For a year and a half, I have explored the ancient Silk Roads – all over Asia and the Middle East, through 13 fascinating countries. Solo, by bike, as a woman. Now, I have written the first book about the expedition: cycling solo through Iran. I want to publish this book independently - together with professional editors and designers, as a high-quality hardcover. Such that the stories from Iran can inspire many people and give them food for thought. Let's make this happen!
In September 2015, I embarked on an adventure that was going to change my life: a year and a half exploring Asia and the Middle East, inspired by the ancient Silk Roads. Solo, by bike, as a woman. My expedition led me and my bicycle Emily well beyond the beaten paths, into the solitude of breathtakingly beautiful nature and into the homes and hearts of countless local people. Experiences that have shaped me and my perspective of the world forever.
Now, I have written the first book about my bike journey, more precisely: about my experiences in the two months that I spent cycling through Iran. A captivating travel memoir from this diverse country which is oftentimes shown in such a one-dimensional way, told from the perspective of a Western woman.
Why did I pick my time in Iran for the first book? Because the stories of the Iranian people lie particularly close to my heart. Because those memories literally burst out of me when I started writing. And because this passage of my expedition stands out: the only time during which I cycled disguised as a man at times. This allowed me to experience the country from two entirely different perspectives. At the same time, I risked my skin for that, because it is dictated by law that every woman must wear hijab in Iran.
The result is not an objective textbook about Iran, but a very personal travel memoir – emotional, honest and close to the local people. Besides all the great experiences in Iran, the book does not leave out the dark sides either, which are simply part of every journey. And yet, the stories do direct our view back to what connects people, independent of language, background or religion.
In order to turn the manuscript into a hardcover book of high quality, with beautiful photographs in color, I need YOU! Because next in line are the editing process, graphic design and, of course, the printing of the book, all of which need to be financed. I can hardly wait to hold the book in my hands – roughly 200 pages full of inspiring, thoughtful, moving stories of my cycling journey through Iran. Sounds great? Then join the crowdfunding to make this happen!
PS: Just as my previous travel reports, the manuscript is written in English, in order to be able to reach as many people as possible. As soon as the English version is cut and dried - hopefully thanks to this crowdfunding campaign! - I will work at full speed on the German edition. I know, I know… some of you would prefer to have the book in German first. My mother agrees, nodding vehemently :-). But one step at a time!
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
With your contribution, you ensure that the book can be realized and produced professionally – with fair wages for the great people who take care of editing, graphic design, printing & Co. I want the book to reach as many people as possible, to inspire them and give them food for thought. Therefore, I will do my best to make the book available on all typical channels. Yes, hopefully also in your favorite book shop around the corner :-).
Who are you? Maybe you would like to support independent coverage, which focuses on common people instead of headlines. Or you want to read an authentic, personal travelogue about how it feels to cycle through Iran? Maybe even because you plan to travel there yourself? That would make me particularly happy.
I already started reporting from my cycling expedition while being on the road. Who followed my travelogues? Those were (and are) people who are excited about the thought of exploring the beauty of the world by bicycle – slowly, consciously, with time for human connections. Some cycle long distances themselves, others dream of such a bike trip. Still others simply want to join my expedition in their imagination. With my bicycle, it is easy for me to get a connection to local people. Simply because I travel slowly enough for a shepherd to invite me for a cup of tea. And quite honestly: Nobody is afraid of a woman traveling solo. Thus, I always get in contact with people, independently of the language. And every now and again, this allows me a glimpse behind doors that typically remain closed to men.
The philosophy of my cycling expedition? Taking my time, for an invitation by the village elder just as much as for the beauty of the desert around me. Reducing my belongings to the essentials (two T-shirts are entirely sufficient). Leaving all distractions behind me, in order to immerse myself fully in the here and now. This is not everybody’s cup of tea and, surely, nobody needs to live in the same way. But maybe you would like to let my stories inspire you?
Why would you support this project?
If you support this crowdfunding campaign, you contribute considerably to making the book a reality. You'd be supporting a form of independent coverage which does not focus on headlines, but on common people, their dreams and wishes. It is my heartfelt wish to give you multi-layered insights into life in Iran (as far as I am capable), such that everybody can make up their own mind. That being said, the book remains a subjective travelogue, written from my perspective – close, emotional and captivating.
With your support, you make sure that - if we reach the funding goal - you will be among the very first who will have the book in their hands, fresh off the press and before it can be purchased regularly. Isn’t anticipation the greatest pleasure? Beyond that, you can secure unique, limited rewards, such as fine art prints, a talk in your living room and travel coaching.
If you want to, you can be involved in the process of making the book a reality – I will try to make all the steps as transparent as possible. In this way, you will get an idea of how a book comes into being and I will ask you for your opinion about the book cover, title, etc. I am already very much looking forward to the process! Are you in?
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
My cycling expedition lies behind me, most of the English manuscript is finished. Now, the next step is to turn this into a hardcover book of high quality and to make it available to as many interested readers as possible. If the crowdfunding is successful, then you help pave the way for the following concrete steps:
design of the book cover
editing process and proofreading
map of my journey through Iran
print run of the first edition of the book (high-quality hardcover)
ISBN & listing in the directories of the book trade (such that your bookseller can find and order it)
Beyond that, some money is also used to finance your rewards, of course :-).
Who are the people behind the project?
My name is Anne, I am in my mid-thirties and explore the world in a slow, conscious way: Overland. Solo. By bicycle. I share my experiences from the road as an author, photographer and speaker.
My travel bug was awakened at an early age during a school exchange program with Brazil. Since then, I have been fortunate to have had the chance to live in a number of other countries (USA, China, South Korea) thanks to my studies and my work in research (Computer Science and Neuroscience). Since 2008, I have been blogging about my backpacking journeys, which have led me to over 50 countries by now. Never before, however, had I been traveling by bicycle (my longest bike trip before this one lasted an entire day). When I jumped in at the deep end in summer 2015, with my bicycle and tent in Kyrgyzstan, I was so mesmerized that I simply could not stop. The result was a year and a half in the saddle, cycling solo along the ancient Silk Roads. And no, my parents were not thrilled ;-).
Now, I have returned to Berlin, my home of choice for the past 10 years. And I can hardly wait to make the first book about the expedition a reality. In order to make this happen, I need YOU! Thanks so much in advance for your support! I really appreciate the help of each and every one of you. Let's make this happen together!