Rhys Lawrey, adventure rider

My idea to travel the world on my motorbike stemmed from my father, who also rides, travels and holds world records. I wanted to share and inspire others. I took the plunge and thought let’s do it – I had nothing to lose. Once I had my mum’s approval, I was off.

My mum was my biggest convincer. I sort of said: “I have something to tell you. I want to ride around the world”. She was stunned but she ended up supporting me, she told me I had nothing to lose, that I was young and to seize the opportunity, so I did.

Travelling the world on a motorbike is a very different experience. I was more exposed to different countries rather than just flying in somewhere. I felt every temperature, every cold and hot breeze, I felt the bumps on the road, I learned which roads were safe and which roads were dangerous. When people realised I had travelled by bike, I was warmly welcomed into every country I arrived in.

No one has done such a thing at my age solo on a motorcycle. The BMW GS motorcycle was the popular choice of bike, however I chose a Triumph Tiger.

It’s really trial and error. I never was an expert rider, an off roader or a racer. It was a jump in the deep end because that was the only way it was going to work, I learned to adapt to any given situation.

I was never threatened, going at a young age, I learned people skills quickly because I had to. I learned common sense, how to judge people and how to respond in different scenarios. When you turn up with a motorbike, I did get looked at in a more welcoming way and I learned to smile. I didn't do tourist things like whipping out loads of money or waving around a fancy camera, I kept it simple and basic.

Loneliness was the biggest challenge. As a young person I was used to going out and socialising whereas I had to get used to going out and socialising with new people every day and after months, it became very tiring.

I feel a lot more mature. Travelling changed my perspective on the world, I can talk to all types of people, I feel more cultured and I’m more open to the world around me.

Living on the road is easy, budgeting is doable especially going to places like central Asia. Food was cheap, I wasn’t paying Western costs. I’m still paying off my trip, but it’s one of those risks I don't regret. I didn't go to university so I didn't take out student loans and instead look at what I did. It’s a huge achievement, that will always be the staple of it all. I’ll probably do smaller trips, I’m always keen for travel by all means.

When my adventure reached its end I felt pure relief. I slept for a minimum of 12 hours every day for the first week. I was ready to come home once I broke the records. I was knackered, broke and speechless, it was one of the most emotional days of my life and it will forever be in my memory.

Rhys Lawrey was 22 when he travelled around the world on a Triumph Tiger 800, from London, to Asia then Australia to Central and North America in 441 days.