Leigh Timmis has achieved the unimaginable by cycling around the world, covering over 69,000km on a $6.40 a day budget.
The 35-year-old Briton has been cycling around the world since 2010 and is due to return home on the 23rd of April. He said he was depressed with a life lacking direction when he made the daring decision to embark on the journey.
Leigh hoped to achieve this dream within two years as he raised money for a children’s hospital. With youth on his side and some savings in the bank, he set off.
Reality checked him almost immediately as his visions of conquering the world changed soon after he left.
“I didn’t know how to do what I’d set out to do. I couldn’t speak languages, I didn’t know how to sleep wild,” he said.
The idea of the journey changed from racing from one country to another to experiencing them one by one. He began meeting people and their families, dining with them as he learned new things about different cultures.
On the road, Leigh slept in a tent, as he could not afford to pay for accommodation. He had with him a petrol stove, water filter, water bladder, a tool kit and a first aid kit. He also had a sleeping bag, inflatable mattress, tent and food bag, towels and other clothes. The only “luxury” item he had for most of his journey was a coffee maker. Leigh went with a cell phone for the most part of the journey until the later stages.
When he ran out of money, he found work to do and was often shown kindness by strangers which he says has changed his values.
Leigh has miraculously also used the same bike in which he saddled on out of Britain.
“I’ve got a strong relationship with this bike. I haven’t had a relationship with a girl for this long,” he says.
Dolly as he calls it was handmade for him in Derby. She’s heavy and was built to last and still has the same frame and wheels as day one.
“All my things in the world are on that bike. People see it’s my whole life and they have respect for this. There is an element of trust in the world.”
Leigh recalls having a Tom Hanks Castaway moment in Peru when he found himself getting emotional and talking to the bike.
He listed wildlife and weather as some of the challenges he encountered on the journey. In Canada, he came face to face with a bear which he had to sing, to get away from. Leigh recalled that he learned that from a friend’s daughter who gave him tips a few weeks before.
In the Australian outback, he had to cycle in 40C heat and on one occasion when he lost his water container, he recalled having to run back to search for it.
“At that moment you realize how precious just one liter of water is. That was a big lesson.”
Leigh would be looking to adapt back to a normal life when he gets back to Britain. He, however, admits it would be difficult.
“The whole world has been my garden. I never thought about what happens on the 23rd [of April]. What do you do after this?”
Leigh is considering a job working with children by sharing his experience of cycling around the world. He also says he’ll definitely go on some more adventure in the future.
“If I can ride a bike around the world, I can do anything.”