Tom Allen is an adventure cyclist, blogger, author, filmmaker and website designer, who has been busy this year promoting his award-winning film, Janapar. Since setting out on his life of adventure, he has cycled to over 40 countries on 4 continents, spending months at a time on the road, meeting hundreds of other cycle travellers in the process. He has no fixed abode, although he has bases of sorts in England and Armenia.

I was introduced to Tom by our mutual acquaintance and Adventure Podcast alumnus, Alastair Humphreys, when I needed a new website designer. Since then have crossed paths with Tom a number of times including events at the Royal Geographical Society at the Adventure Travel Show.

To subscribe to the show via RSS or iTunes, please click on the appropriate button below.


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Show Notes

1:00 Tom talks about the real life story behind Janapar

2:45 Planning the big bike trip

4:00 Ego and adventure

6:45 What holds us back from adventure?

9:00 How to cycle round the world in 3 easy step

11:00 The making of the movie Janapar and the importance of capturing the awkward moments

13:00 “You are being tested to your limits and as a result of that you’re going to learn something about yourself”

16:10 The challenges of filming your own adventure

17:20 Making the commitment to filming and to honestly sharing the inner story

21:00 Hero or Everyman?

22:35 A day in the life of Tom

23:50 Upcoming projects

25:20 Would Tom change anything about his lifestyle?

26:50 Possessions, mostly bicycles

28:30 Tips for getting started in bicycle touring

Are You A Dreamer? Or A Doer?

Tom Allen
Tom Allen

If you’ve got this dream but you’re not doing it it’s because there are some blockages in there….  Just try and do one tiny thing that will alleviate one of those blockages. (Tom Allen)

When I was living on the south coast of England while I was getting ready to row the Atlantic, I seemed to end up spending a lot of time around marinas. Hard not to, really – on the south coast it seemed like just about everybody was a sailor and had stories to tell and advice to offer.

I noticed that every marina seemed to have at least one resident “dreamer” – someone who had pronounced a plan for a major voyage, and was busy finessing every last detail of their craft in readiness for this epic adventure. In some cases this process had been going on for many years, and still the dreamer seemed no nearer to making the dream come true.

I was proud when a new friend of mine, a lifelong sailor and boat engineer, pronounced his view that I was not just dreaming of rowing the world’s oceans, but that I would actually make it happen. That vote of confidence became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So what makes the difference between the dreamer and the doer?

There are many possible answers to this, but in my view the single biggest difference is that the doer casts off the lines and sails out of the port.

The reasons why they are able to do that are many and varied – self-confidence, commitment, curiosity, a sense of adventure, a desire to leave something behind, a desire to go somewhere new – even a vote of confidence from a respected friend – but still the crucial difference is that the doer starts the doing, while the dreamer stays forever trapped in dreaming.

What are you – a dreamer or a doer?

So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  (Mark Twain)

A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. (Grace Murray Hopper)


How to cycle around the world in 3 easy steps

Janapar – the film and book

Advice and planning on bike trips, tips on filmmaking etc

Hero myth versus everyman



  • With hindsight I wonder if my life would have followed a different path if I had had worried less about the “what ifs” and more of the “just do its”! C’est la vie!
    David Church

      • I certainly have no complaints Roz…. but it would be interesting to replay the tape with some alternative “routes” though 🙂
        it is pretty good fun right now 🙂

  • These podcasts are a great idea! Looking forward to hearing the series.

    I’m having difficulty downloading them on a tablet as I can’t access iPlayer / the RSS feed (I accept this might be due to my technological ineptitude). I wonder if a link to the mp3 file would work, if that’s possible, as on other sites which use podcasts such as BBC Radio 4 and the Guardian? Sorry to be a pain!

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