Jacob Laukaitis's 8,000km ride around the Balkans changed his life. Here's what he wishes he'd known before setting off
I was born and raised in Eastern Europe, but have never been to any of the Balkan states. So this summer I bought a motorbike, got my driver's licence, shaved my head and left for one of the most adventures in my entire life – motorbiking 8,000 kilometres across 15 countries and 19 borders. It took me 4 weeks.
It was an experience that changed my life and I encourage you to do the same. Having said that, here are 5 things I wish I’d known before I set off.
Contrary to the general belief it’s possible to get around with Russian, it isn’t. Since English is also not too widely spoken in most countries, you get to use a lot of body language.
I’ve had tons of situations where people would go ten extra miles for me without expecting anything in return - helping me fix my bike, giving me warm clothes, inviting me for food or tea.
If you drive alone, you’ll start feeling lonely after about 3 weeks. It’s obviously different for everyone, but I started feeling lonely after the initial 3 weeks. Mostly due to the fact I was changing my location almost every single day and would spend anywhere from 6 to 15 hours on a motorbike, thus I couldn’t make many friends on the road.
Evenings in the mountains are super cold and rain is unexpected. I remember driving in Transalpina, Romania, during the night and it was one of the cruelest moments of the trip. A few kilometres away from my hotel it also started raining big-time and continued for the whole night and half of the next day.
It’s hard to explore the Balkans in just a month. Even though I’ve seen tons of beautiful places, towns and cities, it was by far not enough to explore all the wonderful things the Balkans can offer. If I did a similar trip and had the time, I would probably do a similar distance in about 3 months and spend more time exploring the places I liked as opposed to changing my location every day.
Check out this amazing video about Jacob's adventure: