He's making headlines around the world for being the Scotsman bikepacking around the world with a stray cat he picked up along the way.
Last year Dean decided he was done with the 9-5 lifestyle so he set off to travel around the world by bike. After meeting an unlikely companion along the way, a stray cat that he adopted called Nala who travels with him in a basket out front or around his neck, Dean's story got picked up and has now gone viral on social media making him as they say... insta-famous!
When watching his daily Instagram stories, you definitely get a feel for the type of person he is. Dean regularly shares photos and footage of people he meets, places he stays and his passion for the environment and of course, his soft spot for stray animals and wildlife.
We caught up with Dean to find out how he's dealing with his newfound fame, what it's like to travel with a cat on a bike and what's next in store for @1bike1world.
Hey Dean & Nala! We’ve been following your journey around Europe for quite some time now, whereabouts are you currently?
Hey guys, I'm currently in Santorini in Greece where I am going to be spending my summer working with Santorini sea kayaks and helping out with the tours.
For those who don’t know your story, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, my name's Dean, I'm 31 years old and I live in a small town on the east coast of Scotland called Dunbar. Last year I decided I'd had enough of the usual lifestyle of working 9 to 5 so I decided to travel the world! I set myself a leaving date and worked solid just so I had enough money behind me for this adventure.
You’ve made quite a name for yourself recently as the Scotsman who is cycling the world with a cat, can you tell us how Nala came to be a part of your journey?
Haha all I need now is my kilt on and a bottle of whiskey in one hand to really show the Scottish image! I Found Nala (my cat) when I was cycling through Bosnia. I was just coming up to the border crossing into Montenegro and was cycling up a steep hill so wasn't going that fast and had my music playing when I heard this meowing coming from behind me. I stopped and there was this wee kitten chasing me up the hill desperately trying to get my attention. I gave her some of my pesto which is all I had on me at the time and she hasn't left my side since.
Once in Montenegro, I took her to a vet where she was microchipped, set her up with a kitty passport and started with her vaccinations allowing me to keep travelling with her. When I first got her on the bike I put Nala in my front basket as I thought this was the best place for her. It was only a few minutes before she was climbing out so I just let her do her own thing. She mostly sits round my neck and sunbathes most of the day or attacks her tail and falls asleep the rest of the time while I'm cycling. I've just landed so lucky with her.
Has the recent fame benefited you in your travels?
Not really at the minute, I'm still just doing my own thing as I'm settling in Greece for a few months but I know further down the line it will. So many people have reached out to me, which I'm extremely grateful for and offering me a place to stay so I know I won't struggle to find a roof over my head when I need one. One way it has benefited me though is it's given me a bigger platform to spread my message to people about the importance of looking after the world we live in.
Do you have a cycling route that you are following or do you just make it up as you go?
I mean somedays I wake up and I put where I'm going into my GPS and follow the route and other days I just cycle and see where it takes me. I prefer having a rough idea where I'm going though. Sometimes you can be cycling along and then see a sign for something cool so you need to take a detour to see it.
Bikepacking can be challenging, especially when everything you need has to be carried with you on your bike. What 10 things (other than Nala of course) could you not live without on the road?
- Obviously my Quad Lock Case and the bit that connects it to the bike (Bike Mount Pro). Its absolutely solid and you know your phone is safe once clipped in.
- My JBL soundsystem
- Phone because that has my music
- Tent, although its not cat proof and has holes all over the floor
- Bike repair kit - God knows how often I've used it
- Power kite
- Wooly blanket. I have the worst sleeping bag in the world and found a blanket that has saved my life many times in winter.
- MSR camping stove
- My eco friendly water bottles and straws
What is the craziest thing that has happened to you since you started this ride?
Theres been quite a few crazy things happen, 1st night in France tent got surrounded by a wild boar. That was quite an experience. I also jumped off a 24 meter bridge tearing my MCL ligament in my knee and I thought that was my tour over! But I like finding myself in these situations as it gives me something to laugh about after.
What has been the most challenging part about having a cat with you on your journey?
The most challenging part about taking a cat with me on this trip has to be dealing with the weather. I don't have a waterproof way of carrying Nala and she got a chest infection when we were cycling through Albania. Whenever the weathers bad we just have to stop where we are and set up camp, find a building or cafe and just wait for the storm to pass.
There's the old cliché that travelling helps you "grow up". Your trip has been pretty epic so far. Do you think you've changed as a person since you started?
I think I have changed as a person through this experience, I have learnt to appreciate life a lot more. I hate the fact we are slowly destroying this planet and with all the wildlife suffering I thought if I make a change it would be a start.
Where are you off to next?
After Greece I'm heading to Turkey to explore a bit before going to Georgia, Kazakhstan then I will head down towards India and head over that kind of direction to see what that area of the world is like.
Lastly, we noticed you listen to a lot of tunes on the ride. What's your favourite song to listen to right now?
That is like the hardest question to even answer but if I had to give you one, probably The Big Unknown by Elder Island.
Thanks for the chat. Will we see you in Australia anytime soon?
Yeah I definitely plan on coming to Australia as I have friends over there I would love to see. I know it's quite strict on letting pets in so as long as I have everything in place I'll be there.