In the autumn of 1913, Japanese radical journalist Ishikawa Sanshirō (1876-1956) fled Japan for Europe on a self-imposed exile that would last more than seven years. While there, he mingled with English social philosopher Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) and his circle of friends, and resided for several years with the family of French anarchist Paul Reclus (1858-1941), nephew and professional heir of famed nineteenth-century geographer Elisée Reclus (1830-1905). Ishikawa’s travels contributed to the development of an intricate web of non-state, non-institutional links, fuelling an exchange of knowledge that spanned four decades. His personal trajectory highlights the significance of individual-based activism to the early twentieth-century global spread of anarchism. The experience of exile is also a valuable opportunity to explore how chance encounters, emotional ties and subjective politics shape ideas of social change in tension with ideological consistency.