How one woman overcame addiction and went on to travel the world on her motorbike

For some people, life is one big adventure. But it takes a special kind of person to come back from the brink and achieve something extraordinary.

This week's Welsh Lives follows the journey of Steph Jeavons, who did exactly that.

Steph became the first person to travel the globe across all seven continents, all whilst on her motorbike - Rhonda the Honda.

Born in Canada, but raised in a small rural village near Caernarfon, Steph's turning point in life came from one of her darkest moments.

"There was a period of my life where I got heavily involved in drugs and that led me down a two year long path of heroin addiction, which is not a great place to be - not a great adventure.

"I spent two years in a women’s prison. And it was in prison, actually, that I decided to change my life. It wasn’t easy because there are drugs in prison, you’re in a horrible place and it numbs the pain. There’s never more reason to take it really.

"But then you come to a point - I came to a point - where I really thought no, I’ve got to take control of my life here."

A turning point came for Steph whilst she was serving time in prison, she then decided to change her life. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Steph recalls the moment where she looked out of her cell window and imagined herself under a baobab tree with a sleeping lion in its branches. From then, she set out to find her own baobab tree.

In 2014, 38-years-old at the time, Steph set off to ride on all seven continents.

70,000 miles and 54 countries later, she became the first person to ever complete the challenge.

She confessed: "I’d never been abroad on my own before, I’m not that good a rider, I’m no mechanic, I don’t speak any other languages.

"But I’d told everybody I was going. I didn’t go quietly. I was determined to tell everybody because that was my insurance policy that I was going to leave.

"I had a big crowd waving me off, big banner out, they put me on the roof of the Ace Cafe, which is an iconic bikers cafe in London.

"And so I set off, petrified, having sold my house, my business, I’ve got enough money for about 15 months, but I have nothing left apart from what’s on my motorbike.

"This is the freedom, I’m breaking the chains."

One of the greatest highlights of her adventure was exploring Antarctica. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Four years of travelling began through Europe, relying on good luck and the kindness of others along the way.

Upon reaching Iran, Steph admitted it was "quite a scary thing" but went on to say the country gave her "one of the best surprises, it was one of the friendliest places ever."

"It was a great place for a solo woman to travel, it really is, because people look after you."

Bikers themselves, Steph's parents understood the desire to endlessly ride.

Her dad, Peter, said: "I did claim some boasting rights - my daughter’s going round the world on a CRF 250! - a little bit of reflected glory.

"As a parent, it’s a little bit scary. Because of course she was setting off into the unknown."

Her mum, Linda, added: "We didn’t worry too much about her while she was away because I knew she was capable of a lot of things and she’s turned herself totally around and is now… brilliant."

Steph hopes her story can inspire other women to chase their dreams. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

After making it to Asia and travelling into India, Steph described the heat and humidity as "unbearable".

"As I started travelling along, not really sure where I was going, I started seeing lots of people wearing orange. Then it got busier and busier until I hit a bottleneck. And what was actually going on was one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimages in India.

"I was in it for about 10 hours and I did about eight kilometres. And the heat got to me, I ran out of water, and I couldn’t move, I was in a gridlock.

"That was one of my scariest times actually. I nearly fainted. I felt so lonely surrounded by thousands of people because I thought if I fall over I am going to get trampled, and I probably won’t make it out.

"That night I felt very much alive - probably more alive than I’ve ever felt in my life - because I’d survived.

Steph has since set up her own business teaching beginners how to ride. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

In contrast, Steph explains how the South Pole was one of her greatest moments.

"Many, many highlights. But Antarctica was one of them, because everybody told me I couldn’t make it."

Since travelling, Steph has written and book and set up a business teaching beginners how to ride. She hopes her story can inspire other women to follow their dreams.

"Women quite often assume that they’re going to be the last one, they don’t want to hold people up, we don’t want to cause anyone any trouble, which is a lovely trait but it’s overcoming that. Building them up, encouraging them to go for it in the first place and then helping them through.  And they will have so many fears leading up to that point.

"But we all have issues, we all have our crosses to bear and we can all gain strength from whatever that is. And the best way to do that is to attack life. 

"And really sort of, testing yourself to that point where you realise how capable you are."

Welsh Lives is broadcast on ITV Cymru Wales on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. The programme will also be available online at and as a podcast.