In October 2017 I left my academic job researching happiness and began cycling to Bhutan. Ironically I wasn’t very happy in my job. I had grown dissatisfied and weary and I wanted to do something that felt more personally meaningful, would bring me more happiness, and also deepen my understanding of happiness. A journey to Bhutan on a bicycle was born.
I finally 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 I covered around 20,000kms by bicycle. I’ve written a yet to be published book about that journey and you can sign-up for book updates here.
For now you can get a glimpse of the journey via links below to articles I wrote and some of the media coverage of the journey. I am always happy to talk about my journey – media interviews, a 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 a piece I November 2018 about my journey, and my Spanish got a real test when I encountered Mexican journalists earlier that year in August. There were also a few other local and national news items along the way, as well as in Bhutan when I finally arrived there.
Since I returned there have also been some other interesting pieces on the journey, such as on this BBC radio show called “People Fixing the World.”
Below is a map of the route I took – it was not a direct route because on the way to the happiness capital of the world I wanted to pass through places that are just as inspiring when it comes to happiness and wellbeing – 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. Most of the articles I wrote can be found here, but below are links to a few of the best:
- The 3 most important things I learnt about happiness from cycling to Bhutan (describes my biggest personal learnings from the trip)
- Bhutan: Happiness despite the cost (about what I found upon reaching Bhutan)
- Beneath the triumph (about how I felt when I arrived in Bhutan and the unspoken reality of achievement)
- And then came the tears (my happiest moment from the trip, perhaps my life, came two weeks before I arrived in Bhutan)
- Is Peru a happy place? (on what I discovered about happiness in Peru from my time there)
- Latin America – what is it that makes you so happy? (on Latin America and the importance of community)
- I was at my happiest when (on the country I found the greatest personal happiness and why)
My journey involved a lot of happiness, but I also encountered 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. It was a difficult time and I wrote several blog posts about the experience and got through it in the end – this post highlights an important insight I obtained 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. This post depicts some of my experience there)
- The ultimate lesson in happiness: Self-acceptance (100 miles away from the Bhutanese border and I had the most serious bike mechanical issue of my journey making it unlikely I’d be able to cycle those last miles. This post explores the issue of self-acceptance)