Palms pressed into the handlebars, feet tracing that familiar circle, chainlinks whirring across chainrings, tyres humming, lungs billowing and the wind coursing across my skin, whistling in my ears and combing my hair. For 15 months these sounds and sensations filled my days as I rode my bicycle from Istanbul to Bangkok.

There was never any plan other than to immerse myself in the sort of tangible reality absent from much of modern life, feel hardship and indulge in aimlessness. Travelling by bicycle was a way to rid my life of all its unnecessary luggage and explore the world on my own terms.

I discovered that no matter where I went acts of spontaneous kindness would decorate my days. Roadside strangers offered me food, water, company, a place to sleep and an insight into their lives. As my journey unravelled, I became fascinated with capturing and documenting the emotions and beauty caught up in these fleeting encounters.

In Iran when I’d thank people for their hospitality they would often reply “ghadamet ru chesham” — “may your footsteps fall on my eyes.”

—Alex Gandy