After two-and-a-half years of cycling around the world starting off at Herne Bay, Josiah Skeats arrived in Sydney last month.
He set off on the 24th of May 2015, and arrived at Sydney’s iconic Opera House in the middle of January.
The first leg of his journey took him across Europe over three months, then moving through Asia over the next year and a half.
When into Australia, he cycled down the middle of the country through the outback on his journey to Sydney.
Josiah pinpoints the starting line as one of the hardest parts of his journey.
He said: “Of the ten million pedal strokes that I’ve done, the first ten were the hardest. I had to cycle out of my comfort zone from a place where I knew where my food was coming from, I knew where I was sleeping at night.
“I had to say goodbye to my family and my friends, and I just had to take this huge step into the unknown, and hope that everything was going to be OK.”
He faced many other trials and tribulations on his journey, losing 12kg over a month in the Himalayas due to a lack of food, and struggling with eight separate cases of food poisoning over two months.
He was also denied entry into China, and was arrested twice in Tajikistan.
“Even when I’m on a bike with ripped clothes and I look sweaty, they see me and they see money,” says Josiah. “So they pulled me over and they said ‘OK, you’re under arrest – if you give us $30, we’ll let you go.’
“And I said ‘No, I’m not giving you any money! No way!'”
Despite these hardships, he was humbled by the kindness of strangers on many occasions, who would help him along his way by providing food, water and shelter.
He said: “The thing about the bike is that it breaks down barriers. People would welcome me in. Or they’d say ‘Where are you sleeping tonight?’
“And I’d say I’m going to cycle another 15 kilometres and then I’ll set up my tent. And they’d say ‘You don’t need a tent, I have a house!’”
When his visa was denied as he reached China, Josiah initially felt devastated. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he then decided to cycle across India starting in Sri Lanka, and said this was the highlight of his trip.
“I couldn’t go through Russia or Afghanistan instead of China,” he says. “So I was completely blocked from continuing on. And that felt like failure – I’d planned to cycle all the way to Australia with no planes, no trains and no buses, and I’d done that all the way to the Chinese border.
“And for them to say ‘No, we don’t care what your dream is, go away. That was devastating.
“But I decided right, I’m going to have to take a plane so I might as well make the most of it. So I took a plane to the Southernmost point of India, and it turned out to be my favourite country. So every cloud has a silver lining – it worked out for the best.”
He arrived in Sydney last month and is currently staying in Australia, writing a book on his travels.
He is set to return to the UK in mid-March and give talks in schools.
Watch my video of the moment Josiah finally reached Sydney below: