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Bears and how to beat them

Bears and how to beat them
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Thank you everyone for your online votes. This piece was shortlisted for the Pure Travel Writing Contest 2014 and was then judged the winner by a professional travel writer. I won 1000 pounds – which will buy me a lot of noodles! Here it is…
 

Bears and how to beat them

 
‘Stephen it’s inside! My God, it’s inside! INSIDE!’

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Ice lakes and frozen worlds

Ice lakes and frozen worlds

To the lake…

I was just a few kilometres from Ulaanbaator, but there was no hint a world capital lurked close by. The sky reached to wider horizons, plucked of the reaching soviet tower blocks, city traffic surrendered to silent space. Concrete was traded for yellowed steppe, salt and pepper peaks and the odd gur clinging limpet-like to the leeside of hills.

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60 Signs that you need to STOP Cycle Touring and GO HOME

60 Signs that  you need to STOP Cycle Touring and GO HOME

1. You put your entire leg through a rip in the crotch of your shorts when trying to find the leg hole

2. You ‘sense’ wild camping opportunities, like a Jedi

3. If you are a woman, there is consistently a crust of peanut butter in your facial hair

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Curveballs

Curveballs


Kazbegi


Georgia is a country of curves – from its meeting with the Black Sea, a bitemark of coast, to the probing tongue that composes the border with Azerbaijan. From its looping script, to the roads that circulate packs of mountains, succeeding in switchbacks like the restive rivers they chaperon. But before my friend Oli and I take on these roads by bicycle, I encounter another sinuosity: that of the Georgian toast.

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Why adventurers should aim to inspire, not motivate: the trouble with life-hackery

Why adventurers should aim to inspire, not motivate: the trouble with life-hackery
Two weeks ago Sarah Outen returned from nearly half a decade of cycling and rowing around the world, half a decade of vigorously roughing it in a manner that puts my similarly spanned escapade to shame. Roughing it, properly: heart-plunging, soul-shivering stuff on the open ocean, replete with crashing personal crises, soaking self-doubt and premonitions of death. It’s safe to say that facing down Pacific swells that would breach tall buildings is distantly orbiting the comfort zone of most of us.

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The succour of homesickness

The succour of homesickness

Thoughts on returning home after six years around the world by bicycle

My journey around the globe began fatefully – with a life-changing decision, taken in the pub.

Pint in hand, mini-atlas flipped open on the table, I sat in the beer garden of The George near London Bridge on some forgotten day in 2008,
parading a new plan to a small circle of friends. Pen hovering above the tiny dot of London, I flashed a grin at my audience – all frowns – and began sketching out my route around the globe and across six continents. All would be conveniently handled, I’d affirmed, by bicycle. ‘In six years, give or take.’

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Home straights and homecomings

Home straights and homecomings

It was Germany that played host to the chilly,

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Life after cycling: stage 1 – The Honeymoon

Life after cycling: stage 1 – The Honeymoon
This blog will continue! I’m just taking two months off to give talks, write my book proposal, make a video and rejoin my profession. I’ve created a new personal website, which has the dates of my upcoming talks around the UK…. www.stephenfabes.com. For now, I leave you with my last blog post…

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Video highlights from six years biking around the world

Video highlights from six years biking around the world
Apologies if you’d been expecting my monthly update and got radio-silence… It was the first time I’ve missed a blog post in the last seven years. My excuse is that I’ve been embroiled in all manner of projects since coming back and the blog had to take a back seat. But I will continue to post here.

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For the sake of balance…

For the sake of balance…
Last week I posted a video featuring some highlights from the six years I spent travelling around the world on a bicycle, and it was predictably dominated by the people I met and cycled alongside. But it wasn’t all shits and giggles. In the name of balance,

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My mum loves Levison Wood

My mum loves Levison Wood

My mum loves Levison Wood.

In case you’ve been on hiatus from our star system, Levison is an adventurer whom Channel 4 follow about doing venturesome things.

‘He’s such an adventurous guy’ my mum says.

‘Mum’ I begin, steadily. ‘I’ve been cycling around the world for six years.’

‘I know, I know darling’ she says, before lapsing into a reverie.

‘But he’s so handsome, isn’t he?’

 

She follows him on Twitter. It makes me wonder when she’s going to follow me. ‘Oh, are you on Twitter? I didn’t know’ she says when I remind her. I send her the link, but she’s lost to Lev’s feed, embarking on a festival of ‘likes’.

She bought tickets to see him speak at the Sheldonian theatre in Oxford, weeks after I’d given a talk to the students of the Oxford University Exploration Society, in a classroom. They were lovely and full of appreciation, all 16 of them.

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  • Home! More calf muscle than man. And there’s life after cycling.

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  • Dispatches from two crossings of Europe: from riding over the Alps mid-winter to cruising along the Danube

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  • Asia: wildly diverse, always perplexing, full of hospitality – from crossing Mongolia mid-winter to edging through the deserts of Afghanistan

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  • Blog posts from cycling Australia’s east coast with Claire, to hiking across the Pacific island of New Caledonia

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  • Blogs from US and Canada: bears, bacon doughnuts, big ass trees and a journey up the Haul Road to northern Alaska

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  • Blogs from South America: sublime Andean landscapes, 5000 metre passes, salt flats and jungles, and the Carretera Austral

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  • Blogs from Central America: Mexican deserts, beaches galore and sliding down volcanoes

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  • Blog posts from Africa: life-affirming, human, full of adventure

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  • It begins: a U turn to the pub, before riding into the coldest European winter for 31 years

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