Blog of the month: That Emily Chappell

We loved Emily when she was ‘that messenger chick’ with her blog about a courier’s life in London – the food, the relationships, the stresses and the joys all written in spectacular prose with intelligence, wit and more often than not, a bit of drama.

Emily Chappell having a bit of a rest on her round-the-world trip.

Then she went and sacked it all off to go cycle around the world. Luckily for us. Because without her blog, we’re not sure how we would have filled the past 16 months.

Let’s be honest, blogs about cycle journeys can lean towards the repetitive (we get it, the road was long, you were tired … ) but not this one. It is alive. It breathes.

Emily is able to both bring you into her story and her head while also giving you the space to let your imagination work – how would you feel if it were you in the freezing snow?

Here’s a typical few paragraphs, reflecting on the challenge of finding balance on a ride like this:

I learned an important lesson this week: moderation.

As you might have noticed, it’s not one of my strong points. I’ll either be riding 100 miles a day to beat a visa deadline (and feeling like a superhero), or sitting around in comfy expat enclaves (Islamabad, Hong Kong) for weeks on end, doing nothing (and feeling like a lazy good-for-nothing slob). I enjoy the highs and lows, but I sometimes worry that this isn’t the healthiest way of going about things – and what if I push myself too hard on one of these visa dashes, and get injured or ill, and am forced to sit still for weeks and miss the deadline?

The challenge I set myself in Korea was to find some sort of middle ground. To ride shorter distances (but still to ride), to stop more often, and to find some objective other than getting to my destination in the shortest possible time. To live my life, if only for a few days, like a normal person, rather than a superhero or a slob. (Bearing in mind, of course, that a year of cycle touring has possibly shifted the parameters of what might be considered normal.) Most of Asia has felt like an expedition – I was determined, in Korea, to recapture the sense of holiday that I’d felt riding through Europe.

A personal tragedy has took her back to the UK for a few weeks before she continued her journey in the Americas. Although her epic achievement is over, reading through her instalments gives us itchy feet.

Two-wheeled adventure anyone?

Follow Emily Chappell’s adventure at


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