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.

Meet Hong Kong's Record-Breaking Explorer

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.

Meet Hong Kong's Record-Breaking Explorer

The Expedition That Is The Most Memorable

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.

Meet Hong Kong's Record-Breaking Explorer

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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Suggested Itineraries
Gorilla in Uganda

From £6,740 pp

Classic Uganda

Uganda Africa

  • Observe the antics of wild chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda

  • Take a boat cruise down the Kazinga Channel in search of hippos

  • Spot rare black-maned, tree-climbing lions in Ishasha

  • Be humbled by a gorilla encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable NP

  • Enjoy unbelievable birdwatching opportunities in Africa

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 8 nights
Helicopter flying over Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

From £9,960 pp

New Zealand for Adventure Lovers

Auckland & Waiheke Island Lake Taupo & Rotorua Queenstown, Milford Sound & Southern Lakes New Zealand Australasia

  • Explore 6,000 acres of virgin beech forest at Poronui Lodge
  • Cruise around the breathtaking beauty of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Fly over glacial landscapes and cruise the magnificent Milford Sound
  • Discover trout fishing on the rivers and lakes of Rotorua
  • Enjoy a zipline adventure through evergreen forests at the Mamaku Plateau

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 13 nights
Priest looking over scarp at monastery Debre Damo, Ethiopia.

From £3,780 pp

The Lakes and Forests of Southern Ethiopia

Ethiopia Great Rift Valley

  • Explore the chaos and colour of Addis Ababa

  • Meet Lucy, the skeleton of the world’s oldest human, in the National Museum

  • See rare Ethiopian wolves in Bale Mountains National Park

  • Marvel at the landscapes and lakes of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley

  • Discover the culture and traditions of the Omo River Valley tribes

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 8 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
china-hong-kong-business-district

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the ultimate Asian city break, offering designer shopping and lively street markets, delicious gourmet delights and hip bars.

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