I spent 4 years cycling 46,000 miles (73,000 km) through 60 countries and 5 continents on a budget of £7000 ($10,000). I'd love to help you make your own adventure happen. Since that trip I now write books and give presentations about adventures. I've written books for adults and for kids about cycling round the world.

My Proof: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/proof-for-reddit/

Comments: 92 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

hardlyrealistic9 karma

How did it feel when you finally finished? What were some of the emotions and first thoughts that went through your head when you completed the last several kilometres of the journey.

alastairhumphreys24 karma

I was thrilled, excited, and relieved it was all over. Being 'normal' again, anonymous, not moving on, knowing where the shops were all felt great. It was also a massive anticlimax! 4 years of building for something and then all you do is get off your bike, have a shower, fall asleep, and wake up the next morning thinking "now what do I do?!"

auriemmn3 karma

Was there a specific moment in your life that created the motivation to do this, if so what was it, or did you think about this for years before doing it?

alastairhumphreys6 karma

I daydreamed for a few years and read loads of books. They eventually gave me the confidence to believe that I (a normal guy) could do this.

7Rivers3 karma

Do you feel pressure to keep going with your job? How would you walk away from it? Would you announce it? What would you do otherwise? Big fan!

alastairhumphreys2 karma

Yes. Don't know. Probably not. Absolutely no idea!!

(I love what I do, but I do feel a pressure to come up with new stuff, and that's when the passion can start to become a job.)


I've wanted to do something similar for quite some time, but I think I'd start with a few smaller tours first to get the hang of it.

A few questions:

  • How do you deal with the charging of electronics?

  • How much do you spend/day on necessities like food?

  • How do you carry your gear?

  • When you run out of money, can you just get a job in some random country for a month and continue afterwards?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

Hi, Starting with a small weekend trip is a perfect plan. Your q's:

  1. I only had a camera. It used rechargable AA batteries which I charged every week or two when I reached a town.
  2. Totally depends on the country. But you could ride anywhere in the world for £5 a day
  3. Ortlieb panniers
  4. Absolutely!


Yea, I'm from Belgium and I thought to go ride south to Spain for a month or two.

If you only carried a camera, how did you manage to keep all your pics/films? Internet cafes or constantly buying new SD cards?

Did you just put all your stuff in the ortlieb panniers or did you also consantly bike with a hikers backpack or something similar? The panniers seem so small to put all your stuff into.

Do you know some online resources to get me started?

Thanks for answering!

alastairhumphreys2 karma

I'd recommend a bunch of SD cards and backing up on a hard drive. My pannier set up: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alastairhumphreys/albums/72157602195353503 Resources: www.tomsbiketrip.com - the Adventure Cycling Handbook - The On Your Bike Thorn Tree section at lonelyplanet.com


Thanks a ton! Do you try use someone's computer when you're in a town to transfer your pics?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

I used internet cafes.

bokic3 karma

Respect :) How many punctures did you have? What was the longest distance you traveled before you noticed you are not on right track? What was best and worst thing that you didnt expect to happen? What is your next goal in life you are dreaming about?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

Thanks! The best unexpected thing was how safe and welcome I felt nearly everywhere I went (the Middle East was wonderful). The worst unexpected thing was the loneliness - I struggled with that. My next goal is more creative - to make a great film and write a great book.

Stalkeralho3 karma

During the trip, how to you organize your mind knowing you are going to write a book about the experience? Are you always aware and on the lookout for interesting stuff to say, or you just live the moment and think about it at night and during resting times? And, where was the best place to camp at night?

alastairhumphreys4 karma

I just wrote a diary every day. I would have done the same even if I didn't want to write a book. The diary was my 'friend' so I just poured stuff out and chatted away about anything that came into my head.

alastairhumphreys7 karma

At night I just camped wherever I was at sunset, hiding from sight behind some trees or something like that. It's easy once you get the hang of it.

KyyL2 karma

My friends and I are planning to do a backpacking trip around Canada. I know this isn't cycling but is there any tips any little things you can give me to get this trek going? Thank you!

alastairhumphreys4 karma

Put a date in the diary, and buy your plane tickets. Then you are committed. That's the really hard and important part. Good luck!

