I’m Tom, originally from England, now based in the South Caucasus.
When asked what I do for a living, I usually go with “self-unemployed creative explorer”. This doesn’t really explain anything, but it’s a good starting point for a longer chat.
What’s the story?
It began with a bike ride.
I was all set for a conventional life – aged 23, with a good degree and the prospect of a decent career. Then I stumbled across a world I didn’t know existed – the world of location-independent living, travelling, working, and otherwise making myself useful.
With the humble bicycle as my mode of transport, I pedalled away from middle England, away from the meaninglessness of it all. I boarded a ferry to Europe and kept pedalling, destination Istanbul, each day more memorable than weeks or months back home
Soon I’d left Europe behind and was striking out across Asia. I couldn’t have imagined a world so exotic and unfamiliar and exciting. I rode through the Middle East and fell in love. I rode to Africa and found the birthplace of humanity. I rode across Mongolia and got lost in space and time. I rode to the Arctic and got really, really, really cold.
Soon enough, and in time-honoured fashion, I felt compelled to stop moving and work out what it all meant. I made a film from the footage I’d shot. I wrote a novel-length book and published it. I turned my travel blog into an online guide for others wanting to make their own personal, meaningful journeys by bicycle.
These creative projects became the counterbalance to the journeys, and the process was as fulfilling as the travelling had ever been.
So I repeated the pattern.
I put the bike aside and walked, kayaked, hitch-hiked, rode horses, biked some more. I wrote more books and made more films. I gave talks and Q&As.
One day, I accidentally embarked upon a massive trail exploration mission in the Caucasus. The result is the Transcaucasian Trail.
I don’t know what’ll come next – and that’s OK.