In March 2012, I left my home in Gloucestershire, UK, to cycle around the world. I have no idea how long this will take ...

About me

On March 1st 2012, I left my home in Gloucestershire, UK, to cycle around the world. I have no idea how long this will take.

My name is Will Johnston, I’m 23 years old and I like travelling.  I reassured bemused, intrigued but ultimately supportive family and friends that this trip would bring me closer to finding out what I’d like to do with my life. After all, I’d just finished university studying one of the least specific courses known to man. Of course, the trip was going to be fun, that was important too, but a longer-term and more serious cause needed to stand behind it … Carry on Cycling was the first step towards finding a suitably prestigious (and hopefully remunerative) career.

Over a year and a half later, lying on a shady balcony in shorts with a shield of palm trees in the middle-distance, I am infinitely further away from discovering what I want to do long-term. Not because I’ve lost my ambition, as it seems the sand, sea and palm trees manage in many, but because my imagination has expanded to include infinitely more ways forward. Most of these aren’t as prestigious, well-paid or secure as the ones in the forefront of my mind 18 months ago, but they appeal nonetheless.

This trip has burst open as many new opportunities as there are stars in the sky. I have widened my horizon. I spent over 16 years of education being taught to keep my options open, deliberately choosing the broadest range of subjects at school, a non-specific university degree, a non-committal cycling trip, never tying myself down financially or to a relationship, and now at the age where I’m supposed to decide my life’s direction I find myself out of resources to make the choice. I’ve never been taught how to close doors before.

Some have called me an ‘intrepid traveller’, ‘determined’, ‘courageous’, some have even called me an ‘inspiration’. Maybe. Or maybe I’m just running away from a decision I’ve not evolved to make. Whatever your conclusion as you read these pages, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy travelling them.

Likes Dislikes
- Harry Potter audiobooks - Sunburn
- Premier League football - Fixing the bike
- Listening to smug travellers boast about where they’ve been or the length of their travels while all the time knowing my story will kick them mercilessly into touch. - Impatient middle-aged drivers
- Nescafe 3 in 1 coffee sachets - Stretching adequately
- Local pints of beer (unless I’m in Asia, Africa, the Americas or Antarctica) - Stuffing the sleeping bag back into its sack
- Google Maps – Being a map nerd - People who say they’ve ‘done’ countries
You might be interested in the following FAQs:

Why did you choose to travel by bicycle?

Travelling by bicycle allows the rider to see the world pass at a manageable pace. I can stop wherever I like, whenever I like and experience the world closer than from behind reinforced perspex. Linked to that is the fact that bicycle-travel enables the rider to visit small towns and villages completely off the beaten track. I have a preference for quieter, undiscovered places, no matter how historic or beautiful the busier alternative might be. A bicycle allows me to find these places.

There are many other reasons. Check out my ‘8 reasons to travel by bike‘ post.

Why are you travelling alone?

I cycle solo because I crave freedom in travel and another person usually restricts that freedom. I want to be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in an instant, to be able to stop cycling when I feel tired or grumpy, to eat at the street-food stall of my choosing. I am comfortable spending time with myself and privacy is important. I have been known to lock myself in several kindly Iranian’s toilets just to get a few moments peace from their good-natured questioning.

Despite all that, I have cycled with others in the past. Travelling with others is sometimes more enjoyable, cheap and sensible, but I wouldn’t say that’s often the case.

Don’t you miss your family and friends?

Yes I do, although I’ve come to terms with the fact that not seeing them is a necessary sacrifice to take part in this adventure and I think they’ve come to terms with that too. Technology nowadays is wonderful, particularly Gmail and Skype, which means I can talk to them regularly. In fact, I reckon I talk to my family more often nowadays than when I was at university less than 100km from home!