Compiled: Tracy Knox | Photos & Video: De Bruyn Joubert
De Bruyn Joubert, a young South African cyclist from Bloemfontein, started his journey around the world on a bicycle on 30 August 2013. He has travelled across two continents so far, Australia and then Europe, covering a distance of 11,000 km, and is currently making his way across the Middle East.
Photo credit: De Bruyn Joubert
DO IT NOW caught up with De Bruyn to find out how difficult and challenging the trip has been so far and what's next.
Q: What made you decide to take on this incredible adventure?
Well, about 10 years ago I wrote something down on my bucket list, 'Cycle through Africa', and since then it has just been a crazy dream that I did not really know how I would make it a reality with all the things going on in my life.
The beginning of last year was the first time since I was 15 years old that I did not have any huge commitments and I decided to backpack 7,000 km through Southeast Asia. On that trip I realised that now was the time to do my cycle adventure! From there the whole adventure expanded until I came to my plan to cycle across all the continents.
Q: How long do you think it will take to complete your round the world trip?
I did a lot of planning before the adventure and according to my calculations it will take five years. So I will arrive in Cape Town in 2018.
Q: Are you doing this all on your own, unsupported?
I started the adventure with a friend, but he went back to South Africa during the European leg. So, for the last four months I was on my own. The big challenge about this adventure is to complete all the continents unsupported
Q: Best and worst part of your trip so far?
The best is very, very hard as everything keeps changing and each country has different things to offer and experience. If I have to pinpoint some, I will say the Nullarbor (in Australia) and Greenways Cycle (Prague to Vienna).
The worst part of my adventure was when I had a breakdown in Croatia and had to wait for almost a month to get my new frame, so I could cycle the final 1,100 km of Europe. It was an extremely frustrating time.
Q: How have you managed your nutrition/hydration, to keep up your strength?
As I have done a few endurance races in South Africa and always done some kind of sport, I know my body very well. Most of the time I know exactly what it needs to get me through each day. I eat as much as I can (I eat more than I have ever eaten) and drink between 5 litres and 13 litres of water per day. Most of my food and water I carry with me on the bicycle and fill up whenever I get the chance.
Photo credit: De Bruyn Joubert
Q: How do people react when they hear about what you are doing and that you are from SA?
Most people say I’m crazy and they love what I’m doing. I love to speak to all of these people, trade stories and persuade them to do some small adventure on their own. I have already talked a few people into doing some travelling or small adventure… and this is what I love about what I’m doing.
As a South African, I think I have an edge above any other country in the world. People love to ask questions about our country and I always try to show some pictures, talk about the history, what’s going on now and what a great country it is to visit. Many travellers I met are already planning to visit South Africa in the near future.
Q: When did you leave for the Middle East and what route are you taking?
I left Istanbul for the Middle East on 8 June 2014. The route keeps changing on the road, but my current route is through Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and I will finish in Russia.
Q: Where to after Asia?
From Asia I will head towards North America and start in northern Alaska, at Anchorage.
Q: Any tips for cyclists that would like to go overseas to tour by bike?
I have done a lot of travelling in my life and doing it on a bicycle is by far the best way of travelling. You see more and experience things you would not normally do. If you are thinking of doing a cycling trip, make a decision, set a date, start planning, and just do it! If you love travelling, being in the nature and don’t worry about taking a bath once a week, I can promise you’ll love it!
Q: What motto do you live by?
NEVER QUIT! It is extremely important to do what you love, but you will always encounter huge challenges. At that moment I take a deep breath, sometimes sit down to relax, and then get up and tackle whatever the problem or challenge is.
It's these moments when you learn the most and become a stronger person. It does not matter what problem is standing right in front of you because there is ALWAYS a way out, you just need to find it! •
Follow De Bruyn's incredible adventure by visiting his Facebook page www.facebook.com/around7continents or on Twitter @debruynjoubert