In October 2017 I left my academic job researching happiness and began cycling to Bhutan. Ironically I wasn’t happy in my job and I wanted to do something that felt more personally meaningful and would bring me more happiness. A journey to Bhutan on a bicycle was born (for more about why I went on the journey read this).
I arrived in Bhutan on March 2019, 18 months after leaving my job. It was an epic journey focused around happiness and took me to 25 countries and covering 20,000kms by bicycle. I am currently writing a book about happiness based on this journey and my academic expertise.
For now you can get a glimpse of the journey through some of the articles I wrote and some of the media coverage. I am always happy to talk about my journey – media, public talk, or even over a coffee, so if you’re interested get in touch.
Along the way I picked up some media attention for my journey. For example, The Times wrote an interesting piece about my journey, and my Spanish got a real test when I encountered Mexican journalists, who did a nice news report. There were also a few other local and national news items along the way, as well as in Bhutan when I finally arrived there.
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.
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 them:
- The 3 most important things I learnt about happiness from cycling to Bhutan (this post describes my biggest personal learnings from the trip)
- Bhutan: Happiness despite the cost (this blog is about what I found upon reaching Bhutan – a country fully embracing happiness as a policy objective)
- Beneath the triumph (despite arriving there in one piece I was exhausted and this post highlights the often unspoken about reality of achievement)
- And then came the tears (my happiest moment from the trip, perhaps my life, probably came two weeks before I arrived in Bhutan)
- Is Peru a happy place? (as I cycled for days on end I had lots of time to connect with local people and reflect on the things I saw and heard – this is what I deduced about happiness in Peru from my time there)
- Latin America – what is it that makes you so happy? (on the importance of community, which seems to be in abundance in Latin America)
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 and 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 – this post depicts some of that)
- The ultimate lesson in happiness: Self-acceptance (I was 150km away from the Bhutanese border and, because of a big error of judgement on my part, I had the most serious bike mechanical issue of my journey. This post explores the issue of self-acceptance)