Cycling to Bhutan

In October 2017 I quit my academic job researching happiness and began cycling to Bhutan. Ironically I wasn’t happy in my job and so I decided to undertake a journey that felt more personally meaningful than writing another academic paper (for more about why I went on the journey read this).

I finally arrived in Bhutan on March 2019, 18 months later. It was an epic journey focused around happiness that took me to 27 countries and pedalling 20,000kms.

Media

Along the way I picked up some media attention for my journey. For example, The Times wrote an interesting piece, and my Spanish got a real test when I encountered Mexican journalists, who did a nice news report. There were also a few other bits along the way, including radio, as well as in Bhutan when I finally arrived there.

The Route

Below is the route I took – it was not a direct route because I wanted to pass through places where happiness is taken more seriously – such as Costa Rica and Canada. More details about my route can be found by clicking on the map.

map 1

Blogging

As I journeyed I wrote about my experiences and how they enriched my understanding of happiness. Many of the posts I wrote can be found here, but below are the titles and links to a few of the best:

My journey involved a lot of happiness, but there was also deep personal struggle. Here are a few posts about some of that struggle:

  • Resentment, hostility, and hatred arise… (only three months in to the journey I got bitten by a street dog, and it was, as you might imagine, quite a struggle. It was very difficult to continue. I wrote several blog posts about the experience got through it in the end – this post highlights an important insight about happiness from the experience)
  • Vegas and the desperate hunt for an improbable happiness! (Las Vegas stands out as being the most difficult places to be – exuberance and destitution – a recipe for unhappiness, my own mental health felt constantly under threat)
  • The ultimate lesson in happiness: Self-acceptance (I was 150km away from the Bhutanese border and, because of a massive error of judgement on my part, I had the most serious bike mechanical issue of my journey. This post explores this)

What next?

Now I am back I am trying to figure out what I do with my experience. There is no hurry – I have a clear life purpose now. I am always happy to talk about my journey – media, public talk, or even over a coffee, so feel free to get in touch.