Valtteri Heinila was working in a startup when he realized he wanted a break.
“I began noticing time actually accelerating,” mentioned Valtteri, 26. The times began to blur, after which so did the months, he mentioned.
He did not accept an everyday vacation. As an alternative, he traveled 15,400 kilometers (9,600 miles) alongside a route from Finland to Singapore — on a bicycle.
Along with his pal Alvari Poikola, Heinila cycled by 21 nations in eight months, he instructed CNBC. The boys selected Singapore as their purpose as a result of it was the farthest level they may cycle to, Heinila mentioned.
The pair biked many of the means however took a number of flights “once we have been unable to cross by bike,” he mentioned. For instance, land borders at Azerbaijan and Myanmar have been closed, he mentioned.
“Russia … is a warzone,” he added. “Afghanistan is underneath Taliban rule, China [was] not issuing vacationer visas.”
Valtteri Heinila (left) and Alvari Poikola on the Imperial Metropolis of Hue in Vietnam.
Biking lengthy distances helped Heinila escape from “society’s noise,” he mentioned. “It helps you get into your individual head [and] find out about your self ten hours a day on the saddle,” he added.
Heinila mentioned he had no expertise with lengthy distance biking earlier than the journey, however he was adventurous and loved the outside, he mentioned. “I appreciated doing issues that brought about me discomfort as a result of I seen these made me really feel alive.”
No coaching, no meal plan
Working with no coaching or meal plan, Heinila mentioned he gained bodily energy within the first leg of his journey. “We realized that Japanese Europe is fairly flat. That [was] our coaching … earlier than we reached the mountains of Georgia and Tajikistan,” he added.
Heinila in Kyrgyzstan, alongside the border with Tajikistan.
Heinila cycled by central Asian nations like Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan earlier than he reached Southeast Asia, the place his route wound by nations similar to Vietnam and Thailand, he mentioned. It was an opportunity to see how “many of the world” lives, he added.
“We’re extraordinarily privileged in Finland. We needed to get a peek into actuality,” Heinila mentioned.
The pair sometimes cooked porridge for breakfast, making banana pancakes on uncommon events, mentioned Heinila. After pedaling for a number of hours, the 2 would cease to prepare dinner lunch within the shade, he added.
“Our finances was $20 per day. We simply went with the naked minimal,” mentioned Heinila. On one event, when the 2 ran out of gasoline to prepare dinner, they snacked on uncooked eggs from a retailer, he added.
Heinila and Poikola on the Mardi Himal peak in Nepal.
Heinila mentioned he stored his give attention to securing fundamental wants like meals, water, bathroom paper and a spot to pitch his tent for the night time.
“You do not have time to consider nonsense just like the previous or the longer term. You are targeted on survival, and I believe that is the most effective feeling ever,” he mentioned.
Challenges on the highway
By the point Heinila had traveled 10,000 kilometers, he had punctured his bicycle tire 37 occasions, in keeping with a submit on his Instagram account. Apart from tires, he mentioned he additionally realized to repair and rebuild different bicycle elements like racks and panniers.
Heinila holding instruments in Romania.
“When you have got a necessity, you simply determine it out,” he mentioned.
Residing on the highway might be “harmful,” similar to when the 2 males ran out of water whereas touring by Tajikistan, mentioned Heinila.
Heinila cycled greater than 20 kilometers to a highway to get water from a passing truck, all whereas combating a days-long bout of diarrhea and dizziness, he mentioned. “Your physique goes into survival mode, and also you simply deal with the challenges,” he mentioned.
Heinila’s tent in Turkey.
Regardless of the challenges, Heinila mentioned he did not really feel like giving up “for one second.” The difficulties have been price it for the “ten years’ price” of recollections that Heinila made in a number of months, he mentioned. Biking by the mountain valleys of Tajikistan and viewing its “exceptional” cultural heritage was essentially the most memorable for him, he added.
Heinila mentioned he was additionally struck by the hospitality of the Tajikistan individuals. “They have been feeding us, caring for us like their very own kids,” he mentioned. “Everyone felt nearly like household as a result of the communities have been so small.”
Arriving in Singapore
The very first thing that Heinila and Poikola did upon reaching Singapore was go to the Finnish ambassador’s residence, the place they’d a small celebration with different Finnish individuals, he mentioned. Later that night time, the boys reminisced about their journey whereas having fun with the view from The Fullerton Lodge Singapore, the place they downed Singapore Slings, he added.
Heinila and Poikola in entrance of Marina Bay in Singapore.
When Heinila first set out on his journey, he was afraid of the implications it will have on his profession path, he mentioned.
“Now it seems like I can get no matter job I would like. I’ve this unbelievable confidence,” he mentioned.
However going again to a desk job after “tasting freedom for thus lengthy” will probably be an adjustment, Heinila added. “It is a wrestle to maintain this sense of freedom, whereas contributing to society in essentially the most significant means I can,” he mentioned.
Heinila has concepts for extra adventures sooner or later, similar to crossing the Baltic Sea on a paddleboard, he mentioned. It is crucial for individuals to embrace discomfort as a substitute of being “locked into planning for the longer term,” he added.
“There’s this complete world on the market.”