If there’s anyone qualified to tell the world where we are going wrong, it could be Peter Baker.

The Dedham travel writer is riding high at the moment with the publication of his acclaimed travel book, the Jolly Pilgrim, which started off life as pure escapism and has ended up a treatise on what’s wrong with the world.

Peter serves up some pretty big world views in the book, so it’s a little bit of a surprise to find him so laidback and funny when we meet.

In the publishing blurb, the Jolly Pilgrim has the rather grandiose catchline of “An epic travel adventure. A message of hope for civilisation”.

Peter said: “In my family, there’s been a history of people going off and having big adventures and I wanted to do the same.

“I was cycling to work at the time, so I had this idea of cycling to Jerusalem, not for any religious purpose, but mainly because I thought it would be interesting.

“Various complications meant I had to rethink that and, because I had studied Byzantine history, I thought Istanbul instead.”

What started as a crazy cycle trip across Europe resulted in a grand exploration of the world, taking in 24 different countries, 53,000 miles and lasting two years and ten days.

On the way, he swam the Bosporus, worked in a drag club, hitchhiked across Australia and danced salsa in an Ecuadorian prison.

“It got a bit complicated after Turkey,” he smiled. “But the idea when I set off was just to let fate decide which way I went and that way it would be more exciting, which is what it turned out to be.”

Peter, 37, was born and brought up in Dedham, attending East Bergholt High School and Colchester Sixth Form College before going on to study physics at Durham University.

Before his epic trip, Peter worked in London for an insurance consultancy company without any intention of becoming a travel writer.

“I never intended to write a book about it,” he admitted. “I wanted to write a diary just to record my travels and it went from there really.”

The leap from simple travelogue to world philosophy came during the trip.

Peter continued: “Obviously, the ideas came out of the people I met and the places I saw. I certainly think travel is good for people. If you’ve never been to the Third World, you’re not going to know how it works.

“I appreciate not everybody can just up sticks and go travelling for two years like I did, so I hope in some way I can deliver some of that information with this book.”

In terms of the conclusions he reaches within the book, Peter suggests we all look at the bigger picture and the world as a place inhabited by fallible humans who are just trying to make the best of their lives with little guidance to help them.

“Since the book has come out, there has been quite a reaction to it,” he said. “I’ve tried to pack it with as much information as I could and all the references are in there for people to follow up.

“I’ve also been asked to do a number of speeches to various groups, which have gone down very well.”

n The Jolly Pilgrim is published by HotHive priced £10.99.

For more details, go to thejollypilgrim.org