Journey Reports

Vietnam   May 17th 2017, Saigon, Vietnam
Try the impossible

At the destination


"One must try the impossible to achieve the possible." (Hermann Hesse)

I still remember the article a few years ago, which happened to fall into my hands. A man was depicted -for me the image of an adventurer at that time- with his bike in front of a natural backdrop from a distant country. My dream of cycling the world came again, stronger than all the years before. I can not say exactly when this crazy dream has set in my head, but since that time a few years ago it had come back to life and was constantly throbbing in my backside like a growing, benign tumor ;-)

 i20160410-07Now, a couple of years later, I am sitting somewhere at the South China Sea, dreaming of what I did with Ernest last year. The moment we saw the South China Sea for the first time, I trembled all over, and indescribable things were happening in me. I did not know what it means to be on the road for several weeks, several months, and what there are for wonderful regions, people and cultures on our beautiful planet, about which I never heard before.

 i20160428-03There have often been moments on this trip, in which I wanted to be with my homeland, my home or my girlfriend: when I lay alone in the tent and the weather outside was using my tent as a game ball or someone could discover our camp at any time. Often, then, the exhaustion and a view of a delicious espresso the next morning served as a sleep aid. The awakening the next day was a unique awakening every time, as one awoke from a different dream, but could re-enter directly into the next one.

 i20160509-07Every day was full of impressions, adrenaline rushes and surprises, and no day was the same, refraining from pedaling ;-)

I am glad I found and used the courage and the right time for the best year of my life.

Ernest and Papa

Many people we met have asked whether Ernest and I would ever argue or have problems with each other. There is only one answer:

Lake OhridIf one has the happiness in his life, to find a man who is the only one with whom one can start and run such a crazy and daring adventure, then one is truly blessed. Who knows why I gave this tall Catalan a place next to me four and a half years ago at the first meeting of the new nursing students. Luck of the draw decided that we got into the same group, and the coincidence wanted that he had a free room in his king-size apartment and that he offered it "temporarily".

 i20160713-13Was it all lucky or did the bicycle god or Don Bosco already had their fingers in the game? It is at least that I could not have imagined any other person who would go through such a great adventure with me. I remember how he replied to me when I asked him, without any obligation and sipping a beer, whether he would like to ride with me half around the world, by bike. His answer came as if from the gun: "Sure, I'm there!"

 i20160718-12His open, incredibly cordial way of dealing with his fellow men has always impressed me deeply. Everybody whether completely drunk on the streets of Cologne at carnival or being an Iranian fruit seller, every person was welcome and also felt welcome, as soon as a few words with Ernest were changed.

Second pass madeWhether I had a low on my journey, or was sick, or simply had no motivation to continue with the broken legs against the wind and the weather, then he was there. The consistently positive attitude to everything and his physical as well as spiritual stability and strength has brought us here to the shores of the South China Sea.  i20161008-05I have deepest faith in him, and it is simply indescribable that it never got boring with him, even though we have seen and smelled 24 hours / 7 days a week :-). The friendship that binds us is more precious than any material good that I could possess or acquire. I thank you, Irni, that I could experience all this with you! You are and remain an incredibly great man and friend.

 i20161008-06I would also like to thank you, dear Dad, with all my heart, because you were not only my supporter and father on this trip, but also the third team member. This incredibly great website, which you created six months before the trip in endless hours, and your daily work during the tour on the website has allowed us to pass our message to so many people. DancingWithout your organization in the background in terms of finances, reports, visas, flights, political situations, etc., we would probably have been thrown down ;-). We could be free in our heads. The bureaucratic and organizational vulnerabilities, which simply exist on a world tour, you took them from us and thus kept our backs clear. We were able to enjoy the adventure to the fullest and could safely leave the worries behind.

About me

"In such a trip, isn’t it also about exploring and discovering your own personality, the better-learning of one's own self? “, many friends asked me. Yes, even if you do not intend to do so, it happens by itself.

