40,000km around the world...by bike.
That's right. The world. The whole globe. By bicycle. Welcome to The Lifecycle. A creative expediton from London to London, on two wheels. A photographic & literary adventure project, a universal story about the need for change, creativity & happiness. It's a journey I am halfway into, cycling completely unsupported on the road & so far self-funded. Now, in Hong Kong, I am in need of a little help to complete the project & reach the finish line. (checkout FAQ for the adventure here)
I'm Rob. A photographer & designer from a small village in Gloucestershire, England. Two years ago, on a wet autumn morning, I rode away from my brother's flat in London, into a headwind, a rainstorm, on my commuter bike (turned world touring vehicle) with a tent, camera & really everything I then owned all strapped across the back wheel. I left behind friends, family & everything I had ever worked towards & cycled off, alone, into the storm, with a handful of money I'd saved & the dream of an epic creative adventure in my mind.
I wanted to be on the road with my camera in hand. Simply creating. Sharing my journey & captures back to those around the world who needed inspiration & felt trapped, like I had once been.
I was riding away from five years in the London film industry, away from a life of depression, a world without creativity or possibility & struggling to fight a battle against obsessive compulsive disorder. Out of necessity, a sheer survival instinct, I invented a project that could turn everything around. I was determined not to let every last trace of passion, creativity or childhood spirit I'd once had get totally removed from my soul by the pressures of city life or let my disorder overcome me.
On that first day exactly two years ago, though the road ahead was unknown, it felt full of possibility & prospect. I had everything I ever needed - the world & the tools to capture it. The aim was to document a journey around the world, the changing landscapes & cultures along the route, visually, lyrically. The lifecycle, hence the name, is a world photography & literary project that has turned my life around, bought me closer to the incredible lives of others in remote parts of the world, inspired the lives of people like you reading this now & also helped to save lives through charity donations, of which, 15000kms in, £3000 has been raised for water aid & mental health. It's an adventure that needs to be completed & one which I now have big plans for. But I am stuck & in need of your help...
NOW & WHAT NEXT?
I have reached Hong Kong & The Pacific Ocean. After crossing blistering deserts & vast mountain ranges to get here, encountering so many beautiful places & people along the way, from ancient Middle Eastern citadels & Himalayan nomads to Georgian pig farming villages & 100km wide Chinese mega-cities. And, thanks to some Instagram exposure & CNN news reports, I now have a bigger following so my desire, stronger than ever, is to turn the adventure into a story that can be fully followed by all of you & all of those who have followed so far.
The last few months, stuck without funds in Hong Kong, I've put myself to work designing a new website, writing up journals to turn into a book upon completing the trip & setting up social channels by which people can follow the next 20,000km of the adventure.
From Hong Kong I aim to cross South East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, the US from west to east, with a final stretch from Scotland to England & home. It's a real life epic, that, when back on the road, will be shared through...
- Photography - potential publication, exhibition & prints post-trip
- Adventure Website - where I can be tracked & the story read
- Journal entries - potential publication post-trip
- Youtube - Regular Video diaries & travel films
- Twitter - The latest news direct from the roadside
- Instagram - Be right alongside me with instant photo updates
With limited funds & an entirely self-funded first leg, it's been pretty tough just covering the distances so far & to continue the journey now I need help funding a few basic things in order to tell the story. I already own all the hi-end camera gear (slr, lenses, remote & filters), the bike still works & requires no big repairs, but needs are as follows...
- Go Pro Camera & accessories - to vlog the rest of the journey
- Kit & Gear - new tent needed, more spare tyres & some shorts
- General costs - noodles, toilet paper, toothpaste... anti-venom etc
- Visas & a single flight - Asian visas + Oz 2 San Fran flight
IMPORTANT NOTE: whilst I have & will be taking donations for my charities, to comply with Kickstarter rules, 100% OF PLEDGES HERE WILL GO DIRECTLY INTO THE JOURNEY & TOWARDS SUPPORTING ME ONLY. NO MONEY AT ALL WILL GO TO MY CHARITIES. The Kickstarter pledges are for creative & expedition purposes only.
With a big Instagram following & exposure on the news, many people have asked simply for my paypal details so they can help keep the adventure alive. But the genuine truth is that I want this to be a project where I can give something back to people following around the world. It might be the Englishman in me, but I am not interested in just taking peoples money. With your pledges I will have the motivation, responsibility & duty to keep going & give back fully too. Kickstarter was a possibility before the journey began, but I felt I needed to prove that the journey would work first, & prove my creativity also, before I could use ask for help in this way.
Thank you so so much for taking the time to read my story & discover my journey. Please pledge as much or as little as you can. If not, it would mean enough to me that you even read this, viewed the website, followed or simply just enjoyed the previous journey & the one yet to come.
This is more than a project to me, it's my entire life. I managed to roll my bike out of the front door. It's an unusual, but epic Kickstarter project I know, but one that, really, is just about hope, possibility, change, the search for happiness, that sense of adventure we all feel from time to time & the human need for discovery & exploration. Help me. Join me. Let's cycle around the world!!
Risks and challenges
Living out of a tent & surving on noodles & rice can go a long way to funding the journey around the world. But even so, reaching London will still be expensive. This is why I have turned to Kickstarter for support. I won't make it back to England until 2015 so any publications are theoretical, though my solid aim is to create both a literary book of the journey, along with a smaller, photographical book & an exhibition of photography. But really the main idea is that the real gift & product is the story itself, as it unfolds out on the road for all to follow!
Will I complete the journey? Can I do it? Yes. I am now an adventurer. I have survived 49'c deserts & 4000m snow-bound mountain passes. I have completed half the journey already on less funds than I am asking for now. I can survive both the distances & the terrains.
However, obviously there is still a chance that I might die or get injured - I might get hit by a car, get bitten by poisonous wildlife, get robbed or attacked in encounter deadly weather conditions. But f something bad does happen to me, it's a part of the story & something worth pledging towards happening! It's part of the adventure. In reality, if kickstarted I complete confidence that I will reach London. The beauty is that this is an unfolding, unplanned story. The unknown is a place I relish. What you can rely on is my will power & determination already proven over the last 15,000km. I've experienced life on the road & now will not give it up for anything.
As a note: if the opportunity to sail the pacific arises I will take it, but the chances are slim & a fight between Oz & the US will be necessary.
Setbacks financially might pop up in trying to reach Oz by boat or if I encounter unplanned bike or gear problems and need replacements. However, in Oz & the US I plan to do a little farm work to keep on top of the funds (& mainly just for photographic purposes). Ultimately though, I've come this far. Some of the hardest roads have already been cycled & my body & mind is ready to complete this journey. What I am now focused, more than anything, is turning this into the epic, followable adventure that it was always intended to be. With your help we can do this together. Thank you so much. See you on the road!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (18 days)