I believe anything is possible with a bit of positive mental attitude, good old fashioned pigheadedness, a lot of help from my friends, family, and possibly most importantly, people I meet on along the way.
Charlie and Ewan had a budget of over a million as well as a support crew. What makes me think I can do it on my own with a tiny fraction of their budget? Well I don't have a million or a support crew for starters! The only alternative is to stay at home and spend my money on adventure DVDs and chocolate instead. Nothing has ever come easily to me (mostly because I chose the hard way to do everything! I am a victim of my own actions) and so I am kind of used to roughing it. I guess you could say my trip would be "The skint way round" by comparison.
If I sit and wait for the right amount of money to come along then it just won’t happen. Things will happen on route that I just could not plan for – and this can be in a positive way as well as a negative. If I put barriers up in the first place by imagining the worst case scenarios, then they will inevitably stop me from even starting. For this project I am actually factoring in to my calculations a very heavy dose of kindness from strangers! Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and go with it. This is an adventure after all. It's not
Lots of people have said that I am mad for doing this alone and, of course, bring up the fact that I am a woman and therefore more vulnerable! Is this true? Who knows but it is a fair point and I take my safety seriously. However, based on my life experiences to date (and, trust me, I have been in some pretty extreme situations in my life - both good and bad), I have found that instincts play a big part in keeping me safe. This, as well as having the right approach when dealing with tough or threatening situations and, of course, lots of common sense. All of these are going to be tested to their limits during my time away and the only way to know if I am right is just to go for it! ‘Money where your mouth is’ time! I'm not the first and certainly won’t be the last - although it would be interesting to know how many have done it on such a tight budget!
My mum was telling me last night about a book she is reading called "Free Country" by George Mahood. It's about two guys who decide to ride a pushbike from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Not unusual? It is if you start off wearing nothing but a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts and nothing else. No bike, no money, no clothes and no real plan except to rely on the kindness of strangers. To cut a long story short, people came through for them and they made it! If two guys can do it across Britain then why can't I do it around the world? However, I will - for the record - be starting with a little more than a pair of Welsh Dragon knickers. But you get my point!
Let's forget Antarctica for a moment (as this requires another budget which I currently don't have) and work on the other 6 continents. I have put some rough figures together and made some very big assumptions (mostly that majority of people are kind and helpful all over the world). Here goes: Accommodation - £3,000
Bearing in mind I am going to be on the road for around 456 days this would only be budgeting £6 a day for accommodation. Mad? Possibly. However, if I then add wild camping into the equation: lets say 100 days (no cost) then for arguments sake say 100 days couch/floor/barn surfing, and a stay with various friends around the world - 60 days. That actually only leaves me with 196 days to budget for. That makes £15 a night. Not much still, I know, but it's enough!
Fuel - £2000
There is no way really of getting this any cheaper and so it is what it is. Of course, it helps to do a low speed on a low fuel consumption bike and to do the minimum mileage possible in the countries with high fuel prices (like Turkey).
Food - £1000
OK this is where the rice and beans come in. If I don't assume that I will be fed along the way then I may as well stop typing now as this budget leaves me just £2 a day to live on. Now I believe I could comfortably(ish) live on £5 a day for food, so this means that I need to rely on the support and kindness of others to feed me for half of my time. This is possibly going to be my biggest challenge. One that many millions of people face every day.
Trains/Planes/Boats - £4000
Here goes the biggest part of my budget as, sadly, a free ride is out of the question! Believe me I HAVE tried!
The remaining £3000 is for insurances, phone cards, parts and other essentials.
That really is it! Visa's and Carnets will have been bought in advance. If something goes wrong then I have a credit card to get me home and anyone who comes out to ride with me on route MUST bring chocolate digestives! It's the law!
Please let me have your thoughts, comments and/or suggestions. In the meantime I strive to raise another £6000 to become the first Brit to include Antarctica on my solo journey around the world.