One morning in Siberia when it was minus 40 I woke up to see frozen waterfalls hanging off the side of the valley – extraordinary
Rob Lilwall spent three years cycling from Siberia to London, then six months walking home to Hong Kong from Mongolia. On top of this he cycled across the USA with his wife Christine. The explorer tells us more about some of his greatest adventures
The Expedition Where I Learnt The Most…
On my first expedition I learnt that if I threw myself in the deep end, I would learn how to swim (in my case, this meant cycling through a Siberian winter and learning to survive in the extreme cold). I found that fears get easier to face, the more you face them. And I learnt that there are a lot of kind people in the world. Most people want to help you, or if they can’t, to introduce you to someone who can. And finally I learnt that tough times don’t last.
The Expedition That Was The Most Challenging
It was probably either going through the jungles of Papua New Guinea with a bicycle, or dragging a home-made beach cart 1,000 km across China’s Desert of Death (The Taklamakan). Both very hard, but in different ways.
The Expedition That Is The Most Memorable
Hard to choose one. Bad memorable: Witnessing a deadly fire in Siberia when a roadside truckstop burnt down. Good memory: seeing Everest from a Tibetan pass on my bicycle.
The Expedition Where I Almost Turned Back
In the Takalamakan Desert in China, I almost gave up several times. I almost gave up when the dunes were too big to drag my cart across; when the police caught me; and when I got a lot of punctures from reeds. What helped was having a clear goal; calling my wife and my friends who gave encouragement and helped me regain perspective; and rewriting the negative story in my head with a more positive story about about how much I was learning, and how I still had options ahead.
The Expedition That Was The Most Scenic
Many to choose from. One morning in Siberia when it was minus 40 I woke up to see frozen waterfalls hanging off the side of the valley – extraordinary.
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