Who, what, and why?
Pleased to meet you: I'm Tom Blower, a 25-year-old from Saffron Walden, Essex. If there's one ambition I have in life, it's to see the world, and as much of it as possible by bicycle. I live by the motto 'opto ergo sum' - 'I choose, therefore I am' - and this blog is about some of the travel decisions I've made, and my choice to challenge my body despite its limitations. I named this blog Quo Vadis because I wanted to ask questions, not make statements: I think people need to challenge themselves by asking where they are going in life, both physically and mentally.
I've been in love with bicycles since I could ride them, but it was only in my teenage years that I started seeing a bicycle as a way of exploring and engaging with the world at large. I've experienced good times and rough times during my life, but above all music, people and my bicycle have always helped me pull through. In 2008 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a lifelong condition which has profoundly changed not only how I live my life but also my worldview. Since my diagnosis, I've been pushing myself to prove that having diabetes does not have to be a disability unless you make it one, and cycling is my primary way of doing just that. Diabetes is part of me, but does not define who I am.
In 2011, aged 16, I cycled solo from John O Groats to Lands End, on a 900-mile route, in 12 days. This gave me a taste of just how awesome bicycle travel can be, and since then, I've been attempting to go everywhere I can by bike, whether over shorter periods of time - like cycling the UK's steepest passes on no sleep after my university final exams - or in the longer term, but the aim has always been to push further and discover my limits and marvel in the fragile beauty of the world around us. In 2014, over the course of 42 days, I cycled solo 2,809.6 miles across the USA, from Wilmington NC to Seal Beach CA. Since then, I've toured in Europe and the Middle East, and make it a mission to take every opportunity I can to get out on a bike, exploring the cartographies and geographies of my surroundings, wondering what lies beyond the horizon. I am addicted to this kind of travel; and this addiction, with its highs and lows, has made me who I am.
I'm also a passionate believer in incorporating bikes into into a wider movement toward sustainable living which can help humanity co-exist better with our planet. In a world increasingly suffering from the choices humans have made, I think it's important for us to reverse, or at least reduce, the negative impact that we are all responsible for.
This blog is for you to take a look at my adventures, take some inspiration for adventures of your own, or just look at some pictures. Try as I might, they will say more than I ever can.
John o' Groats to Lands End, 2011
bluff to cape reinga, 2020
edges of my known world (so far)