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Tristan Bogaard Tristan Bogaard
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Tristan Bogaard.
Photo: Peter Monstad
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From one Bergen to another, he’s been cycling through Europe for 14 months

Almost 50K people are following his updates on Instagram. After 12 000 kilometres cycling through most of Europe, the 23 year-old has finally arrived in Norway.

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“So my name is Tristan Bogaard, Dutch born, 23 years old and currently concluding a tour that has happily consumed the last 14 months of my life.”

Last spring, Bogaard left his hometown Bergen (in the Netherlands) on a bicycle. He set out on a trip that would take him through most of Europe, finally ending up in Bergen – that is, the one in Norway.

All the while, he’s shared his journey on Instagram and YouTube. Finally in Norway, he has now taken over Visit Norway’s Instagram account for the week. And he is posting stunning pictures, such as this:

We asked Bogaard to tell us his story. And as it turns out, it starts with a different trip altogether. Back in 2014, he cycled from New York to Los Angeles.

“That journey was extremely brief,” he says – although it did last for two months.

“Upon arriving back home I realised I’d missed so much and was so unprepared that I decided to give myself a second chance, and start another journey.”

This time, he wanted to be closer to home, on his own continent. And to have a lot more time.

“It took a few months of meandering over routes and ideas but eventually I just cut the cord and started cycling – because, you can keep on thinking, but doing it actually makes it happen.”

“Now, 14 months later, I can certainly say that the choice I made back then – leaving for the world on a bicycle – is one I’ll never regret, for it has made me who I am today. I’ve been able to see and experience every country in an honest way, through meeting locals, tasting regional foods and discovering non-touristic gems, making it worth the fair amount of climbs and headwinds. In the end, it’s been one heck of a trip.”

To learn more about it, read on.

Why cycling, specifically?

“First of all, the fact that you go faster than walking, but slower than a car or motorcycle, allows you to see everything at just the right speed, in comfort and with gratitude. You appreciate the descent after a climb; you feel the breeze in your face and are humbled by the elements. Also, your appearance to ‘strangers’ is much more friendly and less threatening than stepping out of a tourist bus or car; people value your courage to put yourself out there on two wheels, pushed by your own legs. And that’s just a few things that make cycling great!”

What importance does your photos and video hold for you, and the process of sharing the experience online?

“Over the course of the journey, the importance has risen a lot; in the first months it was merely a way for me to collect moments of my journey (I was taking LOADS of photos everywhere), but day by day that changed, as it became more serious while I exercised and practiced that which I started to love. Making videos has been great – to not only be able to look back at any part of the journey, but also to share it in the moment. Capturing photos has always been about creating something beautiful that inspires me to share it with an interested audience, to show the way I see the world. Instagram has, for me, by far been the best platform to share these photos on, and has introduced me to a universe of possibilities to explore and people to meet. Seeing that I even met my girlfriend (@belletoscan) through Instagram (we happened to have a mutual Instagram-friend), I’d say the overall importance has become pretty big.”

What's been some of the best experiences of the trip? And the biggest challenges?

“Uf, good question. Many things have happened and I’m starting to have trouble remembering them all, but there are a few experiences that are very close to me. Mostly, they have to do with the people I’ve met and stayed with. There’s something about meeting a complete stranger and discovering your similarities, then becoming friends and actually staying in contact – or finding a place so beautiful you’d wish to stay forever, that makes those into pretty good experiences. On the side of most challenging, I could say the wintertime in southern Germany, the many climbs of northern Spain or some encounters with unpleasant people, but I think nothing was a bigger challenge than cycling the crazy amount of tunnels in Norway. Your country is full of them and most are only built for cars!”

How's Norway treating you?

“Following on the topic of challenges, Norway’s been a beautiful one. In many ways it’s my favourite country I’ve been to so far, for behind every corner there’s something new and impressive to discover. The nature is intense, the waterfalls amazing, the fjords huge and imposing and the climbs have always paid off with pretty views. Its people are polite and great at English and the roads have been wonderful to ride on. It’s treating me pretty well, I’d say :)”

Any tips to share for other adventurers?

“The tips I’d give are: don’t do what you don’t like doing, don’t consume what you don’t need and don’t be scared for the open, undecided road (except when there’s tunnels, then check www.cycletourer.co.uk/maps/tunnelmaplrge.shtml). Embrace human connection, stay humble to yourself and the ones you meet but most of all, never loose your curiosity!”

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