HostsI've learnt to know a bit more about me on this trip. My physical and mental limits have moved further upwards. By means of the daily physical exertion one takes notice of one’s body quite differently, nurtures it better and takes more care of it. During the first weeks I eat incredibly much and nevertheless decreased enormously.  i20170111-14My energy demand sank from month to month, until I reached my top shape after about 3 months. Also, I felt safer on the road, in contact with strangers and in tricky situations. Body and mind melted into a functioning unity, and so there was nothing to stop the performance increase, nor the harmony between Ernest and me.

 i20170111-16During my life I often swallowed anger or aggravation and did not let it go. Iran with its bureaucratic embassies in Tehran and the Indian transport were the best therapists to eradicate this problem. Suddenly I could explode and yell after the bus drivers in India with their suicidal drive and thus leave my anger. Believe me: this did incredibly well! Sometimes I even got caught as I smiled after a hitch with pride that I had regained my temper.

 i20170111-23When I come home now and I see one or the other of you, then don’t worry, if you hear me swearing: this is different than before, absolutely correct and always doing well ;-)


With this tour, we wanted to show our friends, families and strangers that most people on our beautiful planet are not assassins, kidnappers, robbers or beatings. A lot of people have warned us of the many dangers that are waiting for us. They almost always talked about the population of a certain country or members of a particular religion. RukumkotFor us, the greatest dangers were the traffic on the partly very dangerous roads, and a terrible illness. Of course, it can also be fortunate that we have never been attacked and that nothing bad has ever been done to us on this journey.

On top of the passEven though I am convinced that Ernest and I had many protective angels and, of course, also good luck, I am ever more convinced of the good in man. When I think of the thousands of helping poor people who have given us a roof over their heads, warm bread or hot tea on cold, rainy stages, deep gratitude and a great enrichment comes up because I learnt to know these people.

 i20170310-22At this point, I would like to briefly recount a little story we have experienced on our journey through Turkey. We were guest with a small Turkish family, with whom we had a break for a day, as they wanted to show us the environment. The grandmother of the family washed all our clothes and fed us until we burst. When we went to bed in the evening, she came to our room, pulled the blanket gently up until under our throat, and gave us a kiss on our forehead.  i20170310-24She did not know our language, let alone English, and we did not know her language. The love that this kind-hearted, old woman gave us was a balm for our all alone adventurer’s soul. These days there was no difference between Turks, Catalans and Germans, not between Christians and Muslims, not between Turkish and European culture. There were only people who did well to each other and took care of each other.

 i20170403-15These and many, many other experiences have left me deeply impressed and optimistic in times when confidence in the foreign is zero and prejudices become bigger rather than smaller.

 i20170423-07I am grateful and inwardly extremely satisfied for what I was able to experience. A functioning economic system has enabled me to run through an education and thus to learn a profession. This profession and hard work ultimately helped me to realize my dream. We have told thousands of school children in many Don Bosco schools on our trip that it is important to live and struggle for one’s dreams.

14,000 kmA large part of the population of our planet has few opportunities to realize personal dreams. That is why we are both incredibly grateful to have gotten this chance in life.

Many thanks to all of you who have accompanied us on our way from Cologne to Vietnam in thought and action! I thank you, Irni, Valerie, my family and friends for all you have done for me, so that I could fulfill my dream.

That was a beginning of something. Nothing is impossible!

Cheers,Yours Jakob

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

At the destination^ At the destination ^

Comments to this report:

Kirsten writes:

May 17th 2017, 15:35

Lieber Jakob, lieber Ernest,
ich freue mich so für euch und bin sehr berührt von Deinen Worten!
Was für ein Abenteuer und wieviel schöne Begegegnungen!
Es ist so, wie du schreibst "Man muss das Unmögliche versuchen"