KyyL3 karma

As I already live in Canada, we have always wanted to explore our own backyard. But we are having trouble funding money and things for hospitality and things of those sorts. How did you do it all on $10,000!?

alastairhumphreys5 karma

Go by bicycle! It's cheaper! Also look up Couch Surfing - that will save lots of cash.

anti_anti2 karma

Hey man,congrats on your huge trip!felow biker here,can you extend more on bike usage and what parts would be more of a problem? Im thinking in doing something like you did,starting in Argentina and going up to Canada. What parts of the bike should i have in mind more than others? Thanx for this,and hope you are doing great

alastairhumphreys2 karma

Get a strong, simple non-complicated bike. That's all you need. Spend good money on strong wheels, good racks and panniers. They are the key aspects.

bigben9292 karma

How did you deal with the whole "ocean" thing. Scuba gear?

alastairhumphreys8 karma

I sailed the Atlantic, crossed the Pacific on a cargo ship, and took a few ferries at other places.

bigben929-18 karma

(It was a joke, bruh)

alastairhumphreys13 karma

It's a good question! (Most people take flights, but I thought it would be more exciting to do it without leaving the surface of the planet.)

gnujack2 karma

I get why you didn't cycle Antarctica, but which other continent did you skip and why?

alastairhumphreys8 karma

I skipped Australia as I ran out of energy after 4 years!

delusional_panda2 karma

How do you manage your dinner on a long trip like this? Do you have some spare room in your panniers so that you can stock up on food when you come across a store? Do you carry some emergency food with you?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

I carried enough food to get to the next store. That might be just one day. But sometimes it was two weeks. So you need enough spare packing space (plus bungees to bungee extra stuff on top of your packs!).

givememyhatback2 karma

Can you describe the top 3 times you feared for your life/safety, the situation, which country you were in, and how the matter resolved?

alastairhumphreys6 karma

Before I began the trip I thought it would be very dangerous. The reality is that most people in the world are good and kind. There were a few scary incidents, but miniscule compared to all the kindness I received. The main danger was traffic on some roads. Honestly it was not a fearful journey.

deacon23232 karma

What books/films/etc did you find most useful as you prepared to undertake this?

alastairhumphreys4 karma

www.tomsbiketrip.com the Adventure Cycling Handbook The On Your Bike Thorn Tree section at lonelyplanet.com

deacon23232 karma

Thanks! It is so valuable to be reminded that adventures are possible for "normal" folk.

alastairhumphreys3 karma

Especially cycling - cheap, simple, you could start tomorrow from your front door....

ThinkinFlicka2 karma

I have been interested in some form of road trip that would take me through Central and South American, but have been warned that going through Mexico and Central American have become increasingly dangerous. How did you move through these areas safely? This question can apply to any area of the world, really.

alastairhumphreys1 karma

Only listen to advice from people who have actually travelled trhough the area. That's my main, genuine advice. I loved those regions and felt fine.

rjhermans852 karma

Did you take into account different seasons and climate zones when planning your route? So you don't end up in winter season or monsoon season. I guess it can be quite a challenge to be at the right place at the right time given that you travel quite slow on a bike.

alastairhumphreys1 karma

Yes - that is one of the tricky jigsaw pieces of planning for sure.

BobbyLee_Swagger2 karma

What steed did you take around the world, or did you change rides based on the terrain location?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

I used a £400 steel Rockhopper.

bananinhao1 karma

Where was the most dangerous place that you were in, but not in expectation of danger but actually where did you actually felt like you could be in danger, and why?

Also, have you been to brazilian beaches? I live in the coast of São Paulo.

alastairhumphreys1 karma

I loved Brazil (though I did feel I had to be very careful in the backstreets of Rio!)

dorkside731 karma

What was your calorie intack and what would you eat?

alastairhumphreys4 karma

I just ate the cheapest food everywhere I went. Fruit, vegetables, bread, jam, pasta...

getlaidanddie1 karma

Have you been to Uzbekistan?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

I loved Samarkand!

silkenstein1 karma

Taking the decision to leave everything familiar (except yourself) behind and travel for 4 years on a bike is a really fascinating, big decision to take. With respect to your personal life and privacy, can you say something about the things that were happening in your life that led to make the journey, and where you're at with those things now?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

I was lucky in that I went when I was young and free! No spouse, house, dog, career or pension plans made things much simpler!

