From riding solo for 3,000 miles through Iran to undertaking a 10,000-mile journey through Africa, travel writer and adventurer Lois Pryce has blazed a trail around the world that has made her a role model to many.
The exciting news is that Lois has recently joined forces with Toyota GB as an adventure ambassador. In between her winter travels, Lois spoke to the TGB blog about how she was first inspired to hit the road and talking us through her journey to becoming a published author of three exciting travel memoirs.
TGB Blog: Lois, you’ve taken on some truly intrepid journeys but can you tell us a little about how you started on your road to adventure?
Lois Pryce: “I didn’t do my first big solo adventures until I was 30 but I’d always loved road trips and exploring in any form, from a young age. When I was 13 I went on a cycling holiday around Cornwall with three school friends – and no grown-ups! That gave me the taste of freedom, and the joy of simply travelling through a landscape with no plan – just waking up each day and seeing what happened.”
You’ve documented some of your travels in some exciting books. Was writing always on the cards or did you discover your love for writing after you started travelling?
“I’d always enjoyed writing but it had never occurred to me I could make a living out of it. In 2003 when I set off on my first motorcycle ride from Alaska to Argentina, I started writing up the stories of my journey on a very basic website. There were no blogs or social media then so it was the early days of personal websites. My site got linked and shared more and more as I went on – I suppose we would call it ‘going viral’ now! And that led to me getting a literary agent, and ultimately to my first book deal. I’ve now written three books and also work as a freelance travel journalist. So I’ve never looked back!”
We understand that your plan is to see as much of the world as you can, in sections, and never have an end date for your travels. Could you please tell us a little more about that and where might be next?
I would love to do a road trip around Japan.
“I’m always keen to go back to Iran (my favourite country) but that is a bit tricky right now. I would love to do a road trip around Japan. So hopefully that will be next.”
Can you pick out a favourite – or even funniest – travel moment so far?
“There are so many amazing moments – and lots of funny ones too! From bluffing my way through a Mexican roadblock by pretending I was on my honeymoon and had lost my new husband, to singing The Final Countdown with an Iranian army general in an elevator… the list goes on…!”
Trying to pin you down again, can you narrow your huge experiences down to pick your top three places in the world?
“It is a tricky one, but my three favourite places off the top of my head are:
- Baja, Mexico
Thinking of all of those who’ve gone before you, you follow in the footsteps of some truly inspirational travellers and, indeed, travel writers. Did you have a particular role model growing up or when you started out on your first adventure?
“I’m a great admirer of the female adventurer Freya Stark, who explored and mapped areas of the Middle East, particularly Iran and Iraq, in the 1930s. She was quite the maverick and was shunned by the traditional, male-dominated ‘exploration’ establishment at the time, but she didn’t care – she just went ahead and did what she wanted to do! So, she is a great role model.”
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who dreams of following in your footsteps?
Be ready to let your journey lead you into unexpected adventures
“There are lots of people who will advise you against it. These tend to be people who haven’t done the things you want to do. So, ignore the naysayers and find people who have actually been there and done it. Before you leave, do your research, prepare and plan – but not too much.
“You need to be ready to improvise and let your journey lead you into all sorts of unexpected adventures! Don’t get too hung up on an itinerary and your carefully laid plans.”
Which leads us nicely onto talking about the Adventure Travel Film Festival, which we’re really excited to be involved with this year. You’re the co-founder of the event, so can you sum up the vibe. What will people take away from the weekend?
“The vibe is the best thing about it – it’s a super friendly atmosphere of fun, like-minded people! Essentially it’s a celebration of independent adventurers and film-makers – but it’s also a celebration of the world and the humans who inhabit it. Our aim is not just to show amazing feats, but also to celebrate other cultures, dispel fears and bring people together.
“The films cover all types of transport and take you to every corner of the globe – from trans-continental bicycle rides and kayak trips down remote rivers to hardcore motorcycle adventures, 4×4 desert exploration – and has even included journeys by donkeys and paragliders! There are also workshops, speakers, bands and lots of sitting around the campfire, chatting about past and future adventures.”
Thank you for your time, Lois. We wish you many exciting adventures ahead!
The Adventure Travel Film Festival runs from 14-16 August at Hatherop Castle School
near Cirencester. For tickets and more information, click here.