Tartan Explorer decides charity begins at home

HE had planned to cycle across the globe to raise awareness of mental health issues after overcoming his own battle with depression.

Explorer Josh Quigley. Picture: Toby Williams
Explorer Josh Quigley. Picture: Toby Williams

But just nine weeks into his trip, Josh Quigley – known to most as the “Tartan Explorer” – has called it quits after realising that helping Scots is his main priority.

The 23 year-old, who was on the brink of death last year after he deliberately crashed his car into a barrier on the M8, wants to help others suffering from mental health issues, with the support from his friends and family.

Josh, from Livingston, said: “I went searching for something that was right in front of me the whole time,

“For me, embarking on my trip around the world was not only to raise awareness for mental health, but to find myself.

“After nine weeks, and nine countries, I have successfully done that and I’m in a happier place now.

“I need to be in Scotland to do what I want to do.”

After completing a 1500-mile cycle trip around Scotland in March, Josh decided to go one step further, and cycle around the world to tell people his story.

The former pupil of Deans Community High School had planned to travel 50,000 miles, but his trip was cut short when he became homesick, and realised what really mattered in his life.

Josh said: “At first cycling across the globe seemed like a good idea but when I started it, I realised there were so many other things I could be doing to help others.

“Cycling for multiple hours a day isn’t really helping anybody, I want to be working with charities, schools, and other organisations, to tell people my story. Now that I’ve helped myself, it’s time to help others.”

Josh was rushed to hospital at the start of 2015, after he crashed his car on the busy motorway at 80mph in a bid to take his own life.

But the catastrophe was a turning point, as he transformed his life, and realised his experience could help others.

Josh said: “It’s amazing how different I feel now in comparison with how I did last year.

“For years I suffered from depression and mental health issues and I don’t know what caused it.

“Things got really intense and I decided that I was going to try and take my own life.

“After I survived that, I realised there must have been a reason why I was still here and my mindset changed completely.”

Throughout his 2000-mile journey – after visiting countries such as France, Germany and Belgium – Josh became interested in other world issues, as well as mental health.

He began offering food to homeless people and set up a campaign “Feed the Homeless of the World”, which raised £1500 in just five days.

He added: “I received so many messages of support while I was on my travels which I am so thankful for, it’s just been amazing.

“I’m so pleased I’ve got the message out there and my story has influenced others.”