Globe-trotter Tony Gahegan is gearing up for an exciting 2014.
After spending Christmas and New Year in Melbourne, making merry on the beach in sweltering sunshine, the 30-year-old from Sheffield is getting ready to spend the next year cycling around Asia.
The trip of a lifetime began back in 2011 when Tony set off from Sheffield on his motorbike with £12,000 in his pocket and little idea of when he would be back.
“I’ve had an incredible couple of years,” said Tony, who first got bitten with the travelling bug after a university exchange trip to Tanzania in 2004.
“After saving for a few years, I left Sheffield with the intention of seeing every country in the world. I planned to spend two months in Europe and six months in Africa before heading to Asia.
“As it happens, Europe ended up taking five months and Africa 14. I could easily see the trip lasting another 10 years - I’m in no rush.”
Tony is now preparing to head to Asia, where he will trade in his motorbike for a pushbike.
He said: “Travelling with the motorbike was awesome, but between the costly paperwork, petrol and repairs, I think a bike will be a nice change of pace.”
Tony keeps in touch with family – his parents and a younger brother – back home every chance he gets via Facebook and Skype, although the time difference often makes it difficult.
“Luckily I’ve made great friends on the road,” he said.
“Sometimes I stop to work for a while and, during that time, I find a place to live so there’s stability and friends I see every day.
“I’ve worked as an English teacher, a labourer and even had an IT job in Perth working for the state government. There are a few people I’ve really bonded with.”
Tony says there have already been too many highlights to mention.
But he said: “Romania was a big one for me, as that’s where my trip really started.
“I left Sheffield travelling like a tourist, seeing the sights then moving on to the next place, because I already knew what I wanted to see in these countries. Romania was completely new to me however and I ended up staying for a month.
“From that point on, I’ve travelled more slowly and socialised a lot more along the way.
“There’s no deadline for the trip. I find that the more I travel, the more years seem to be ahead of me.”
Tony says he loves the idea of not knowing where he is going to end up, saying: “Sheffield has always been home, but when this trip is over I want to choose a country to settle down in, hopefully one with the right mix of culture, climate and people, and live happily and raise a family. Maybe I’ll meet my future wife on the road...there’s possibility around every corner.”
And the Sheffielder doesn’t want to forget a moment of his epic journey, recording everything via his online blog and on video.
n Follow Tony’s adventures at tgon.co.uk