In the past I have had the pleasure of doing some quite fun travel abroad, I’ve visited some different places in the past few years and tried to keep doing challenging tasks and seeing how I manage with different settings. Here is a brief description of the trips I have undertaken in the past few years;

  • It all started in February 2008 where I was part of a small team who went up to Aviemore in Scotland to visit the Cairngorms, here we were training for the expedition in the summer and had the task of ensuring that we knew how to use ice axes and crampons. This was my first ever time on snow like this so was quite challenging but very enjoyable.
  • July 15th 2008, the team departed the UK for Seattle airport where our destination would be the Mt. Rainier national park, our task for the time here was to complete the wonderland trail which is a 93 mile trek around the mountain offering spectacular views and scenery. In 2008 there was a late snow season and therefore 90% of the trail was snow covered making navigation difficult and the day to day walking very tough. We were the first group to complete the circuit that year so was a fine achievement to add to the fact we had walked about 100 miles in 7 days. The next part of the trip was to try and summit the mountain which stands at 4,392 metres. The team set off on the journey to the base camp and it was tough going walking on the snow moving above the 3,000 metre mark where the effects of lack of oxygen become apparent. When we arrived at the basecamp I knew that I wouldn’t be going to the summit, I was not confident enough moving on the snow at a quick speed and have always regretted not pushing myself harder to reach the summit, however I am sure I will go back at some point to conquer my demons.
  • August 2008, from the time in the USA, we left the country to visit Canada and in particular the Bowron lakes, here our challenge was to canoe the natural circuit of lakes connected by rivers and small portages  spanning a distance of 116 km. Fortunately the weather was beautiful however this meant that the insects were out in force but the trip was enjoyable and we managed to complete the majority of the distance in four days, finishing on the fifth morning. The area is really quite stunning with mountains surrounding the lakes and moose and bears roaming wild, both which I managed to see.
  • April 2009, after the success of my initial trip away, I had caught the bug and kept thinking about other trips which could be possible in the future. I started to do research into a possible cycling trip around Europe and set about planning a route to Berlin. I had a friend who I knew would be interested in the trip so one time in the pub I let spill and he was excited for the idea so it was definately a goer. The only problem was getting the funding and the time right so that we wouldn’t miss too much of our sixth form classes. However after overcoming these problems we set off in April 2009, and cycled the 900 miles to Berlin in 9 days which was a great achievement.
  • Summer 2009, was a bad time for me, I had surgery on my lower back which meant sitting down or lying down was pretty uncomfortable, this meant that I didn’t plan any trips and was stuck in England for the whole summer.
  • April 2010, although only a day’s ride. I completed the cycle from my university to home within a day which I think was a hard endurance task and the navigation was tough to ensure I stayed off the main roads, I cycled from London to Dorchester which is 125 miles in 11 hours, cycling through Slough, Reading, Basingstoke, Andover, Salisbury and arriving in Dorchester feeling very tired and sore for a few days.
  • June 2010, set off to Edinburgh on the hope that I could cycle the John O’Groats to Land’s End route on a tandem, however after a few days riding and not really going anywhere, we realised that the tandem was not up to the job of coping with the weight we were putting on it with panniers and us. This trip was abandoned but taught valuable lessons about trip planning and training before commencing on a trip.
  • June-July 2010, was part of a peer led expedition as part of the Dorset Expeditionary Society to Corsica to do the GR20 trekking route. This trip was great fun and was extremely hot on the island. The expedition faced a few problems with a member injuring her toe and us having to change our plans to accomodate getting to a doctor and a minor panic about setting off with the wrong type of gas due to errors when purchasing it for the stoves.
  • September-December 2010, left the UK for Nepal where I was doing a university placement/research. I stayed in a village of 100 people for the majority of my time in the country helping out with day to day life and trying to immerse myself into the culture. However I did get the opportunity to go trekking twice. I did the Helambu trek which was a tough 7 day trek with high point reaching 3,500 metres and spectacular views of the Langtang region of mountains. The other trek I managed to do was the Annapurna Base Camp trek which was a 10 day trek with a high point of 4,250 metres. This was a spectacular trek in a beautiful region with great views every day and a real personal experience with the other people who made the trip so special. I made some great friends out in Nepal and will be heading back there in the future.
  • 2011?! Pretty much just doing university work and training hard trying to be ready for the World Cycle Racing – Grand Tour in 2012. Obviously this is a massive commitment and therefore is taking up a lot of my time just to try and make the starting line.
  • 2012 saw me take on the challenge of cycling around the world. I managed to get as far as the outskirts of Kiev before having a crash. This then set me back as I had to fix my bike, I flew to India to catch up on my visa requirements but found myself in another crash at the outskirts of Mumbai. I went on to hitchhike 1600km across India with full kit to the Nepal border where I caught up with friends and looked for a way forward. Unfortunately, a bike frame which was sent to me in Thailand took 2 months to arrive and by this point my money, motivation and drive to complete the challenge had swelled up. It is on my list for the future!
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