Sophie Atkinson travelled for a solo for a year on her round-the-world trip
Article 02 September

Round the World: how we did it

It takes all sorts to travel the world. These are the tales of just a few Wanderlust round-the-worlders, and their top tips for your own adventures

Ian Howells

Trip included: Cape Town, Perth, Sydney, New Zealand, Santiago to Buenos Aires

Length: 9.5 months, at age 32

Travelled… solo

Highpoint: Staying in mud rondavels on the Wild Coast of South Africa.

Lowpoint: Missing the funeral of a good friend who would have appreciated the experiences I was having.

Top tip: Don’t try to fit in too much – spend the odd day just sitting in a park, reading a book.

Sophie Atkinson

Trip included: St Petersburg, Trans-Mongolian Railway, China, Australia, NZ, South Pacific, South America (and Antarctica), Cuba, US road trip

Length: 1 year, at age 33-34

Travelled… solo

Highpoint: I met a fantastic girl from LA in Antarctica who is now one of my best friends.

Lowpoint: Being robbed at gunpoint after a wrestling match in Mexico City.

Top tip: Buy the most comprehensive, extravagant and flexible ticket you can afford – your desires will change along the way.

Sandrine Prevenier

Trip included: South-East Asia, Hong Kong, Bali, Australia, Tahiti, Easter Island, Santiago, Guatemala to Mexico

Length: 6 months, at age 30

Travelled… firstly on group tours, then with my partner, then solo

Highpoint: Easter Island – one of my dreams.

Lowpoint? Being ill in Bali. To make matters worse, my boyfriend had to go back to the UK. It was the hardest part of the trip.

Top tip: Slow down! Maybe take a language or cookery course, and get to know the local way of life.

Jon Pressling

Trip included: Cape Town, Australia, NZ, Fiji, Hawaii, LA

Length: 6 months, at age 23

Travelled... mostly solo, apart from a group tour in NZ

Highpoint: Surfing in Byron Bay with a pod of dolphins.

Lowpoint: Spending a lonely, stormy Christmas Day in a hostel in Hawaii.

Top tip: Go with the flow and don’t get stressed by schedules.

Kirsty Page

Trip included: Wellington (Somerset) to Wellington (NZ), via Europe (InterRailing), Syria, Jordan, India, Nepal, South-East Asia

Length: 6 months, at age 23

Travelled… with my brother

Highpoint: Getting to the top of Gokyo Ri in the early hours and looking out at Everest and the rest of the Himalaya.

Lowpoint: My brother discovering he needed root canal surgery 3,500m up
in Nepal.

Top tip: Take hardly anything – you’ll appreciate carrying a smaller bag. Buy clothes as you go along.

Alex Celini

Trip included: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Hanoi to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Auckland, Tahiti, LA, New York

Length: 8 months, at age 29

Travelled… solo

Highpoint: Reaching the Afghan border along the Khyber Pass.

Lowpoint: Getting caught up in riots in Lahore and catching chickenpox in India (while miles from civilisation). 

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to go alone.

Alastair Humphreys

Trip included: Across Europe, south through Africa, by yacht to South America, north to Canada, across Asia and westwards home – by bicycle (www.alastairhumphreys.com)

Length: 4 years, at age 24

Travelled… alone

Highpoint: Getting to Cape Town – the end of my first continent.

Lowpoint: Feeling out of my depth at the start. And -40°C in Siberia.

Top tip: Put a start date in your diary. You’ll never have enough information, preparation or money: you just have to get going.