Route & Whereabouts

I’ll be using a YB tracker on this trip, and all being well (I’m talking about technological prowess rather than my survival skills), it should update my position hourly on this map. So you’ll probably know when I get lost sooner than I do myself.

(It takes a while to load – be patient.)

15th February – in case any of you tracker addicts are worried by the sudden leap forward, I was given a lift 30km down the road by a kind couple who offered me a bed for the night, and will be dropped off back where they found me tomorrow morning.


The following are Dad’s daily updates from my last trip.

Thursday 10th January 2013: Emily landed at Heathrow Airport this afternoon and she’ll be in the UK for a month or so.  She’ll be in Mid Wales from 16th – 27th January.  Welcome home Em …. we’ve missed you !

Saturday 29th December: Emily is currently in Tokyo, but will now be dropping back home for a while, arriving on Thursday 10th January ….. wow, that’s great news !

Tuesday 18th December: After camping on a baseball pitch last night, Emily arrived back in Tokyo today, tired after a long day in the saddle.  She’ll be staying there for some time ….. so no more updates, until she moves on.  Merry Christmas everyone !

Older updates available here.

Estimated distance to-date: 12,464 miles, 20,103 kilometres

JAPAN: December 2012 

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JAPAN: October/November 2012  

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SOUTH KOREA: October 2012 

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CHINA: September 2012

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CHINA: June/July 2012

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PAKISTAN – March/June 2012

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IRAN – January/February 2012

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TURKEY – December to January 2012

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HOLLAND, GERMANY – September 2011

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Notes from the Routemaster:

GoogleMaps seems to only alow a limited number of destinations – each night is currently set as a destination (apart from western China where overnight stops in the Taklamakan Desert where not possible to pinpoint).  The way around this currently is to show monthly maps.

The actual route that Emily took will be slightly different on some of the days.  The route shown is created using the Google maps options of avoid-highways and avoid-tolls.  There seems to be glitches in routing through some countries: Croatia into Bosnia and back is slightly incorrect; crossing the border from Turkey to Iran had to be split over two maps; Hamadan to Malayer in Iran should be more north-to-south than shown.  The route shown in South Korea is roughly accuarate, but not exact, Google Maps seemed to work very differently.

Although the route shows as continuous,  Emily was forced to use other transport between Zahedan in Iran (just before) and Quetta in Pakistan (and maybe a stretch after).  She also took the decision to take the bus on the KKH from Mansehra to Gilgit in northern Pakistan because of the security situation at the time.  This latter route was being taken after a failed attempt to take a short cut through the Kaghan valley, over the Babusar Pass to Chilas – it was too early in the year and the road was severely blocked by landslide and snow.  Points shown in northern Pakistan are not overnight stops, just points that have enabled GoogleMaps to plot the route.  Overnight stops are available elsewhere.


  1. i JUST GOT THE NAME OF YOUR WEBSITE FROM Sam, and have read some bits. Now I know about it, I will return to it periodically, especially when I am back from lunch and slowly getting back to the idea of work. Love The World’s Last Luddite xxx

    1. Hi Em,

      I also just checked your website. Can’t think why I never did it before! Will be following your progress …

      Jan x

  2. Well, it’ll be too early for dinner, and I don’t suppose you’ll really want a rest already on day 2, but you’ll be welcome to pop into Bristol for a coffee/tea/beer/cake/biscuit, and of course to let me admire your new bike. And it’s still school holidays, so you’ll get lots of curious 7-year-old questions.

    1. Hmmm. There’s a good chance I might want to stop by for breakfast on the morning of the second, if I can get away from Newport fast enough. Would that be acceptable?

      1. Admin! How… anonymously official! I don’t know what time is breakfast for you when you’re touring the globe, but any time before 8 or after 9 you’d be welcome. Or even between, you can sit my son on your rack and give him a lift to school! I believe you might have my phone number, or presumably you can get email from here, let me know and I’ll get your fave breakie goodies in!

        1. Edit: I’ve realised the bit about going to school between 8 and 9 is rubbish. Term doesn’t start till the 5th!

  3. Hi there,
    I’ve been following your courier blog, and ended up here. I have family both in France (Clermont-Ferrand and Gramat) and Iraq (Karbala). Some of the French ones are cycling nuts, and would probably be more than happy to shelter you for a night or two. The Iraqis do not cycle, but are very welcoming so again a stay should be OK. Cover up in Iran/Iraq, or you’ll attract the wrong kind of attention. From my (admittedly limited) experience in Iraq only children cycle there, so a female adult will definitely stand out. Other people will probably give you better advice than me though.
    Good luck!

