"Don't study, it makes you stupid."
In a small town on the outskirts of Tokyo, this was one of few things that I used to hear in my parents' ultra-open liberal household, which came from my father, who himself strongly believed that knowledge and wisdom would save the world.
Without fully understanding why people spend so much time on learning for school, I decided to go to Germany at the age of 15.
Germany is a beautiful country, although my daily life started to become tasteless to me over the years. So in August 2011, I went to Lyon (France) for an exchange year, for which I moved out by bicycle. With all the stuff I needed it took 6 days and a lot of energy.
And from September 2012 to July 2013, I cycled from France to Japan, discovering a lot of things over Europe/Middle East/Asia. You can learn a bit more on this website.
After this gap year, I did my Ph.D in theoretical physics at INSA de Lyon in France, which finished recently, leading me to a whole new life here in Düsseldorf, with a lot of hope and expectations :)
Spirit of hiking
I started organizing hikes at the beginning of last year (February 2017) when I arrived in Düsseldorf. My original idea was quite simple: I would anyway go hiking. So why not going there with other people who might be interested as well? So, I am actually not "organizing" hikes. I'm just going my way. In this sense, there's no reason for anyone to be thankful for what I do.
But I guess this is the reason why there are quite some people coming with me. In particular, it's been successful, because we don't know what we are actually expecting on the way, since I am the one who has no idea where we are going.
And from here a couple of things that might be important to know:
- Whether it rains or not, I do NOT cancel the event. So whenever you want to participate, please check the weather beforehand yourselves to decide whether to come or not.
- I usually organise the hikes on Couch surfing (and other platforms), but you don't have to sign up for the event. Still it might be important to let me know in advance if you want to participate, because I send my phone number to all the participants and I create a WhatsApp group on the previous day. I usually do it around noon so it's better to write me personally if you sign up shortly before the event. Whenever you have questions, feel free to use the WhatsApp group. Otherwise it's likely that you don't get a reply from me, because often I am overwhelmed with all the messages that I get on the day of the hike.
- Whether you sign up or not, you can decide not to come in the end and you don't need to apologise for that (it's actually better that people don't write an extra message because anyway I get so many messages shortly before the event).
- Usually I don't know where to have a break, but often in the middle of nowhere. So it would be helpful if you could bring your own picnic blanket or something similar.
- If you are not familiar with the railway system in Germany: it is EXTREMELY unreliable. Better check it out several times before you take the train. If you can have some buffer space, it will certainly be helpful.
- If the hike takes place inside the VRR region, most probably you can travel for free, because students and those who have a Ticket 2000 (which is a monthly ticket) can take another person for free on weekends, regardless of what kind of Ticket 2000 or semester ticket they have. If not, we can buy an NRW ticket which is 30 € for one person or 44 € for 5 people for the entire day. And actually I'm the one who doesn't have a ticket. You are very welcome to join us if you are a student or have a Ticket 2000.
- I usually also send the trail in Google-maps format and in kml/gpx format. I highly recommend the kml/gpx format, which is essentially what is used on OpenStreetMap, because it's for free and off-line. I personally use maps.me. Since everyone has a different tempo, feel free to go in your pace.
- Every now and then people get lost on the way. You might think it's their own responsibility, but I might not think so and personally try to make sure that they can come back to the group. Feel free to go ahead without me in this case.
- I'm trying to organize a hike every week (usually on Sunday). It's going well so far, but I would love to see people who want to co-organize the event, just to make sure that it takes place even if I cannot come in the end (because I might be ill or so). There's really nothing to do so feel free to contact me!
- If you are participating for the first time, you might get the impression that everyone knows each other. That's not really true, as every time there is quite a large number of new people joining and there aren't many who participate every time, i.e. even those who have been there often don't know each other.
About this site
This site was dedicated to my bicycle trip from Lyon (France) to Japan in 2012-2013. Now it's mainly used for hiking events and blog posts about these events.
Photos videos etc. taken from other sources are not directly remarked in text but by clicking on them you can access the original pages.
By clicking on the photo you can see the larger version.
I try to put the same content for each language, but the most updated is English.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.