Hitting the road: The Northern Sea Circuit

August 26, 2016

If you didn’t know us very well – if you didn’t know our plans or intentions for this trip, or if you hadn’t heard us explain why we’ve left the comforts of familiar Canada, or what we were hoping to gain by exploring the tenets of restorative agriculture from the subcomfort of a bicycle – you might be thinking that this website is really a blog about assembling bicycles out of boxes and filming it with a timelapse setting.

This, of course, is not what this is all about. But those moments we’ve filmed so far certainly make for some neat-o footage.

No, this trip is about getting out there. And so today we leave Chitose, Sapporo’s earnest-neighbour-with-an-airport, and set out to explore the southwest regions of Hokkaido.

The last 36 hours in Chitose has been a truly fantastic reintroduction to Japan for the two of us. We have been lucky enough to stay with the incomparable Rob Thomson, who has been generous with his knowledge and suggestions while hosting us in his home. If you’re not familiar with Rob, get this: the dude has cycletoured so much that he has been asked to write chapters in books about adventure cycling in Japan. His website (http://www.14degrees.org/) has been one of the most valuable resources for the early planning of this trip. He’s meticulously mapped out incredible routes around Hokkaido with details about where to eat, sleep, or soak in an onsen.

And that’s not even the most interesting thing about him. Yeah. Whoa.

Rob and his wife, incredibly generous New Zealanders who are fluent in Japanese, teach and research at universities here in Hokkaido. Somewhere in between doing incredible doctoral research and hosting cycle tourists from Warm Showers like us, Rob and his wife find the time to travel around within Japan on their cycles. Sometimes on recumbent bikes!

It would be really difficult to overstate how valuable Rob’s hospitality and input on our trip has been for us; I expect that we’ll be putting his knowledge into action long after we leave Japan in a couple of months. We’re indebted to him and hope we can either pay him back or pay it forward somewhere else.

There’s so much to talk about since our arrival (including a jaunt up to Sapporo to, among other things, visit a beer museum. Yeah. A museum about beer) that we could really lose the thread writing about it here, so I’ll end with this: today we’re heading away from the urban embrace of Chitose (and the delights of Rob’s hospitality) and into the first camping stop on our journey: Lake Shikotsu.

To be continued…

Author: Christian

Middle school teacher on hiatus/budding permaculturalist currently cycling the world. Sometimes he acts in plays and film. Mostly he travels and blogs about it. Christian is one of the founders of onlyamazingdays.com


  1. Comment by Julie

    Julie Reply August 26, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    awesome start! Nice Japanese communication skills, Christian. I just said goodbye to 27 Japanese students, 2 North Koreans, 1 Chinese, 1 Taiwanese and 1 Saudi Student. What worked well was, “no goodbyes, only see-you-laters”! Nice filming Bronwyn. Wishing you comfy saddles:)

  2. Comment by Lynne/Mom

    Lynne/Mom Reply August 27, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Awesome! You are on your way! Can’t wait to follow along with you! 😊 Travel safe! Love you guys 💕

  3. Comment by Jenny

    Jenny Reply August 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    It is going to be so much fun to travel with you guys….from the comfort of my own couch😉

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