    1. Almost forgot, I also have family near Bourgoin-Jallieu. If you go over the Alps to Italy, it might be on your way. On clear days you can see Mont Blanc from their house!

    2. Oh thank you! The contacts in France would be really useful. In Iraq I won’t be venturing as far south as Karbala – I plan to stick to Iraqi Kurdistan – but thanks for the advice as well. At the moment everything anyone says is potentially helpful.

      Would you be able to put me in touch with your family in Clermont-Ferrand and Bourgoin-Jallieu? I’d be everso grateful even to be allowed to camp in their garden.

  4. Fantastic! You can bet I’ll be following your progress, I envied your life as a courier, and now my jaw’s dropped as you go for the big one! By the way, the fact that you came down to Wales to visit your family, does it mean you are welsh, like me?

    1. I’m not Welsh (I was born in Somerset), but I spent most of my formative years here, so might as well be. And I think it might be a very useful alternative nationality when riding through places like Iran and Pakistan. I’ve heard that people respond far better if you claim to be Scottish or Irish than if you say you’re English – and they probably won’t even have heard of Wales!

  5. You’ve got to be the most intrepid person I know!

    Would love to see this as a mapped route since you name a lot of places I’m not familiar with. I have a friend who lives in marcillac-lanville near angouleme who I know would be happy to host you but it may be a bit out of the way!

    Also, once you are headed towards Iran I have friends there who I know would be DELIGHTED to host you!

  6. I know you probably get sick of everyone telling you different opinions, but we personally had a brilliant time cycling round the southern tip of India (Mumbai to Chennai). I actually find it an easier/better place to cycle than backpack. There are so many road options going from A to B you can easily get off those crazy main roads.

    Great blog, I will enjoy following your adventures, the To Do lists of To Do lists stage you are in is by far the most stressful.

  7. wow im sure you gonna have an awesome time experiencing the world! i live in south africa, you didnt mention africa in you vague description above, but should you pass through durban i would be happy to accommodate you. i plan on cycling up africa and hopefully further in 2013, so maybe we will cross paths on the road..

    anyway, i look forward to following your progress! good luck for thursday

  8. Hi Emily

    Oooo reading about your proposed journey is so exciting!

    We travelled through Iraqi Kurdistan a little over a year ago, in the opposite direction to your intended route – i.e. entering from Iran and exiting into Turkey. For what it’s worth, we didn’t have any problems entering and exiting via different border points. The visa that we were issued on arrival didn’t actually permit us to travel outside the Kurdish autonomous area into Arab Iraq (which you’d want to think pretty long and hard about doing anyway), which may not leave you with much, if any, choice about where to cross into Iran.

    A bit about our experience is at – a beautiful route, but don’t envy you ascending those mountains!

    Best of luck
    Linds & Catie

  9. I’m a friend of Farzana’s from Islamabad. I’m moving to Morocco on Wednesday, so look me up if you end up there. We should be there for at least 5 years. We usually have running water where we live and are always eating, so should be able to muster a shower and meal or two.

  10. You probably have plenty of contacts already, but I noticed that these guys are apparently cycling up the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan as we speak. Might have some interesting info for you on the feasiblity of that route right now. They’re doing Melbourne to London. Good luck.

  11. Jan Talbot-Jones (a distant relative of mine) said you weren’t expecting to reach Australia until 2013 but I am very happy to be part of your Australian contacts. I live in Sydney and follow your progress with great interest.

  12. Hey, I met your sister Florence having a gaming session in the Brixton Ritzy. We started talking and I mentioned the fact that I am heading out to Palestine, so far alone, this Winter. I like the winter. But I have been reading a bit on your blog and especially where I may travel to myself. Best of luck and keep me informed. I think ultimately I will turn down and Africa will be my next quest.

  13. Emily has asked her readers for comments and suggestions on this section, so here’s mine. It would be great to have not just the latest section of route shown on the map, as above, but the whole of her route to date, just adding the section for the last day, week or however frequently it gets updated. No need for all the intermediate waypoints, that would get too crowded.

    1. We’re working on that Cudzoziemiec ….. hope to have something in place very soon. Keep the comments coming as we’re evolving as we go along and all feedback is very welcome.

      1. Hi Routemaster

        Regarding your problem with limited number of destinations on google maps.. are you using the “get directions” option? I believe it might be better to use the “my places” option instead – you’ll need a google ID (free) and then can pinpoint seemingly unlimited labels and lines on or off road by “hand”. The map can be saved as public and embedded as normal. I say this, but I’ve never used it in that way, only for personal plans/records! Hope that helps.

