Published: 08:00, 11 April 2016
It’s been more than a year in the planning, but today Aaron Mitchell is finally going to head off on the adventure of a lifetime.
The former soldier will be riding around the world on a motorbike, from the frozen wastes of Siberia to the heat of South America, completely alone. He will ride more than 25,000 miles across four continents.
The 32-year-old from Rochester said: “I’m not nervous but a little bit apprehensive, I hope I’ve made the right decision.
“I’ve been talking about it for so long now, I just want to get on with it. I wanted to go on some big trips and what’s bigger than going all the way around the world?
"I don’t want to get older and wish I’d done it.”
His adventure will take him through Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. He will then head to South Korea where he aims to get a transport plane over to Vancouver in Canada.
From there he will ride through the United States down to the southernmost point of South America before heading home - he hopes to return in early 2017.
Aaron left his civilian job with the Army in February and has been staying with friends after giving up his tenancy and selling all his personal possessions to raise the £15,000 needed to fund the trip, including flights, food, petrol and visas.
“I think my biggest concern is getting ill, seriously ill,” he said. “At home we have got people around to look after us and check up on you, if I get ill in the middle of Mongolia, I won’t have anyone around.
“If the motorbike breaks I should be able to find a mechanic but it’s a simple bike which means hopefully I’ll be able to repair it on my own.”
He said the main thing he’s looking forward to is seeing the change between countries.
“When you get a plane somewhere everything is different, places, faces, the language, the food. You don’t really see what’s happened in between. It’s going to be really nice seeing the faces and languages change gradually.”
Aaron, who still serves in the reserves, joined the Army at 18 and has done four operational tours of duty, including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan as a reservist.
During his time in the Army, he has seen friends killed in action and also witnessed the trauma inflicted on friends who survived. He is using this trip as a way of collecting money for the Royal British Legion and is hoping to raise £6,000.
He said: “I strongly believe that the RBL has helped change soldiers and their dependants’ lives and rehabilitated them to function in the real world back home.
“That’s why this charity is getting my support.”
To sponsor him and support the RBL visit www.justgiving.com/AaronMitchellUK
Follow Aaron on his adventure on his blog - www.aaronmitchell.net
More by this authorClare Freeman