About - The Story So Far…
Back in 1993 when Emma was just 16 her grandad- the legendary Bernard Davenport took her on a trip that would change her life forever. She spent 3 weeks in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, 2 of which were spent trekking to Everest base camp. On her return to Milton Keynes, England she started planning... every weekend for 2 years spent working and saving money so she could travel once she had finished her A-levels. University was certain as by this time she’d acquired a strange obsession with fish. A Marine Biology degree place secured she set off to Delhi in September 1995. 7 months in India teaching and travelling reinforced her burgeoning love affair with travel.
It was at the end of her undergraduate studies and subsequent postgraduate research in Mexico that a last-minute holiday to Cyprus with friends would have our paths cross.
I’m an island boy from Guernsey, Channel Islands and had just finished my degree in Graphic Design from Portsmouth University. Failing to find employment in New York I decided a season working/partying in Ayia Napa was a great way to further my career. I worked for a summer as an Extreme Sports instructor on a S.C.A.D. during the day and partied at night. It was in the classy nightclub ‘Car Wash’ that Emma and I met.
Whatever it was that made us connect way back in September 2001, grew with advancements in communications over the years; from letters and e-mails, myspace, facebook and skype. Post Cyprus we both got on with our lives but remained modern-day pen-pals.
In 2002 following disillusionment with academia, a chance opportunity presented itself for Emma via several ‘fishy’ contacts to join a filming and research expedition in Oman. Working with Jonathan Ali Khan; 3 months stretched to 9 years and in that time she became a production manager for a wildlife documentary series, planning and managing expeditions across Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen.
Whilst in Oman she discovered a new species of freshwater fish. Garra smarti, led to the establishment of her ‘wadifish’ project and a return (albeit from a safe distance) to academia.
Emma continued to live in the UAE working on various environmental projects whilst using Dubai as a springboard from which to visit Asia and the rest of the Middle East.
I left Cyprus after the summer season and returned to Guernsey to develop my interest in the arts. I worked as an Art Technician, Community Arts Development Officer and became the founding member of the Readerswives Collective, a group of young artists, designers, writers, photographers and musicians. I’m a practising artist and have exhibited worldwide. Along side this I’m a keen graphic designer and have a healthy interest in all areas of creativity.
In March 2008 I opened the Centre Fold Gallery and studio. This was a non-profit venture to provide the island with cultural events in the form of exhibitions by international practitioners as well as independent exhibitions produced by local artists.
Two years later in 2010 I got talking to Emma who was still in Dubai. Unbeknown to each other we had both been suffering serious depressions. Emma had lost her best friend Eilidh Cairns in a cycling accident, then her beloved granddad 12 months later.
Suffering a series of losses made Emma focus hard on life and put into perspective what was really important. She suggested a holiday in the Middle East would do me some good. In August of that year I travelled to Dubai for a three week break. During this time we embarked on a 10-day 4x4 camping/road trip down through the United Arab Emirates and on to Salalah in Oman.
It became apparent quite quickly that we were good travelling partners. I returned to Guernsey and went back to my daily routine. In October 2010 in the middle of a Skype conversation the subject was raised of where we should go on our next road-trip and thus was born ‘Around the World in 800 Days’.
Fast forward to May 2012, now very much in love and after months of working, saving, moving house, moving country and selling all our possessions our pipe dream became a reality. We hopped on a ferry to Dunkerque and began, what is now known as Phase 1 of our circumnavigation of planet Earth.
3½ months later whilst in Central Mongolia we received news that both my parents had been diagnosed with Cancer. Both Emma and I decided that the best course of action was to return home whilst our visas still allowed us to do so easily. We turned around and drove straight back to the UK in a pretty impressive 15 days.
Adventuring was temporarily on hold whilst we spent some quality time with my parents. Four months in and my parent’s treatments seemed to be working and things were looking up.
In February 2013 we decided to head back out on the road for Phase 2. Given the situation we decided not to venture too far. A no commitments route down to Morocco was made with the idea that if we needed to return home quickly we could.
We spent 3 months in Morocco and a further 2 slowly travelling up through Spain, Portugal and France. In August 2013 we evaluated our options and made the decision to head home once more.
In December 2013 Emma and I got married and then unfortunately just one month later my mother passed away.
On 11th August 2014 we set off again on Phase 3 to pick up our original route in Kazakhstan. We travelled through South-Eastern Europe and approached Russia from Armenia and Georgia before crossing into Kazakhstan.
We spent the latter part of 2015 exploring Central Asia; Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. Our adventure plans were scuppered in Iran when a filming project fell through due to politics and we were robbed. Having spent 4 months in Iran we saw a side to the country that most tourists don’t get to see.
In late November 2015 Bee-bee was shipped from Iran to India, We spent 5-months travelling the length and breadth of the country before heading through Myanmar into South-East Asia. From Myanmar we drove through Thailand, Loas, Cambodia and Thailand again before shipping back to the UK from Malaysia in July 2016.
With 858 days of global exploits under our belts we find ourselves back in the United Kingdom planning Phase 4 - The Americas. In the coming months we will focus on re-building our beloved Bee-bee, photo and film editing, writing, planning and promoting our next adventure.
If you want to watch a short film made by the BBC regarding our reasons and inspirations for the trip, click here.