Through Sand & Snow is a book about travel, people and adventure in some of the world's least visited places.
It is also the personal story of becoming a man through a self-imposed trial of hunger, loneliness and exhaustion with moments of unparalleled joy and sublime revelation. The only way to overcome fear is to embrace it.
It is a book about life for all ages and tastes, engrossing to daring explorers and armchair travellers alike. We all search for meaning.
In 2010, I left a job in journalism and set off on a bicycle called Geoff to pedal to the ends of the earth. I was young, excited, and afraid. I was also hopelessly naive. I left because I was bored. I was a young man wanting to slay dragons.
Unfortunately for that dream of adventure, I had grown up comfortable and coddled in the post-dragon world of modern, middle-class Britain. As I got more settled in adult life, I feared my world would shrink and my dreams would fade.
I needed struggle, something to really test me, something I thought was beyond me.
Four years (and many millions of pedalstrokes) later I returned a more rounded (and hairy) individual.
I'd cycled 43,000 miles through 60 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa: a feat that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has described as "genuinely remarkable", displaying "true grit and rabid perseverance".
I had also travelled for extended periods by horse, foot and dugout canoe.
I saw and experienced so much during those years. I never could have foreseen how hard and yet how rewarding the adventure would turn out to be.
I was completely broken down by trials along the way and doubted myself often. However, as I overcame obstacles, one at a time, I found myself slowly built back upto the stronger person that finished the challenge.
With frostbitten fingers, I illegally slogged through winter blizzards on the rooftop of the world where temperatures plummeted to below -40˚C at night.
I cycled through Afghanistan and Iraq. I crossed Iran twice and met with both humbling hospitality and suspicion from the authorities.
I traversed the Sahara two times, rode the Himalayas, battled malaria, and carried my £100 secondhand bicycle along jungle tracks during a monsoon deep in Central Africa.
I cycled to the Arctic, walked across the Gobi desert and rode a horse over the Mongolian steppe.
Along the way, I met countless fascinating strangers who proved that kindness is the rule, not the exception, throughout the world.
Through Sand & Snow is the story of the first half of this adventure. Scroll down to read the prologue.
So, please jump on board and let's make this project happen.