommend it.
I have decided to borrow elements of Alistair and Laurie’s adventures and fund my journey through busking. I can already play the guitar but I have decided it is too large to carry on an adventure. Instead, I have decided to learn the more travel-friendly Ukulele. I have printed out 10 simple songs that I can pretty much play and sing (very poorly) and placed them in a waterproof nirex folder. My bicycle is loaded with a tent and enough supplies to ensure I don’t starve during the first couple of days.
Next is to pick a destination. I have decided to start from my house in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire. Through no logic at all, I decided to pick my destination as Belfast. Far enough to make it adventurous and challenging, but cheap and close enough to make it achievable. The ferry from Liverpool to Belfast is about £30-40. I am happy to fund this from my own pocket otherwise I could be years before I busk enough money to pay for that.
Progress so far
I am currently writing this on my second day of the trip. On my first night, I wild camped on the outskirts of Harrogate, washed in a river and cycled just over 100km.
Even better is the fact I have busked and earn a total of just under £8! I am overjoyed to have made this much money. My aim was to make £2 a day so to make £8 in two days is above and beyond what I expected.
Busking for the first time was nerve-wracking. I am fairly confident in person but singing and performing in public is something that is far out of my comfort zone. My singing is improving but I will never consider it to be “good
My plan tomorrow is to cycle to Liverpool and get the 2200 ferry to Belfast that lands at 0600. Whilst in Northern Ireland my plan is to go to some of the filming locations from the Game of Thrones. In Game of Thrones winter may be here but in the UK now summer is definitely upon us. I even have a terrible sun tan/burn on my face and arms to prove it.