From Hobart to Helsinki

From Hobart to Helsinki

Is he mad? Twenty-four-year-old gay man Nick McIntosh is pedalling his trusty bike from Hobart to Helsinki. With only a few belongings packed in panniers, the New Zealand-born lad who now calls Hobart home is making the journey alone and unaided.

Why Helsinki? I was thinking of going there to do a guiding course. I’ve been working as a bushwalking guide for the last five or six years. Trouble was it was like a university course and I didn’t want to go back to university, he freely confesses. Then when I came up with the idea of a long cycle tour, the two ideas just melded together. It was the longest biking trip I could think of.

This is not a charity run. Nick is doing it for his own project: he’s going to interview gay men all along the route and publish both his travel journal and his subject’s stories on the internet as he goes.

So far the trip has been relatively easy going, except for lack of company.

I like going by bike, but being by yourself is actually quite isolating. I last about five days before I go slightly nuts. Then I have a day off, stop at a hostel, have a conversation with someone.

I’ve got a boy in every port, he quips. It’s actually a global dating program.

Relying entirely on cyber-caf?to upload his entries as he goes, Nick estimates it will take some 15 months to reach his destination. So what does he expect to get out of it personally?

When I started out I had no idea how much of the challenge of this kind of travelling would be mental. I knew I could physically do it, but the hardest thing is the mental thing. Especially when you spend so much time by yourself and realising how far it is to Helsinki.

So what is Nick going to do when he gets to Helsinki?

Get a job. I’m going to be broke, he chuckles.

You can follow Nick’s odyssey at

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