~ Milica Puric ~
Snezana Radojicic in Cambodia
“My story is the portrait of a woman from the Balkan (south of Europe) who didn’t want to live a conventional life. This is the tale about a girl who wanted to do what makes her happy and who dared to do that in her 40s, after a solid career in business. This is a chronicle about a woman who cut everything and went on the journey without anyone’s support and with a man she barely knew. This is the story about the possibility of changing your life, returning to your dreams and their realizations… Without false modesty, I can say that I pushed the boundaries.”
Despite our conviction that Hong Kong is the metropolis of skyscrapers, this beautiful nature is also its integral part
That is how Snezana Radojicic, a professor of World and Yugoslav literature from Belgrade, Serbia, and a woman who has ridden a bicycle around the world since 2011, talks about herself. Her story is indeed incredible. So far, she has visited 40 countries on her bicycle and crossed more than 30,000 miles, although her journey started with trouble. She said that during her first year everything that could go wrong went wrong and at one point, she found herself without money and without a boyfriend, who was her bicycle partner. But things got better, and today she writes about her bike trips on her Facebook profile, where more than 14,000 people follow every step on her trip. Each post she writes always gets hundreds of comments — people give her support, encourage her, root for her, cheer her up and ask questions about everything and anything. Also a few thousand people follow her and read about her cycling adventures on her blog .
With local kids in Flores, Indonesia
When I last interviewed Radojicic, she was visiting Nepal. That was when she began writing her book, which she has since published.
Snezana Radojicic: We talked somewhere between 2013-14. In that time I was writing my first book about traveling, my travel novel “Wheel Me Around the World”. My next book, “Nomad,” which was released in 2016, continues the story where I stood in the first book and follows my “rolling” through Turkey. I published the book “Crossing the Himalayas and Gobi.” These are two travel stories about crossing the Himalayan ridge Thorung La pass at 5,416 meters above sea level, and then rolling through the Gobi Desert, which I did in October 2013 and April 2014. My journey lasts continuously since 2011, but I cannot cover everything with writing. I just finished a 3½ month tour through Japan, from the northernmost point on the island of Hokkaido and to the southernmost island of Kyushu. From there I took a ferry to Okinawa, and now I am on the small island Zamami. Here I’m resting a little more than a month, and I’m trying to write a travel book about Japan. However, it will take much more time for this than I thought. I came here because I still didn’t want to leave Japan and Okinawa is located in the subtropical climate, which is extremely important for me, since I can’t afford such a pricey hotel accommodation in this expensive country.
With Komodo dragon at Komodo island in Indonesia
Urban Culture Tribe: How do you get ready for the trip around the world? What do you need to do in order to be completely equipped? How do you finance your trips?
Snezana Radojicic: There are no preparations for the trip because I live on the road, and this is my way of living for the last five years. I rent my small apartment in Belgrade and sell my books — that’s how I finance my journey. I used to write for one portal abroad and they paid me for that. In February I will start to teach English in one Chinese school in order to earn money for further trips. Since I don’t have sponsors, I have to figure something out.
The narrow streets, motorcycles, shops… Typical street in Vietnam
Urban Culture Tribe: How did you get the idea to travel the world on a bicycle?
Snezana Radojicic: One night I was wondering about my life’s dream, what it was and where it was lost. I graduated from the University of Literature, and at that moment I worked as a insirance manager! I remembered that I was dreaming of being a writer and living out of all systems! So, the idea of traveling the world on the bicycle came by itself, because I felt free only in nature. I have no family, my parents are not alive, and my friends did not believe me when I told them I am going to see the world on the bicycle. I began my journey with my then boyfriend, an American, who I met through a bicycle portal looking for a tour company. We broke up in Turkey in early 2012, and since then I have been riding. On several occasions, I rode with riding companions. Many people, especially in the villages, offer me accommodation, food, help, they let me in their lives and give me their emotions. That is priceless!
Malaysia – bike, tent, equipment… She has everything that she needs…
Urban Culture Tribe: What’s the most difficult thing on your trip? Do you feel safe?
Snezana Radojicic: Generally nothing is difficult for me, because I really love what I do. Sometimes I miss a real shower, although I always have an improvised one; sometimes I miss real books because I am a passionate reader. I am using a mini-reader, but it will never be the same for me as paper books. As far as security is concerned, my experience is that the world is an incomparably safer place than we usually think. Of course, I’m very careful.
