Cycling from France to Australia, Julie Elsenberger l’aventurière

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Cycling from France to Australia, Julie Elsenberger l’aventurière

At the moment I’m in the Australian desert, living and working in a small hotel located by the beautiful Glen Helen Gorge in the West MacDonnel Ranges. Although living here is a very unique experience, the fact of being so far away from any town (closest one is 135km away) sometimes makes it very hard. That’s why I think everybody that comes here to become part of this big family must be a little bit crazy… Julie Elsenberger is one of these crazy persons I’ve met in the last few months, a Swiss girl that appeared here one day with her bike, a tent and a didgeridoo. She came from France to Australia cycling, hitchhiking and sleeping in some of the most peculiar places you can imagine. In this interview she is going to tell us her amazing story.

Julie Elsen before starting the trip

  • How was your first experience traveling alone?

I started traveling when I was 18 years old. I had just 3 weeks of holidays before my last year of studies. I decided to hitchhike alone from Berlin through Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, and the last one… France! I didn’t know how easy was going to be, and I did it! I was proud of myself. For the first time in my life, locals hosts me, and it was a great experience.

I went fishing with a fisherman in Croatia, I crossed Slovakia with a truck… I tried to cross the border from Poland to Slovakia walking (but I failed haha too much snow!)

Then, I met people cycling and I decided to try.

  • How many km have you done with your bike?

I don’t know exactly, but not enough!

Julie Elsen Italy

  • Which has been the most scary/difficult situation you’ve seen yourself in your trip?

When a car hitted me in Albania, when some men followed me in Iran or in many more places, fighting the cold in Asia, taking a train for 48 hours with Chinese people, when I got traped in the border in Uzbekistan, when I was stolen my passport in Laos, when I got traped because of the snow in a moutain in Tajikistan, or just trying to find every day a safe place to stay…

Every day it’s a new story 🙂

  • And the one you love the most to remember?

I’ve too many 🙂 Central Asia and the people! So many stories there.

Staying the night with families from many different countries is something special.


  • What would you say to all that people who say that you need to be rich to travel that much?

The meaning of being rich is very subjective. What is the wealth? It’s depend on what you need and how you travel. Travelling on a bicycle is the best way to save money and the best one to being in contact with the local people. For me, meeting new people and finding new beautiful places is enough for being rich inside.

  • And to the ones who say that the way you travel is dangerous?

If you don’t take risks, you don’t live. You need to get good information, hear yourself and just trust yourself and the people! If you are optimist, good people will come to you. It’s the law of attraction.

  • What life experiences have you learnt during this time?

I’ve learnt about myself and about people. After a trip like this, your mind becomes stronger. When it’s snowing, with minus 10 degrees and you need to go up a hill for a few hours, your mind needs to be stronger than your body. And about men… It’s harder for a girl travelling on her own. It’s important to know how to go away from a hard situation. I’ll share on my blog some difficult moments. But they are nothing compared to the good ones.

Julie Elsen - Australia

  • What advice would you give to people who are now considering doing a trip like yours?

Just go! Stay positive, learn and enjoy 🙂 It’s important you take that desicion on your own. And take care of yourself. If you don’t know anything about bicycles, people will be always there to help you. I knew nothing before I left, I didn’t know how to change a wheel or a brake… And I’m so far away today 🙂 You learn a lot on the road. Live the present moment not the future. I also recommend the website warmshowers, which is a community of free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists.

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I don’t know where I’m gonna be in a week, so in 10 years… But why not, I see myself in a small wood house that I’ll have built close to a river, I’ll be playing music around a fire and watching the stars, and who knows, maybe I’ll have a nice boyfriend. Sounds good, isn’t it?

You can see Julie’s itinerary in the picture below.

Itinerary cycling

It was very nice to meet you Julie, I hope we meet again soon on the road and eat some chicken pies together 😉

You can follow her on her blog happiness-sample where she share videos and stories and in her Facebook page

Ana Marco