Stephen Fabes

Doctor – Writer – Wanderer

Stephen Fabes is a medical doctor with a bad case of wanderlust and no sense of direction. He finally found his way home in 2016 after cycling the length of six continents – a six-year adventure across 75 countries and 53,000 miles. Stephen uses human stories to explore the landscape of health and disease. His writing has  appeared in The Guardian, the Telegraph, Geographical, CNN and the BBC among others. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an inspiring public speaker and a regular at live storytelling nights. He currently works in the Emergency Department at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and time off is for running trails. Signs of Life is his first book. 

The Book

They say that being a good doctor boils down to just four things: shut up, listen, know something, care.

The same could be said for life on the road, too.

When Stephen Fabes left his job as a junior doctor and set out to cycle around the world, frontline medicine quickly faded from his mind. Of more pressing concern were the daily challenges of life as an unfit rider on an overloaded bike, helplessly in thrall to pastries.

But leaving medicine behind is not as easy as it seems.

As he roves continents, he finds people whose health has suffered through exile, stigma or circumstance, and others, whose lives have been saved through kindness and community. After encountering a frozen body of a monk in the Himalayas, he is drawn ever more to healthcare at the margins of the world, to crumbling sanitoriums and refugee camps, to city dumps and war-torn hospital wards. And as he learns the value of listening to lives – not just solving diagnostic puzzles – Stephen challenges us to see care for the sick as a duty born of our humanity, and our compassion.

(Due to be published by Profile on 6th August 2020)


Or order from an indie…

‘A fever dream for armchair travellers, a dizzying, headlong, hilarious grand tour of six years on two wheels … I lost a couple of days to it and on emerging from its pages the world had become richer and more marvellous … Signs of Life deserves to become a classic of the genre’
Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being

‘A hilarious and moving memoir of a cycling medic’s life on the road’
Xand van Tulleken

‘A charming, human story of resilience, adversity and compassion, all told with a good dose of dry British humour’
Lois Pryce, author of Revoluntionary Ride

‘An inspirational journey of humanity and humility. Fabes has redefined the medical memoir’
Nathan Filer

‘Stephen has managed to beautifully combine travel, medicine, life and loss all in this epic tale of adventure. It made me smile, laugh, want and cry. Bloody brilliant.’
Matt Morgan, author of Critical

‘I absolutely loved this book… Full of rich, vivid descriptions of people and landscapes, interwoven with wisdom and compassion’.
Mike Carter, author of One Man and His Bike

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Cycling six continents in 100 shots and 2 short films


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