Preparing for the departure

My last days at home are about to end. I've used them to close one chapter and prepare to open the next one

Posted by Mael K. - 16 April 2023

The new adventure is only a few days away ! The route is now quited refined (at least the first months), my bags are packed and my starting train tickets are booked.

Today is the tunrning point in my life. The last two weeks were all about quitting and moving away. The next two weeks will be about making new habits, getting a routine and settling in my new odyssey.

The end of a chapter

Preparing a trip like this is a not an easy task. This is the first time, I'm planning such a huge trip, and by far. My life is drastically changing, I have to change most of my habits, make sure I can access everything with my phone, stop subscriptions I don't need, quit any engagement I have. All of this, while making sure I can retrieve my old life after the trip.

Landing on my feet

Making sure I can land on my feet afterwards


First thing to cancel is my job. I quit my comfortable job with a 3 month notice. I'm lucky enough to work in a field (cybersecurity engineering) that :

  1. pays good salaries : I have stocked enough spare money to not worry much about how I will end this trip, financially speaking.
  2. has plenty of job offers : I'm not worry about finding a new one in 6 month.

For my departure, my colleagues offered me a cycling vest with my name and my logo on it. Unfortunately, they underestimated my size so I won't be able to wear it. But thank you for the gesture. It was actually a really good idea.

Image description

It doesn't look undersized but I can't lift my arms on this picture and I'm restraining my belly to fit in

I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical year but turned it down. I prefer to be free from any engagement. I may be back in 3 month, 6, 8, 12, never, ... who knows ? And i will probably have different ideas about the job I want after this experience.

I'm now voluntarily jobless since last week !


Since I have no job left, I cannot pay a monthly rent for a flat I won't use. So I'm leaving my place too. This was a comfy place I lived in for 3 years. I really liked my home so I'm sad to leave it but that's for the best (i.e. a tiny tent and a sleeping bag).

Moving boxes

Part of the boxes my parents kindly helped me move

As I'm writing these lines, I'm sitting in my empty apartment waiting for my landowner to inspect the place. I've spent the last 2 days cleaning it. It's weird to see the place empty after 3 years of service, no lights, no heating, all echoing.

Last night in the apartment

Last night in my flat. I'm already training to camp !

Along with the flat, I canceled all my subscriptions (electricity, Internet, etc.) and relocated all my official addresses to my parents'. And I moved all my stuff to their garage (bed, sofa, clothes, plates, ...).

All of this is happening this week. This is difficult to align everything and make sure I don't forget to declare the changes. But so far, it's working.

Internet data plan

This is 2023.
I'm young (not a millenial though).
I've social networks to supply.
Internet access is mandatory. I will use it nearly every day to find a sleeping site, a restaurant, my route, to give news, to plan visits and activities.

I could juggle with public Wi-Fi but this is too random. Hopefully, for quite some years now, European data plans includes free Internet access in all of Europe. So I decided to go for such a plan.

While comparing the offers, I discovered the caveats of living on the road : most operators have a time limitation to avoid abuse from other countries (i.e. if more than 50% of the time is spent abroad over the last 4 months, the communications are to be payed). Actually, in France, I found only 2 operators that did not apply this clause.

I went for a plan that offers me 15 Go/month of Internet. This should be sufficient and work in most countries I plan to visit. The only exception being Serbia where I will stick to public Wi-Fi and offline maps.

I know if I'm in need, I can always buy a prepaid local SIM card. For 10€, I should have 1 month worth of data.

Medical check-up,

Living in the wild, means riskier life. Let's be honest, Europe is not extremely dangerous compared to other regions but tick and stray dog bites are still something that can ruin my trip.

For the past months, I made sure my health was good and my body prepared for the coming wave of "unusual solicitations". I took necessary vaccines, reorder new glasses, checked my teethes.

I also compared insurances and subscribed one in case of an accident. I made sure I can access all my papers from abroad including photocopies of my ID, passport, contracts, ...

A fragile bone

1 year ago, I broke my ankle while riding my bike. I'm back on the bike, more than ever, but very cautious.

Thanking my parents

I know I'm lucky to have my parents helping me on this one. They are always available. They helped me move out, store my stuff, plan everything.

They are extremely supportive. Even though, I'm full of doubt, they reassure me and give me tips. They have done similar trips in the past few years so they speak from experience. I may not always agree with them on which item to bring (Yes ! 10L trash bags are sufficient for the start !) or which route to take (No ! I don't want to do the exact same thing you did back then !) but I listen and learn from them.

They are obviously an inspiration for my adventure and gave me lots of ideas : what to visit, what to avoid, how to manage such a trip, when to start. Yet, this trip is mine, and I want to make my own decision, my own mistakes and my own discoveries.

Thank you. I love you !

A new chapter begins

Everything behind me is now closed or stopped. I have nothing holding me back. It's time to look forward, towards the future, towards my future. It's adventure time !

Train tickets

I have finally booked my train to go to Lyon (this is my starting point). I have waited the last week to do so because I needed to be sure it matched with my parent's agenda.

I will take a train from Quimper to Nantes and then Nantes to Nevers on Tuesday. The next day I have a train from Nevers to Lyon which will bring me about noon at my starting point.

Taking the train with a bike in France is easy ... if you accept slow trains and changing often. The TER network (regional trains) is free of charge for the bikes but some lines are discontinued, some have only 2 trains per day, some lines are OK but very crowded (e.g. along the Loire). For faster routes, there is always the TGV network (high speed trains) but they mostly go to and from Paris, bike is 15€ when there is a space for it, stairs at the entrance of the trains makes it difficult.

So, that's why I have to take 3 trains and 36h of travel to get across France.

Route planning

As stated above, my starting point is Lyon. I'll meet with some friends there and do my first week with them along the Rhône.

Since I arrive on Wednesday and my friends on Saturday, I will hang around Lyon for 2 days. Probably along one of the two rivers of Lyon. Then on Saturday, we go south towards Avignon. My friends will accompany me for the first week. That's all the route I'm sure of. After that it's free wheeling.

That's not entirely true, I still have a rough route planned out. I have spent the last week mapping out points of interest and probable routes. And I now have a good idea of the places I'm gonna visit. At least for the first half of the trip.

Routes planned on bikemap

I'm not entirely sure about some mountain parts of the trip that will be difficult. I might take a train or two. But, in essence, I have a GPS route I can follow. My plan is not to follow it strictly but more to deviate from it and rejoining it later if I want to see something off the road.

In my phone I have all the Eurovelo GPS routes and all my planned GPS routes. At any time I can find a cycling road close by.

For more about the route, take a look at The tour page. I have updated the map there and I will start updating Polarstep on Tuesday.