  14. Just wanted to know how your tour is turning out and how far you’ve got. Nice to see that it lives up to the expectations 🙂 I get bit envious when I read about the Kindle since mine disappeared and I carry actual books now, but with book exchanges thats still ok …

    Maybe we meet one day in Asia, you going eastwards, we westwards 🙂

    Wish you the best and happy riding,
    Greetings from Guyana,

  15. Hi Emily
    It was great meeting you in Yadz – we run out of days and took to night buses instead of hitchhiking
    Now we are in Esfahan and will travel to Tabriz – Jolfa and thumb it back to Armenia and finally Georgia
    Your travels are really inspirational and brave and i am considering switching from Thumbing to travelling on 2 wheels: good thing i know someone travelling that way 🙂

    Safe travels and i look forward to reading about Pakistan

    P.S…You were born in Somerset? I lived in Bath (BANES) for 3years

  16. Hi, I missed u to see in my city Multan..
    if i knew that u are coming to Multan on this Date, then i would sure meet u in Multan.. but i missed.. 🙁

  17. Emily is with us in Gujranwala (Pakiskan), having a wonderfull time with her.
    Since i love travelling as well, I’ve been asking a lot of questions and getting the exact answers for all of em.

    Really interesting, thanks for the time you spent with us.

  18. Hey Emily are you still in Islamabad?? Let me know if you need a place to stay or any help? It would be really nice to meet you on your amazing journey! = )

  19. Dear Routemaster,

    Your updates are a wonderful record of Emily’s progress and adventures, as well as the blog itself. Is there any chance you could keep them online permanently? Just a thought…


  20. Emily, you should visit Korphe, near K2. Its where Greg Mortenson built his first school.

    You’ve made amazing progress! Keep it up and keep the stories coming!

  21. Wow! such an impressive and inspirational route! I’ve been looking over maps and guide books attempting to plot some kind of doable around the world route for myself later this year and you seem to have gone straight through all of the places that i was worried about! 🙂 congrats and I look forward to reading the rest of the blog! (Thanks for your recent post on CS too :))

  22. Hey Emily,
    just stumbled on your site thanlks to a link in a German bike forum. First of all: wow. You are so fast and you have a great writing style with a lot of wonderful pictures!
    Sooo funny that you also met Akbard in Iran! We camped in his friend’s restaurant’s garden where he showed us the pics of all those cyclists. Since then FOUR other groups of friends told us that they saw our picture in their album when he invited them as well.
    Another thing: How did you get the Pakistan Visa? We realized – just as you described it in a blog entry – that you can’t get it from anywhere else than home, when we were already in Iran. Well, we wented to get through Central Asia first anyway and ride the KKH from North to South, but we couldn’t.
    Have a happy New Year’s break and safe travels afterwards! We are currently in Yibin, South Sichuan, China, cycling straight (but very slowly) south with a short train-visit in Beijing (new passport) and Hong Kong (new visa). Maybe we’ll meet one day on the road even though I doubt that we will be able to cycle together – we go really really slow 😀
    Take care and stay healthy!!

  23. Thank you for your response Em. Delay no proble- – not like we can chat over the fence.
    Stay safe ‘n happy – keep going
    Rob (trans-Africa)

  24. Hi Emily,

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog. Just working my way through the archives. If you ever are coming to Ireland give me a shout and I’ll try and help you out. Hope all is well with you and yours.


  25. Hi Emily, I think we saw you this morning as we drove into Quesnel. Tonight I got a message from Pam and Jim in Whitehorse, that you were close…our good friends, and yours too now. I see by the map that you are close. Please stop in at the Bear’s Paw Cafe if you have the chance, in Wells, and say hi! Although we’re closed, we’re open to visitors!! We’ve got an unusual lake-ice event planed for our Quadracycle for tomorrow. Adding a bicycle to the mix would be amazing.

    1. Oh, if only I’d read this while I was still in Wells! Alas, it was just a flying visit – Kate & Tim (aka Bread Pedaller) got in touch a couple of weeks ago, and tempted me to make a brief detour up the hill for pizza and a warm bed. It was only when I got to Wells that I realized I really should have made time for a longer stay. I’m sure I’ll be back someday though – I am quite taken with this part of the world. Thank you for the wonderfully warm welcome, even though I wasn’t able to take you up on your invitation. (I rode past the Bear’s Paw Cafe, and thought it looked lovely.)

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