Life is like a box of chocolates for an intrepid West Norfolk man, who has given up everything to embark on a personal voyage of discovery.
Jamie Bowlby-Whiting has just cycled 1,600km from his home in Castle Acre to Slovakia on a limited budget, and is currently building a raft to float down the Danube river to Romania.
The adventure-thirsty 26 year old will then continue on to Mongolia or China, then South Korea and possibly Australia and Africa, in a remarkable journey of survival he has no idea where or when will end.
He said: “I will keep going until I tire of this journey and wish to do something else with my life.
“Have you ever seen Forrest Gump? He runs for no reason other than the fact that he likes running. I’m doing this journey because I love it, but one day I will decide that I’ve had enough, and like him, I will simply stop and decide to do something else.
“The whole point of this journey is to have a good time and show others that you don’t need vast amounts of planning or money to do such a thing.”
Jamie, whose family live in Castle Acre and Sandringham, began his journey on July 17, joined by friends Leah Bostwick, from America, and Daniel Stupavski, from Slovakia, who he met while hitch-hiking through Europe last summer.
They were also joined at the start by Jamie’s younger brother Elliot, but he could only travel as far as Harwich, at the ferry port to Holland.
On bicycles costing £30 each, with handmade panniers and equipment “costing less than a typical night out”, the remaining trio spent a month travelling through Holland, Germany and the Czech Republic to Slovakia.
Salvaging food from supermarket bins to save money, washing in rivers and fountains and sleeping under the stars, they endured punctures, arrest for sleeping outside in Amsterdam, punishing hills and for Jamie, even a broken toe.
He said: “We rode the flats of Holland, climbed mountains in Germany, enjoyed Czech beer, slept under bridges, whizzed through Austria and then arrived in Slovakia to a warm welcome.
“Was it difficult? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Could anyone do this? Of course they can.”
The trio are now building a raft from discarded materials, such as billboards, barrels and old wood, and hope to set off down the Danube to Romania on the second part of their journey soon.
“It may or may not work, but we don’t know until we try (impossible is nothing),” said Jamie.
After the raft journey, Jamie will continue east alone, attempting to cross Central Asia and heading towards Mongolia or China, and later to South Korea, where he lived for a year while teaching English.
He said: “If all this works, I will keep going because I have no reason to stop. Maybe I’ll end up in Australia, although this is just an idea. I really love Africa so I would love to go back there too. Who knows where I’ll go or how long it will take.”
For more information on Jamie’s big adventure visit: www.bigscaryworld.com