The Cyclist and his route

  the route

(click to enlarge)


Munich, 11th April 2012

Gerd Mueller, born 1967, lives and works in Munich. Originally from Eppingen in the German region of Kraichgau (North Baden), he left home when he was 19 to study and work in business administration. Living in the German cities of Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Frankfurt am Main, he finally moved to Munich. He has been a great fan of the city ever since and especially appreciates the vibrant atmosphere and the proximity to the German Alps. Everything was perfect – Gerd successfully pursued a career in financial accounting, and work quickly became the centre of his life. He enjoyed his job, but in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, the pressure became more and more severe. A radical change was looming. From November 2007 to January 2008, he realized a dream and travelled to Australia and New Zealand.

What happened upon your return to Germany after your Australian trip?
Upon my return, I could feel an emerging desire to go on a really big trip. I have been an avid cyclist for many years, also because of my background as a triathlon trainer. I did quite a few smaller and larger tours, but upon my return to Germany, I was ready for the ultimate cycling trip. From Munich to New Zealand – four years, 19 countries and one ocean!

Why cycling?
Basically because you are not too fast when you cycle and because it’s easy to get in touch with the locals. For me this makes it the perfect means of transportation. What I like about it is the physical and, even more, the mental challenge. Cycling to the other end of the world!

What happens to your life as it is now?
This trip will completely transform my life. My “old” life will be a thing of the past, and I will reset my personal and professional goals. I leave everything behind. After 20 years in finance and accounting, it is about time to start something new. I often used to say “Love it, leave it or change it”, but I never actually lived this philosophy. Until now!

Do you think you’ll miss anything?
My family and the people close to me. But that’s all. I will surely not miss my job or my apartment. Money isn’t everything. I do not want to sell my lifetime for money and later regret the opportunities that I missed. Now is the best time to get started. I will finally be free.

Are you afraid of the things to come?
I am not afraid, but I have a lot of respect for the unknown. For example when it comes to foreign cultures. How will people react to a tourist on a pushbike? Also, I often think about the risk of getting mugged. If I’d follow the travel alerts of the Department of State, I shouldn’t even enter countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. But despite all this, I put a lot of trust into us humans! For me, the most important thing is to stay healthy, and I can control that myself to a large extent.

Will this trip change you?

Yes, definitely, but I have no idea how. I’ll see many things differently, that’s for sure.

How do you finance this venture?
I have always lived a comfortable life but never wasted money, so I was able to save a little bit over time. So basically I am financing this trip myself. There are no sponsors or the like.

Will there be a highlight during your trip?
Yes, Myanmar is a very important section of the trip. Just entering this country is an adventure, plus there’s a lot of turmoil going on to change the political system. I want to provide detailed reports from Myanmar because it is not a very well-known region. Plus I want to create awareness for the Humedica project in Myanmar. At the moment, they are building an orphanage.

You dedicate this trip to the aid organization Humedica. What’s the story behind this?
For me it is important not to just head off but to also do something good. A while ago I visited the aid organization Humedica in the town of Kaufbeuren. I was so thrilled by their work that I decided to continue supporting them. I hope that I can create a lot of awareness for their crucial work.

Will you ever return to Germany? And what are the plans then?
Yes, I will return. It is a trip, so by definition, it will be completed at some point in time. I will write a travel diary while underway and post it on Facebook and BlogSpot. So my occupation so to say is the one of a “cycling travel journalist”. Maybe I’ll write a book later on or give talks to tell people about my experiences and to make ends meet. My financial resources are not infinite, but that’s still a long time down the track anyway.