In October 2017 I left my academic job researching happiness and began cycling to Bhutan, a country famed for its national focus on happiness. Ironically I wasn’t very happy in my job. I had grown dissatisfied and weary and I wanted to do something that felt more meaningful to me, would bring me more happiness, and also deepen my understanding of happiness. A cycling journey to Bhutan began…
I eventually 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, covering around 20,000kms by bicycle.
When I got back to the UK, I then wrote a book about the journey. The book became a physical reality after nearly 300 books were pre-ordered in a crowdfund. A Journey For Happiness: The Man Who Cycled to Bhutan interweaves my cycling journey to Bhutan with pioneering happiness research and can be ordered here.
You can get a glimpse of the journey via links below to blog 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 in November 2018 about my journey just at the point when I was about to give up on my destination. 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 Bhutan I wanted to pass through places that are just as inspiring as Bhutan when it comes to happiness and wellbeing. Costa Rica and Canada, for example. An animation of my route can be found by clicking on the map.
As I journeyed I wrote about my experiences and how they enriched my academic understanding of happiness. Most of the articles I wrote can be found here, but below are links to some 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 often 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 in sustaining high happiness)
- I was at my happiest when (about the countries I found the greatest personal happiness in 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)
These blog posts and others have been weaved into a book and you can get your copy here.