Auf ein Wiedersehen in Bonn Herzlichst Kirsten

P. Bernhard Seggewiss SDB writes:

May 19th 2017, 16:49

Euer Projekt, Jokob und Ernst, sagt mehr als tausende Worte aus! Politiker und viele andere Menschen könnten davon ableiten, dass eine friedliche Welt möglich wäre, grenzenlos! Unermesslich scheint mir der Gewinn, den ihr erradelt habt. Mögen doch viele, die das lesen und erzählen, auf andere Gedanken kommen und Ideen entwickeln. Echte Friedensbotschafter seid ihr. Kein Vortrag und keine Predigt können das bewirken! Nächstes Jaht heißt der Katholikentag in Münster: Gib Frieden! Das habt Ihr gelebt! Könntet Ihr Euch vorstellen, zum Pfingstfestvival nach Calhorn zu kommen, um über 1000 jungen Menschen und auch älteren Menschen von Euren Erlebnissen zu erzählen? Es kommen vorwiegend Messdiener und Messdienerinnen aus dem Offizialat Oldenburg und dem Bistum Osnabrück. Das Motto heißt: Gottes Geist - Dein Wegbegleiter. Das war er Euch ganz sicher. Würdet ihr mich auch anrufen: 01709080921. Der Ort ist Calhorn, Haus Don Bosco, 49632 Essen (Olbg.) Dort betreiben wir Salesianer Don Boscos eine Jugendbildungsstätte und sind in der Pfarrseelsorge. Ich bin Direktor der Mitbrüder und Pfarrer der Kirchengemeinde St. Bartholomäus. Frohe Grüße P. Seggewiss

Burkhard Rühl writes:

May 19th 2017, 22:20

Liebe Jungs, zum Schluss ein paar Worte,
die mir einfielen, als ich den Beitrag meines Vorgängers las.

Ich bin als evangelischer Christ aufgewachsen.
Vor 50 Jahren bin ich aus der Kirche ausgetreten,
und im Laufe der nachfolgenden Jahrzehnte auch aus der Religion.
Ich möchte alles Trennende hinter mir lassen.
Dazu gehören für mich vor allem: Nationalbewusstsein und Religion.
Ich habe im Laufe meines jetzt 73 jährigen Lebens und im Verlaufe meiner vielen Radreisen gelernt, das das wichtig ist für den Frieden mit anderen und mit mir selbst.
Langsam fühle ich mich Mensch werden.
Verbinden mit den anderen Menschen tut mich ein Blick in ihre weinenden, lachenden oder zweifelnden Augen, ihre Neugier, ihr sprechender Mund und mein verstehendes Ohr und auch mein fragender und oft kritischer Mund, der langsam lernt, nicht mehr zu verletzen und doch zu sagen, was das Herz bewegt.

Es wäre schön, wenn dieses Portal noch weiterbestehen würde oder aber ihr ein neues einrichtet, auf dem ich verfolgen kann, wie euer weiterer Weg aussieht.
Mit lieben Grüßen

Alexander Bunje writes:

May 26th 2017, 14:18

Lieber Jakob,
deine worte haben mich sehr berührt! Unglaublich und unvorstellbar was ihr zwei da realisiert habt! Ich bin glüklich das ihr heile zu hause angekommen seid und freue mich auf ein baldiges treffen mit spannenden geschichten!
Love and Peace,

Jakob writes:

May 26th 2017, 16:07

Vielen lieben Dank euch allen für eure schönen Worte und Gedanken!
Langsam kommen Ernest und ich an, auch wenn wir jetzt wieder in einer ganz anderen Welt sind:)
Eine Heimat, Familie und Freunde zu haben ist etwas ganz besonderes.
Werde mich bald wieder auf Rad schwingen und ein paar Runden um Köln drehen und dieses wunderbare Wetter genießen!

Bis bald,

Euer Jakob

martin heilscher writes:

May 29th 2017, 11:03

Liebe Freunde,
Eure Worte und Taten berühren mich täglich.
die Mauern in unseren Köpfen, die teilweise absichtlich errichtet werden, um uns Menschen zu trennen, sind Irrsinn!!!
Ihr habt das bewiesen. Das Glück netten Menschen zu begegnen beginnt damit es zuzulassen. Ihr seid einen großen Schritt weiter gegangen. Ihr habt die fremden Menschen und Gegebenheiten gesucht. Damit habt ihr ein wahres Zeichen gesetzt. Ein Zeichen der Menschlichkeit.
Wie froh ich bin euch begegnet zu sein und freue mich wahnsinnig für euch.
Hoffentlich bis bald. Spätestens zur Filmpremiere :-)

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