UK Adventurer of the Year in 2015, Ash Dykes has quite the life story.

From becoming the first person to trek the entire length of Mongolia alone and unsupported, to learning how to survive with a Burmese hill tribe, being dodged by lorries while cycling for 39 hours straight in Vietnam, or fighting crocodiles while walking the length of Madagascar, his is certainly the road less travelled.

Thanks for chatting to us Ash, can you tell us how you got into the adventure scene?

I have always been adventurous, constantly challenging myself and seeing what I'm capable of, but when I was 17, I came up with a plan to travel. This was an exciting thought, but one that felt near impossible, as I didn't have the money or the knowledge and thought that I maybe wasn't quite ready as I had only just finished school!

I ignored the doubts and searched for better paid job, which saw me lifeguarding. I sold my car, bought a bicycle and for the next year and a half a worked around 200 - 240 hours a month, enough to save some good money.

A friend of mine loved the idea of traveling and decided to come with me, so at the age of 19, we left, heading straight to Beijing in China.

It was amazing and worth all the hard grind, but it wasn't too long before we felt that we were very much on the beaten track. We had the same photos, stories and experiences as every other traveller - so we looked into doing something different.

By now we were now in Cambodia and I suggested to my friend, (partly due to money being low but partly to me wanting to take on an adventure), to cycle Cambodia and the length of Vietnam. He loved the idea but asked "on what bikes?", as he said this, there was a frail old lady that cycled behind us as we were relaxing on the Mekong river and her bike was awful! No gears, no suspension, a basket on the front, a pink bell, rock hard seat and it looked like it was going to just snap under the pressure of being peddled!

This was fantastic to me because it screamed cheap, so we went on search for that exact bike which we purchased for £10-£15! After five minutes research on Google, buying a non-waterproof tent for £5 and stacking up on peanut butter and bread - we left! We had no helmets, no puncture repair kit or bike pump - this was (I admit now) rather reckless, but at the same time, just incredible.

We were chased by dogs, hit by mopeds, dodged by lorries, it was sometimes scary and the roads were crazy. The locals were great, we were eating and drinking whatever they had, we got to understand them and the way they live. On the last day of the 1,130 mile cycle, we cycled 39 hours straight and went over 45 hours with no sleep because of it. We were turned down by countless hostels and hotels in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, but were eventually taken in!

On completion of this adventure I was hooked! I wanted to take on more adventures and challenges. So I did!

Wow, that sounds like a crazy and exciting introduction to adventure travel! What's been your most life changing adventure so far?

My most life changing adventures are probably my Vietnam cycle and my Mongolia expedition.

The Vietnam cycle really changed the course of my life, I wanted to continue to take on adventures and expedition but make them bigger and better!

The Mongolia expedition was a world first. A solo and unsupported trek across Mongolia had only ever been attempted once before, but never been completed. This was a huge step for me, I was a scuba diving instructor and Muay Thai Fighter living in Thailand for two and a half years, getting rather restless and starting to miss pushing myself and taking on adventures.

I started looking into where my next expedition should be, I knew nothing about Mongolia and had come across no travellers so far who have said they've been or plan on going there, so I loved that!

I knew it was an extreme country and that I wanted to do an old school walking expedition, whilst pulling everything I needed to survive in a trailer behind me. I was told it wasn't possible as I would spend too long in the Gobi Desert where there will be nothing for up to five weeks.

The dangers seemed to be everything, from the Grey Wolves, sand storms, snow blizzards, dry wells, dehydration, stagnant water, drunken nomadic drifter - the list goes on. Yet I still wanted to go for it, I knew it was high risk, but there was something about this adventure that truly hooked me.

Cut a very long story short, I planned and trained hard, managed to make enough money to go ahead with it and 78 days later, after the Altai Mountains, Gobi Desert and Mongolian Steppe, luckily made it - alive!

This changed a lot for me, in ways I get to continue it, I went on to win the public vote for the UK Adventurer of the Year 2015 and now have my next world first expedition commencing in three weeks time.

