I took wife's ashes to Africa
He hitchhiked 10,642 miles from Leicester to Cape Town, travelled by vehicles including horse-drawn chariot and motorised rickshaw, and took his wife's ashes along for the journey.
But now Mike Howitt is finally able to relax and enjoy the comfort of his Evington home after arriving back in Leicester following his 56-day journey in memory of his late wife, Diana.
In a moving tribute at the end of his journey, the 80-year-old granddad scattered Diana's ashes on Table Mountain, a landmark she loved which they had visited five times together before.
Mike decided to go on his incredible trip after his childhood sweetheart and wife of 55 years passed away following a lung disease in March last year.
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He has now raised nearly £6,000 for the Loros Hospice, of Groby Road, Leicester, where Diana spent her final days.
Mike, who set off down the A47 from Leicester on September 17, carefully carried some of her ashes with him for the 10,000-mile trip in a little blue tub. He said despite travelling overnight and on his own he never felt in any danger despite putting his life in the hands of people he had never met.
"I never felt threatened, from the day I set off hitchhiking down the A47 from Leicester to the day I got to Cape Town," said Mike.
"I'm not saying I'm particularly brave, I just never felt in any danger.
"Diana loved Table Mountain and actually it was only the fifth time that we went there that she plucked up enough courage to go all the way to the top.
"My work took me to South Africa often, training people in the building industry, so we had been there 25 times together.
We spent anniversaries there and both loved the country."
Mike said he used all sorts of transport during his journey and stayed in some very good hotels and some real hovels.
He said: "When I got to Haifa in Israel I couldn't find anywhere to stay so I just slept outside under the stars on an inflatable mattress, which is the only time I used it.
"I met a lot of different people but often language was an issue.
"South of Sudan in the north of Kenya, I spent 22 hours on a cattle truck overnight.
"When we crossed the equator they stopped it especially for me and I was able to scatter some of Diana's ashes there, too."
As part of his National Service as a young man, Mike covered 12,000 miles around the coast of South Africa, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and in Israel around the Sea of Galilee.
Despite being 60 years older, Mike said the worst his body went through was some minor aches and pains on the trip.
He said: "In the last few days my big toes began to swell, so like a fast bowler in cricket, I cut the toes out of my shoes.
"This has been on my mind for 12 months and when you're going for an objective, you visualise its achievement.
"I've done what I set out to do. I feel like 'the journey is done, what's next?'
"I've met many wonderful people and had many life-enriching experiences."
Loros fund-raiser Christian Wikert-Picker said: "We are delighted that Mike has completed his journey. It is an amazing story and we are very grateful."