Here you can find out in more detail about the journeys that have helped to shape and define my worldview and direction in life. I’ve put them into neat boxes for clarity, but let’s remember that a story only ends where you choose to stop telling it.
The Transcaucasian Expedition (2016)
Between April and October 2016, supported by the Royal Geographical Society with the Land Rover Bursary, I led an international team of adventurers, cartographers and outdoor experts to explore and chart in unprecedented detail the rugged backcountry of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, laying the foundations for the southern leg of The Transcaucasian Trail. Which was pretty cool.
Nowhere Is A Place (2014)
Having learned of an imminent environmental catastrophe unfolding in the southern reaches of the Patagonian steppe, adventurer Leon McCarron mounted a horseback expedition to explore and document the remote and uninhabited Santa Cruz river valley before the construction of two hydroelectric megadams made the journey impossible. I joined him as the expedition’s filmmaker, and together with native Argentinian horseman Jose Argento we journeyed by horse from mouth of the Rio Santa Cruz on the Atlantic Coast to its source at Lago Argentino in the foothills of the Andes.
Free LEJOG (2014)
In retrospect, cycling the length of Britain without any money was one of my more ludicrous ideas for a bicycle journey. But the experience that unfolded when I left my wallet at home and got a one-way ticket to Penzance was by far the most affecting I’d ever had. While I had little to learn from the act of cycle touring itself, it turned out that the intellectual challenges and revelations that came from having to fend for myself without the taken-for-granted luxury of having cash to buy stuff would be nothing short of life-changing.
The River Karun, Source To Sea (2014)
I spent two years learning Persian (Farsi) in preparation for this human-powered adventure along the length of Iran’s longest river, the Karun. Motivated by a desire to explore my wife Tenny’s homeland in more depth, I figured that following a river would be a recipe for the kind of in-depth cultural experience I was looking for. To spice things up, I invited fellow filmmaker and experienced long-distance walker Leon McCarron to come with me, and over the course of six weeks we hiked, packrafted and bicycled from the Karun’s source in the Zagros Mountains to its mouth at the Persian Gulf.
U.S. West Coast By Bicycle (2012)
With three and a half years of adventure cycle touring experience behind me, I needed something new from this fantastically liberating mode of transport. My younger brother Ben had emigrated to British Columbia several years before, and since he’d recently become separated from his long-term girlfriend, we decided to take a rehabilitative ride together from Vancouver down the West Coast of the USA to Los Angeles, following the well-known Pacific Coast Cycle Route. Though we grew up together, we’d hardly seen each other since we both went off to university, so the ride would also be a great opportunity to get to know each other again as adults.
The Arctic Cycle (2011)
Needing to regain some headspace in advance of starting work on my first book, I decided that the obvious course of action would be to cycle to the Arctic Circle in midwinter. Travelling by bus from London to Oslo, I spent a month riding north, passing through the coldest region of Norway, where temperatures dropped below -33°C, crossing frozen lakes, and pedalling onwards into Swedish Lapland, before crossing the Arctic Circle and rejoining the Norwegian coastline at Bodø after a thousand kilometres of riding on solid ice. I also experimented with a form of storytelling I’d never tried before – publishing a ‘live blog’ every night from my tent.
Mountain Biking Outer Mongolia (2010)
Travelling almost 10,000km by boat and train from Yerevan to the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, I rejoined my one-time riding partner Andy for an off-road jaunt across central and northern Mongolia. Setting off on purpose-built expedition mountain bikes with cargo trailers following behind, we had no particular destination in mind; we would simply go where the wind took us, exploring the back country of this already sparsely-inhabited part of the world, and seeing how far our shared passion for mountain biking could be taken in the context of long-distance touring.
Round The World By Bicycle, a.k.a. Janapar (2007-2011)
My first big adventure was originally designed as a round-the-world bicycle journey. But life on the road is more complicated than a line drawn on a globe, as I very quickly learned. Arriving in Armenia after eight months, and having lost both of my original riding partners on the way, my journey took an unexpected turn when I met and fell in love with an Iranian-Armenian girl studying in Yerevan. Jettisoning my previous plans, events conspired to take my through the Middle East and Africa on a new solo journey, before returning to Armenia and eventually finding myself back where I’d begun three and a half years earlier – only this time with my wife riding alongside me.