Another world first? You don't do things by half do you! Can you share any tips for people wanting to take their first steps in the direction of adventure travel?

Go for it, the worlds a big place and there it still a lot to explore!

Don't listen to the naysayers, it doesn't matter if anyone else doesn't see it for you, you must see it and believe it for yourself.

Don't get too bogged down with the planning and prep that you think you need to put into the adventure. The first adventures that I took on, I just went for it, cheap gear, 5 minutes research on Google and the absolute bare necessities. Like I said - I had no puncture repair kit or pump for my 1,130 mile cycle across Cambodia and Vietnam, yet the hassle that this did eventually bring actually made it more of an adventure!

It's quite easy getting bogged down with the details, how do you avoid that happening when you plan your adventures?

From when I first started - I didn't really plan them, just went for them!

Now it's more life threatening though and I'm more often on expeditions that haven't yet been attempted or completed, so I have to take it more seriously.

The concept comes first and then I look at planning the logistics, so having a local on board is always a good idea! Train hard, plan hard - then explore harder!

What about a bit closer to home? Do you have a favourite place here in the UK that you like to visit?

I don't take on many adventures here in the U.K, which is a shame, as I know there are amazing places around. I did cycle John O'Groats to Lands End and a few years later walked the length of Wales, but other than that my adventures seem to see me head to countries I'm completely unfamiliar with.

Earlier you mentioned buying a £5 non-waterproof tent - as far as camping memories goes, which trips rank as the best?

There have been many, from waking up in a Nomads Ger/Yurt, waking up in my tent to a sunny day in the Gobi after two weeks of hail storms and rain. One that does pop to mind as a really good camping memory though, is when I was learning how to survive in the Jungle with a Burmese Hill Tribe.

We constructed a bamboo shelter and were living completely off the land, we slept on banana leaves and the next morning, we had big red ants, marching down the ridge of the banana leaf that we were sleeping on, they must have been there the whole time I was a sleep, but weren't bothered by me, in which case I wasn't bothered by them and just fell back to sleep!

Learning to survive in the Jungle sounds like an amazing experience. Given the choice what's your favourite campfire meal?

A Chicken Tikka Masala ration pack by Expedition Foods, I was quite gutted when I ran out of these on my Mongolia expedition!

So apart from running out of your favourite ration pack, are there any other bad camping experiences that spring to mind?

My worst experience was in Scotland training with my trailer, for Mongolia. The trailer wasn't yet at its best and I had to disassemble it at every river crossing. It was cold, extremely windy/icy and I was soaked through.

There was a major storm that hit and the trailer was just falling apart, until the main base board snapped off and flew into the nearest lock. I slept (barely) that night in complete discomfort, with the wind keeping me up, thinking to myself - this is day one, what will tomorrow bring? And if Scotland has done this much destruction, then what on Earth will Mongolia throw at me?

I had to abandon the session the next morning, due to the trailer breaking, but prepared big time for Mongolia then!

That sounds like a tough night! Not something you'd recommend for the typical UK bucket list?

I think we should all have that one adventure that is just pure hard-work, uncomfortable, miserable weather, just to throw you out of your comfort zone. Before the big expeditions begun, I walked the length of Wales along the Offa's Dyke in the dead of winter. It was freezing, constantly wet and rainy and only around 7 hours daylight.

The kind of experience you look at and think "no thanks", but once you're going through it, that's your mission.

It's the small things that you appreciate that don't come often when you're in the wild, whether that be a hot drink or dry clothes after a wash. Then on completion of that particular trip - it's now behind you and there's always something satisfying knowing you persevered, faced dark times and uncomfortable situations yet overcame them.

You learn something new about yourself and that's just as important as the adventure itself.

What have you learned from your adventures never to leave home without?

I love Water-to-Go bottles. You can take them anywhere and they filter 99.9% of all contaminates. From tap water abroad, lakes, rivers etc.

We're fans too actually! Thanks so much for sharing your stories Ash.

You can keep up with what Ash is doing via his website, on Twitter as @Ash_Dykes or on Facebook.