Empty and amazing at the same time – Desert Gobi in Mongolia
Urban Culture Tribe: How do you organize your journey? Do you make a general plan about what countries and destinations you are going to see?
Snezana Radojicic: Yes, but very often I deviate from it. In over 80 percent of cases, I sleep in a tent where I find a nice place, and always, even in hostels, I cook at a camp burner. In cities, I use lists for free accommodation (Couchsurfing, Warmshowers) or staying in the cheapest hostels. And sometimes people who follow my journey on my blog invite me to be their guest in the cities I visit.
Another breathtaking scene – Cappadocia, Turkey
Urban Culture Tribe: You got a lot of support and encouragement from your Facebook friends. What do people think about your way of living?
Snezana Radojicic: A lot of things have changed since the time I started. At that moment, that was an incomprehensible idea for most of the people. There was a lot of pity, people were betting that I would not succeed, and I had just a little bit of support. And very often there was a skepticism behind that weak support. Meanwhile, I went through 40 countries, passed more than 30,000 miles, survived the fact that I became single along the way and without any source of income. My story has outgrown the framework of the personal venture, and I am very happy that many people found an inspiration for some of their important decisions, which changed their lives for the better.
The attraction for kids – Shrine of monkeys in Nepal
Urban Culture Tribe: Recently you posted a video on Facebook from a very small tent. With a huge smile on your face, you talked about the rain that was pouring for the third day and about low temperatures outside. Those circumstances would break most people and they would probably give up, but you looked very happy. What differentiate you from others? How do you overcome hard circumstances like coldness, rain, life without electricity?
Snezana Radojicic: When you wander around the world and live as a nomad, you become one with nature and climate changes. Simply, you know you can’t do anything except to protect yourself as much as possible and wait (for bad circumstances) to pass. Because everything passes at the end. There is no benefit of being upset and there is no place for fear because you can’t do this and be afraid of storms and monsoons. I always start with the assumption, what is the worst thing that can happen to me? Wind can rip my tent, I can be wet from the rain, something can destroy my equipment, and then I say to myself: It is OK, everything is fixable. Therefore, it is much better to observe any situation from the fun perspective. Of course, that is not always the case, sometimes I get mad because of bad luck, but that quickly disappears — nature just teaches you to accept things as they happen.
Abandoned temple in Sukhotai, Tayland
Urban Culture Tribe: You’ve been in China, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Russia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Turkey, Greece, Italy … and now you’re in Japan. Where will you travel next?
Snezana Radojicic: As I already said I will teach English in China in order to earn money and continue my trip. I hope I will write a travel story about Japan, and I plan to write a novel about young Serbian immigration in China. All in all, I’ve been in that country for seven months on three occasions, and I got to know the country from a traveler’s perspective. Now we’ll see how it will be from the perspective of someone who lives and works here.
Dangerous and surprisingly friendly tigers in ‘Tiger Temple’ in Thailand
Urban Culture Tribe: Do you plan to see the entire world on a bicycle?
Snezana Radojicic: My journey is specific because I don’t have strict goals, in terms of miles, number of countries, routes. I go where I want to go and where I can regarding visas and finance, and then stay for a long time traveling the country and getting to know it. Therefore, I do not know if I’ll have time to go visit entire world since I am now 50! But I hope I will be able to see a bigger slice of the planet.
A typical scene from Bangkok, Thailand
Urban Culture Tribe: At the end, can you tell us have you ever regretted your decision to travel the world on the bicycle?
And finally – a little break during Snezana’s trip in Cambodia
Snezana Radojicic: No! Not for a moment I thought, “What have I got myself into,” not when my boyfriend left me, or when I was without money. There have been horribly difficult moments, but I have never thought about giving up. There is no easy way to achieve your dreams and only the most persistent people make their dreams come true. I feel proud when people tell me that I inspire them with my energy and help them to be persistent and tenacious.
You can follow Snezana Radojicic on Facebook, and you can also find her personal blog where she writes about her cycling adventures at her webiste and her blog . Also, you can buy her books on Amazon.
~ Milica Puric ~