Around the world in seven years, on a bike!
Leigh Timmis has been cycling around the world since 2010 – and on Saturday he’s coming home.
His seven years in the saddle have seen him confront a mountain lion and sing to a bear, all on a globetrotting budget of £5 ($6.40) a day.
As he reaches the final leg of his journey home to Derby, Leigh, 35, thinks back over the previous 43,000 miles (69,000km) with a broad smile.
“The whole world has been my garden,” he says wistfully.
“I never thought about what happens on the 23rd (of April). What do you do after this?”
It was seven years ago when, depressed with a life lacking direction, Leigh said he would circle the globe on a bike.
With youth on his side and savings in the bank, he thought he could achieve his dream in two years, while raising money for the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre.
“I guess a lot of men want to go on this sort of ego trip – show the world how great I am.
“I thought it would just be about me and this freedom.”
But the naive visions he had 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.
“So I began meeting people – sharing evenings with them and meeting their families.”
The journey was no longer about racing from one country to the next, but experiencing them one by one.
The slow and vulnerable bicycle was the perfect vehicle “to connect to people”.
When he ran out of money, he didn’t go home, but found work and kept cycling.