I write stories that help you and me understand the world (and ourselves) a little better.
Every Friday, I send said stories out to a self-selecting group of well-regarded and discerning readers. You can join our ranks by signing up here.
I am co-writer (with Beth Granville) of BBC Radio sitcom Foiled, set in a Tonypandy hair salon. The four radio series (nommed at the 2019 Celtic Media Awards) were preceded by a 5-star live show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.
As well as this blog of 800+ stories, I have written a number of books. Some of these I have published, and most are available as ebooks under my pay what you want policy.
- For politics and tech enthusiasts: Elevate #10 and Elevate: Open Everything? Two books from the Elevate Festival of Arts and Political Discourse.
- For romantic travel buffs: Life to the Lees, about cycling 4,000 miles around Britain in the wake of my grandmother’s funeral, and The Soles of My Shoes, about hitch-hiking London to Ben Nevis with a beautiful stranger.
- For practical travel buffs: How to Cycle 4,000 Miles When You HATE Lycra, tips on cycle touring for beginners.
- For speech and self-recording obsessives: Soliloquy, a transcript of the entirety of one day’s speech.
I once wrote a writer’s manifesto.
I am Cyclist-At-Large for Thighs of Steel, a small team raising big money for refugee solidarity by cycling really far.
Thighs of Steel are famous for riding from the UK to Athens (five times) and breaking a world record for the largest bike-powered GPS artwork by cycling a 2,208km route, from Cornwall to Kent, that spelled out REFUGEES WELCOME.
Since 2016, Thighs of Steel cyclists have raised over £630,000 for grassroots refugee projects across Europe.
Here is a potted history of my other cycling adventures since I first picked up my dad’s old Apollo bike to commute to work in the winter of 2008:
- Spring 2009: Frustrated with airline cancellations, I cycled a childhood friend’s ancient Halfords bike to where he then lived, in Bordeaux.
- Summer 2011: 4,110 miles around Britain in 58 days. This journey inspired not one, but two books: How to Cycle 4,000 Miles When You HATE Lycra and the travelogue Life to the Lees.
- Spring 2012: A circumnavigation of Tunisia, as it rebalanced after the Arab Spring revolution.
- Summer 2015: The famous 2015 Calais Critical Mass.
- Summer 2016: London to Vienna, learning all I could about migration from Syria to Europe from the saddle of my bicycle. Along the 1,000 mile route, through the contrasting policies of France, Belgium and Germany, to Vienna, I met refugees and asylum seekers from Piedmont to Uzbekistan.
- Summer 2018: Ljubljana to Sofia with Thighs of Steel, helping to raise over £80,000 for grassroots refugee organisations across Europe.
- Summer 2019: I was part of the Thighs of Steel core team supporting rides from Paris to Bordeaux and Trieste to Athens and helping to raise over £78,000.
- Summer 2020: In homage to 2011, I cycled the entire south coast of Britain, from King’s Lynn in the east to Chew Magna in the West.
- Summer 2021: Round Wales
- Summer 2021: The entire 2,208km record-breaking ‘REFUGEES WELCOME’ ride with Thighs of Steel.
- Spring 2022: East coast of England from King’s Lynn to Edinburgh
- Summer 2022: Arran, Islay and Jura to Oban on the West coast of Scotland
- Summer 2022: Glasgow to Milan and then Dubrovnik to Athens with Thighs of Steel, helping to raise over £100,000 in solidarity with refugee projects.
I’m delighted to be a donor to The Next Challenge Grant, an annual bursary that helps people go on adventures.
My first big adventure, cycling 4,000 miles around the coast of Great Britain, was only possible thanks to support from my nan. She’d absolutely love The Next Challenge Expedition Grant so now it’s my turn to help you find your own awesome adventure. As nan used to say: Do it while you can!
I am a qualified Lowland Leader and have been helping deliver expedition training to schoolkids taking their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with Off Grid Adventures since 2019.
I am currently working towards my Hill and Moorland Leader award and developing my skills in the field (lol) of ecotherapy.
Bored of sitting in front of a computer all day, I now parade my brain and voice in front of live audiences. Topics include comedy writing, psychedelics, and living without money. I’ve been known to perform poetry.
In July 2019, I spoke (to great acclaim, quite possibly) about the intersection between psychedelics and running at the Love Trails festival in Wales.
In February 2021, I developed a workshop about the cognitive benefits of nature called Rewild Your Job.
Things I Guess I Used To Do
2019-2021, I worked as a science and environment journalist, covering topics like fungi and soil carbon, negative emissions technology and how to survive the Anthropocene. You can browse my articles on Global Landscape Forum, Forests News and Forests, Trees and Agroforestry [here, here, here aaand here].
See my portfolio and press page if you’re not only interested in what I’ve written for other people, but also what other people have written about me. Includes the BBC, The Guardian, Vice, The Mirror and many others.
2001-2008, historian and Egyptologist: at university, I studied both ancient and modern Middle Eastern history for five years before realising that I was really only interested in the story bit.