The Power of Human Journeys


Was about to write up the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe, but noticed that Christine had got there beforehand. So will instead make mention of other similar expeditions. One was completed a few years back, stretching over an eight year span, was a human powered (no sail or motor) circuit of the Australian continent known as City2City. This was more 25,000 km that Huw Kingston undertook to link Australian capital cities by the wildest, most remote route. He used only human powered transport - mountain biking, ski touring, walking, sea and river kayaking.

Of the total 543 days, Huw spent 238 days perched on the saddle of his mountain bike, 145 days sitting in a kayak cockpit, 119 days laced into his walking boots and 28 days sliding on his backcountry skis. His longest stretch without a hot shower was 37 days, though that may not be something that most folk would consider much of an achievement. Such journeys by Huw, and Jason Lewis, of the 360 Expeditions that Christine noted above, are powerful evidence that it is possible to live to the fullest without being reliant on gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting beasties. Think, for example, of BoardFree Dave Cornthwaite’s 5,823 km crossing of Australia by skateboard, or Dave Kunst’s Earthwalker 14,450 mile stroll around the world back in the early 70’s, which saw his brother shot by bandits.

Or how about the 319 day honeymoon of Michelle and Carl Roe, who walked 7,300 km from Lapland to Andalucia. They scored 19 days without a shower! Not bad for a couple. Or Roz Savage, who sets out in 2008 to attempt to be first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean, from the US to Australia, having already completed the Atlantic.

Currently out there, still en route is Karl Bushby, who after 14 years continues tp put one foot in front of the other on his Goliath walk around the world. He started at Chile’s Punta Arenas in 1998 and is walking home to the UK. He still has to cross Russia and all parts in between, but Karl’s trip contains 36,000 miles, 25 countries and a rather impressive foot crossing of the Being Sea. Just as the first American's must've done it, in reverse direction, millennia ago.


And there are many more bold men and women out there, showing those us sitting here in front of our computers, that mankind is still capable of great accomplishments when the shoe rubber meets the road. If these inspiring individuals can achieve such feats, what can we pull off in our own lives? Viva la human power.

[Disclosure: The writer is a friend of Huw Kingston, having joined him for three sections of the City2City trip.]