Philitian1 karma

I want to do something similar in Europe this summer. What do you think the best routes are?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

The river Danube route, a lap of Iceland, the Adriatic coast down from Slovenia...

darrensharperholdmah1 karma


alastairhumphreys1 karma

I afforded it by living cheap and saving up for 5 years. That works out at saving £4 a day.

eldfuthark1 karma

Have you heard of the Out of Eden Walk? This just reminds me of it a little. Did you do a lot of training for biking beforehand or just as you went?

alastairhumphreys0 karma

Yes - that's a great project. I did zero training - you get fit on the way.

StickManMax1 karma

Do you cycle to work?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

ha! No! I walk.

MuswellHillbilly921 karma

What books do you recommend that inspired you to do such a thing? I traveled through South America for 8 months recently, but am now interested in bicycle travel and would like to do it again via bicycle. Buses and hitchhiking is ok, but i'd like to travel and get to know these lands and cultures more thoroughly.

alastairhumphreys1 karma

www.tomsbiketrip.com the Adventure Cycling Handbook The On Your Bike Thorn Tree section at lonelyplanet.com

Jolal1 karma

I know you said you're not monitoring anymore, but hope you would answer one more if you check in later.

1 - Where was your starting location 2 - What parts of Canada did you travel through 3 - Did you have any trouble or get weird looks when crossing borders?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

My route is here: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/adventures/roundtheworldbybike/ I had 4 years of getting weird looks (!) but very little trouble.

liamquane1 karma

Have you found any danger or injury on your journey?

alastairhumphreys2 karma

No injury - cycling is very low impact. Little danger - I felt very safe in the world.

JimmyBaloo1 karma

Hey Al I love your books your a great inspiration! I loved the Empty Quarter. I'm currently on a tour to Morocco but I'm trying a different form of travel and I am volunteering in Madrid. I've decided I want to cycle to Australia and I've also decided I want to try and write a book and blog similar to Tomsbiketrip. However now that everyones cycling the world on unicycles, pennyfarthings and ultra mega feather like gear I imagine it would be very difficult to stand out from the crowd. A bicycle with four panniers is so last decade. As it's your job how do you find the inspiration for your projects and how to be successful sharing these projects with the public?

Also how did you meet Leon who you walked the empty quarter with? And I assume you've met Tom from toms bike trip.

Note I'm not sure if you're aware but there has been a lot of round the world bicycle posts on Reddit I think your getting a bit of a lukewarm welcome :(

alastairhumphreys2 karma

Hi Jimmy, Sounds like you have some cool plans! Don't think about 'standing out from the crowd' - think about the coolest trip that excites the hell out of you. That's the key to doing a brilliant trip and making an enthusiastic blog. If you do stuff just to build a brand or stand out you look like a fake or a dick! So just do cool stuff. To build an audience you just need to create really good content that is relevant for your little niche of the internet. Repeat that several times a week for a decade and you'll be the next overnight success! Look at Tom's blog - there's 100s of useful articles on there. I met Leon as he was a friend of Rob Lilwall who I cycled through Siberia with. Yes - I know Tom. Nice guy. And here is an event for you - http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/cycle-touring-festival/

matttjonez1 karma

Did you stop at all stop signs you encountered and did you follow the applicable traffic laws regarding bicycles in the other countries?

How did other countries' motorists handle you on the roads?

Which countries' motorists are most considerate for bicyclists? Which are least considerate?

alastairhumphreys1 karma

No! It depended - often quite dangerous! Depends if the country is familiar with cyclists. I think Japan was very considerate (in every way)

[deleted]-1 karma


alastairhumphreys2 karma


Toad32-23 karma

No one cares if you rode around the world. How does this effect your life goals?

alastairhumphreys16 karma

I didn't do the ride because other people cared / did not care.

I did it because it was one of my life goals to do a big journey, and also to write a book. The two worked well together.