Paul Lombard had been teaching for five years in South Korea when he turned his back on a more conventional route home and made the trip by bicycle.
The 29-year-old from Cheltenham, Gloucester, took nine months to cycle from Seoul, South Korea, across China, central Asia, the Middle East and Europe to finally arrive home last Sunday.
Mr Lombard’s journey included biking across the Gobi Desert in China, around the lakes of northern Kyrgyzstan, and through the mountains in south-eastern Turkey.
He said the scariest moment of his trip was when he was staying in Irbil, the Kurdish capital of Iraq, and heard a bomb had exploded. It prompted a last-minute change of route.
“I wasn’t really a keen cyclist before the trip and I didn’t even have a bike,” Mr Lombard said. “I knew that I wanted to travel home over land, so cycling was just an idea to travel in a different way.”
Mr Lombard tested the water by cycling a 310-mile trip from Seoul to Busan in south-east Korea. “That went well,” he said. “So I thought I would take on the 8,966 miles from Seoul to Cheltenham.”
It was two years after coming up with the idea of cycling home that Mr Lombard began his journey. And a year before he set off, he bought a bike in Seoul and started gathering equipment for the trek.
Mr Lombard was raising money for the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), a charity which clears land mines from former conflict zones which he came across when he worked in Sudan.