EOCP #14: Henk van Dillen – Cycling 16,000 Kilometers from Rotterdam to Singapore and Adventurous Living

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“Don’t worry about anything…You will solve problems as they occur.” – Henk van Dillen

Cycling the World

Excitement and adventure take many shapes and forms.

Some people fulfill this through something like camping or trying an exotic food. For Henk van Dillen, he fulfills his adventurous side a bit differently.

For example, some of the feats Henk did include:

  • Cycling 16,000 kilometers from Rotterdam, Netherlands to Singapore over the course of a year.
  • Skateboarding through Scotland and India.
  • Cycling for over 30 days in the Russian Arctic Circle during the middle of winter.

Henk van Dillen is a global adventurer and blogger on topics like travel, personal growth, and living a life of adventure without breaking the bank.

He believes anyone can live an adventurous life without much money or the best equipment. He proved just how possible this belief was in 2015 when he set out on a journey to cycle 16,000 kilometers from Rotterdam, Netherlands to Singapore.

Henk cycling route

Rotterdam to Singapore. Photo via henkvandillen.net

For his trip, Henk purchased a secondhand bike for 195 euro. He had no visas, no specific route plan, advanced gear or much money. He packed only the necessary gear to survive and equipment to camp at the end of each day.

Throughout his trip he faced many unique situations and challenges (other than biking thousands of kilometers).

Some of the situations we discuss include:

  • Being taken by a Chinese SWAT team
  • Getting robbed twice in the same country
  • Losing his navigation system
  • Battling diverse cycling conditions through snow, mountains, deserts, and tropics.

During February 2018, Henk set out on another cycling adventure; a 30-day ride in the Russian Arctic Circle from St. Petersburg, Russia to Alta, Norway.

This time, the elements were much more dangerous.

Henk’s plan included cycling 1900 kilometers while dealing with two hours of sunlight a day, temperatures as low as -25 degrees celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit), and extremely snowy/icy roads. Similar to his 2015 trip, he planned to camp out each night.

Our interview took place right before his departure. Check out his blog to see his updated story and adventure.

Thank you for listening and enjoy!

QUESTION OF THE EPISODE: After listening to Henk’s story about losing his Garmin navigation system, have you ever been happy or relieved to lose something material? Have you felt like something material was a burden for you?

Please leave your answer in the comments.


Want to hear from other long-term adventurers?


Show Notes and Links

Connect with Henk – Blog | Flickr | Instagram | Facebook

  • Being taken by a Chinese SWAT team. [5:45]
  • Pushback and issues with government officials. [17:30]
  • Robbed by an Iranian officer. [19:45]
  • Honesty and putting trust in people. Was Henk afraid of people taking advantage of him as a solo bicyclist? [22:15]
  • Having his phone robbed in Iran. [27:25]
  • Coming up with the idea to cycle Rotterdam to Singapore. [37:00]
  • Thoughts from the night before departing Rotterdam. [43:45]
  • Changing plans along the way. [46:20]
  • Major concerns before beginning the journey. [48:50]
  • Why Henk was happy to lose his Garmin navigation system. [51:00]
  • How did Henk continue his blog and videos on the road? [59:20]
  • Cycling solo and dealing with loneliness. [1:04:50]
  • What has Henk learned about himself and other people through his adventures? [1:16:00]
  • Experiences from cycling through Iran. [1:22:10]
  • Henk’s favorite camping spots. [1:34:05]
  • Russian Arctic Circle cycling adventure. [1:36:00]
  • What does Henk look for when planning an adventure? [1:47:45]
  • Setting goals and being conscious of your habits. [1:53:10]
  • Methods for dealing with shyness. [2:02:55]
  • Henk’s Russian Arctic Circle blog posts. [2:10:20]



The post EOCP #14: Henk van Dillen – Cycling 16,000 Kilometers from Rotterdam to Singapore and Adventurous Living appeared first on Edge of Comfort.

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