While for most of us yesterday was just another Wednesday, for a Banbury motorcyclist it marked the start of an epic around the world adventure.
Stephen Matthews, 33, began riding motorcycles just three years ago but is now on one of the most ambitious odysseys you can undertake on two wheels.
The driving force behind his determination to circumnavigate the globe is one of intimate loss.
Stephen said: “Unfortunately my mum passed away jut under three years ago and she spent some time there and we realised just what work they do . Provide good care to the patient and give support to the families as well.”
People touched by the Adderbury hospice raise money for its continued work through a variety of ways, taking both time and effort to do so but few voluntarily give three years of their life and invest thousands of pounds in its name.
Stephen said: “I’ve been thinking for ages I want to ride my bike more and this is the perfect opportunity.”
Stephen has spent the last six months researching the logistics of the trip, how to obtain visas, which routes to take and honing basic mechanical skills such as puncture repairs.
The distance around the Earth’s equator is around 25,000 miles but Stephen’s meandering scenic route could be almost double that.
Stephen said: “I’m not aiming to race around the world, I just want to enjoy it. How long it will take will become clearer as I go on. Year one will be Africa.”
The trip has been self-funded by the former computer science researcher after he decided to eschew the traditional trappings of adulthood.
Stephen said: “A while ago I was looking at getting a mortgage and thought going around the world seems a lot more interesting and would be a lot more fun.”
Stephen bid farewell to his father, Harry yesterday, whose Banbury home he relocated to in preparation for the trip.
Harry, 72, joked: “I can’t wait for him to go.
Adding: “It’s very good of him to do to it for his mother. What worries me is he is gone for three years and will I be here when he gets back. “I support him all the way and I’m always at the end of the phone if there’s a problem. I’m quite proud of him.”