Imagine making a decision that takes the next 13 years of your life, of being so passionate about a subject that you travel via human power alone (bike, peddle boat, walking) across the entire world-an endeavor that Jason Lewis admits probably has taken what will be a quarter of his adult life to complete.
The forty year old Jason Lewis is the adventurer who has dedicated 13 years of his life to a 46,000 mile adventure that most of us can’t even begin to comprehend. Saturday, October 6, 2007, was the final day of what they called “Expedition 360.” Jason Lewis pealed his 26 foot boat up the River Thames to complete a true circumnavigation of the globe, completing an amazing journey.
Why would anyone undertake such a crazy trip? The Goals and Objectives section of the “Expedition 360” page states: “Goals and Objectives: to circle the world by means of human power alone to use the adventure as a classroom learning tool to encourage world citizenship between cultures to promote environmental responsibility to live fully and enjoy the experience.”
They have done some great good. Aside from giving talks along the way for charity fund raisers, colleges, and schools: over $65,000 has been raised for orphanages in impoverished nations. While there were many great views and experiences over the thirteen years, there was plenty of stress and difficult moments, as well. The last leg of the trip was a bike ride from Turkey to Belgium that stretches over 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) before peddle boating to England. That physical demand gives an idea of the stress from the journey.
In addition, his boat capsized in the Atlantic Ocean, he broke both legs in the United States, was chased by a crocodile in Australia, an was arrested in Egypt because he was suspected of being a spy after crossing the border from Sudan, and was threatened with a 40 year prison sentence.
Lewis was crying at the finish, and was met by a large crowd of fans, supporters, and well wishers who welcomed him home. The emotion had to be incredible. Lewis was quoted as saying: “Everything I’ve been doing for the last thirteen years has been in some way connected to this trip and tomorrow that will be no more.”
It’s hard to imagine what would qualify as a vacation for Jason Lewis at this point. After having life and limb threatened, he has poured so much of his life into this expedition, and it’s hard not to believe that a book deal will come out of such an amazing trip. There is even the fantastic angle of growth, as Jason himself admits that the “why?” question of why to take a trip like this changed over the years. It shifted more from personal adventure to using the journey as an educational tool for children.
What might make this even more amazing, is that Jason Lewis was one of the original travelers on this journey, but he wasn’t the founder. Founder of “Expedition 360” was Steve Smith, who stayed with the expedition until 1998, when he left in Hawaii to pursue other interests. Jason continued the Pacific crossing to Australia. After some rest, Jason Lewis has mentioned wanting to work organizing mini-adventures for young travelers, and to continue to give talks on climate change and other global issues.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can find great information on “Expedition 360” on the Expedition 360 web site, including more detailed information on all 16 legs of the journey.
List of Sources:
“British Adventurer ends 13 year human powered world trip” http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071006/lf_afp/lifestylebritaintraveladventurepeople_071006174058
“Expedition 360 Jason Lewis” http://www.expedition360.com/who_we_are/jason_lewis_bio.htm