Africa Bicycle Tour (Unseen Footgage)

Being afraid of myself

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There’s not a lot you can do once you commit to something in this way. It was a long distance bicycle trip in a practical sense, but at no point during the first few weeks of the Africa bicycle tour did I allow myself to think further ahead than the next hill climb, or at best, the next day.

Not thinking ahead might seem like a very wise move on an adventure like this one but the truth is, my mind was so occupied with loneliness at the time, that I was unable to think of anything else.

I was in a very bad place mentally and with no real knowledge of cycling, I did everything wrong on the bike too. I cycled through the hottest part of the day, everyday, and spent most of the time listening to a little voice in my head telling me that I couldn’t go on, that I should turn around.

What stands out the most to me now, is to think back at how much fear was beginning to take hold in the tent at night even though there was no real element of fear that should have existed cycling in South Africa: there were no dangerous animals, no deserts, no bandits, no water shortages and for the most part, there were several campsites along the way in which to feel safe.

To be completely honest, it took many months to understand what had happened over the course of those first few weeks. I was truly petrified thinking about camping near animals in Africa, cycling through deserts or meeting bandits, but I now know what scared me more than anything:

I was most afraid that I would either let myself down by backing out, or worse, that I might somehow persevere and then find myself in the midst of a real challenge.

Cycling in south africa

Africa Bicycle Tour

cycling in south africa

Derek Cullen



Irish Blogger, Derek Cullen

I'm an Outdoor Adventure Blogger from Dublin, Ireland. In late 2013 I began riding a bicycle across Africa and it was during this adventure when I discovered a passion for the great outdoors and the general uncertainty of life on the road. Next April, I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.


  1. Anita H. Engebakken

    January 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    It must have been exhausting having all those thoughts and feeling so lonely on your trip. I hope your mind allowed you to really enjoy it as well!

  2. Vee N Ric

    January 30, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Hello Derek.
    How are you?
    Loved your camping tent, my wife and I have never been camping, perhaps because we have never had the opportunity to do so.

  3. Cornelia

    March 2, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I am afraid to go in souch a trip alone. I can’t find someone to come with me. But i want a lot!

    • Derek Cullen

      March 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Cornelia, Everybody is afraid of the same things, but once you get out there, generally, you realize that most things you were afraid of, won’t happen!

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