After visiting 75 countries and bicycling 54,000 miles, Dr. Stephen Fabes is finally coming home.
Stemming from an idea hatched at his local pub with a beer in one had and a mini atlas in the other, the philanthropic bike trip, took him through Europe, Africa and the Middle East, South America, Central America, North America, Australia and Asia, helping people all the while.
“I wanted an adventure, but I was also interested in a new challenge, and to learn about and experience the world in a more intimate way,” Fabes wrote of the trip in an email to T+L.
“A bicycle has allowed me to take off into more remote regions,” he wrote. “It breaks down the barriers and brings me closer to local people.”
Fabes, who chronicled his travels on his website, spent much of his time visiting remote medical projects and clinics aimed at helping marginalized people including refugees, the disabled, homeless children, drug addicts, victims of suicide bombings and domestic violence, ex-prisoners, the mentally ill, and those with infectious and deforming disease.
“I’ve gained an impression of the world as the truly vast place that it really is,” Stephen said. “I’ve visited scores of remote medical projects and have had time to think about how marginalization of people impacts upon health and disease.”
Of course, his travels did not come without their own unique set of experiences. “I was most surprised by Syria, a country so often the subject of grim headlines in the months before I arrived,” Stephen said. “But my preconceptions evaporated with the unparalleled hospitality I received whilst there.”
Michelle Gross is a Freelance Producer at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @mtothegnyc