A journey of 1000 miles does not start with a single step, it begins with an idea...
Expedition1000 is my pet project, a long-term aim to take on twenty-five journeys, each one a minimum of 1000 miles (1600km), each one using a different form of non-motorised transport.
You want to do what?!
It's a fair question, one worth asking of anyone who decides to do something a little differently. In a simple answer, Expedition1000 is the project that ticks all the boxes for me. It gives me an identity, a reason to get up in the morning, and a longer term focus than just one adventure at a time - which in turn helps to alleviate the grumps that tend to follow a big project. I don't always have the answer to "what's next?" but for the time being, I at least know there will be a "next."
MILES ARE ALMOST AS TASTY AS A FULL ENGLISH
By the time I cooked up the idea for Expedition1000 I knew that I didn't want to work in an office, and that I did want to live myself clever - in other words, everything I did had to be an investment, a reason to learn and practice the skills that would ultimately bring in enough money to survive as a nomadic type. Expedition1000 was a huge commitment, so I had to set my life up to be able to achieve it. There wasn't time for a 9 to 5. I'd never have the money for grossly expensive challenges like climbing Everest or rowing an ocean, so I had to zero in on the right choices for me and my situation, which meant doing everything on a fairly low level.
Honestly, I see the challenge of carving out a lifestyle and income to make Expedition1000 possible as more of a challenge than the twenty-five journeys themselves. This is a self-taught mission and I feel like I'm winging it every day.
It's not easy to travel 1000 miles, so each journey is a challenge in its own right, and while accumulatively the total distance will be longer than the circumference of the Earth around the Equator, designed as an ambitious opportunity to push limits, explore and have a positive impact along the way, especially when this involves encouraging other people to take an extra step forward.
At the most simple level, I really enjoy a good, long plod. I've listed some of the reasons behind Expedition1000 below, but knowing that a journey must be non-motorised and take me over 1000 miles makes it easier to narrow down options for the next venture.
Although some of my trips might seem a bit random individually, they each mean a little more because they're part of something bigger. It's a personal project with no competition, records, times or speeds at stake, which means they're done for the right reasons. It makes my life better, brighter and richer, it's that simple.
The essence of Expedition1000
There are lots of reasons to travel slowly over a long distance, and I've tried to list my main reasons/ methods behind Expedition1000 below. If you have an interest in endurance travel I hope some of these are interesting to you:
We all have a bubble and if we spend too long doing the same thing with the same people, talking and thinking about the same stuff, we lose perspective. I need to get out of my bubble as often as I can, because it's really not very interesting.
I travel as a reminder that people are good. It's easy to forget this when you live in a city (as I do), and I often travel in populated regions because the human connections I make tend to form the spine of any journey and story. We live in a wonderful world, and mustn't forget it.
Travelling without a motor and camping most nights is cheap. Adventure doesn't have to be expensive - only two of my trips have cost more than £1000 (and those had support crews). I'm aware that I'm fortunate enough to be in the physical, mental and financial position to choose to do this stuff, but can't justify spending thousands of pounds on a single adventure.
Slow travel heightens awareness and appreciation of ones surroundings.
I feel more grateful for the roof over my head when I've spent a lot of time outside.
Comfort kills ambition, and although I like a good rest Expedition1000 means I can't get too comfortable.
It feels great to have a story to tell, and when new things happen everyday for a prolonged period of time life is certainly not boring.
Optimism, confidence and instinct are muscles, we have to exercise them and by getting out into the unknown.
I don't really prepare for these trips beyond working out what might stop a journey prematurely, and making sure I can avoid these things, or at the least be ready to deal with them when they come along. Dangers aside, I have a pretty healthy trust in life working itself out, and over-planning can squeeze the juice out of any experience before it has happened.
I'm not very good at going to the gym (or heading out for a run) everyday so a long journey or two each year stops me getting fat.
I'm a control freak. I choose to pay for my own trips rather than let a sponsor or fundraising commitments dominate how I spend my time and energy.
I really enjoy spending time by myself. I have my social moments but as an introvert crowds of people exhaust me. It's helpful being comfortable in your own company, that way you don't make friendships and sustain relationships for the wrong reasons (ie. you need to hang out with anyone!)
If you ask a question, I'll reply to you but will also put the answer here:
Q: Why 25 journeys?
A: I felt the need for a long-term project. Not one I could just tick off in two, three or even five years. Twenty-five felt like the right figure, plus 25,000 miles is roughly the distance around the planet, so there was a nice symmetry to it.
Q: What are you going to do after Expedition1000?
A: I don't even know what my next journey is going to be, so you'll have to ask me when I'm finished! Perhaps twenty-five motorised journeys?!
And for all the journeys that have gone before, click the relevant image below to find out the full story...
Chamberlain, SD to St Louis, MO down Missouri River
The 'No I'm not going to travel 1000 miles on that!' list
Halfbike, Folding Bike, Wheelchair, Kangoo Boots, Parachute/ Wingsuit multi-jump journey, Skijöring - skiing pulled by animal, Hydrospeed, Hydrocycle, Velomobile, Hand Cycle, Sit-in-Ski, Champiot, Quadracycle, Rockboard, Stringbike, Pedal Coupe, Monovelo, Iceboat, Human powered aircraft, Rowbike, Human Powered Hydrofoil, Horse and Cart/ Chariot, Handcar/ Railcar/ Velocipede/ Kalamazoo/ Pump Trolley, Waterpillar, Land Paddle, Packraft, Snowshoes, Elephant, Camel, Stilts, Ice Skates, Kite Boat, Shopping Trolley, Chariot Skates, Glider, Scuba Dive, Ski Bike, Sbyke, Kick sled on snow, Heelies, Picar Trike, Mochet Velocar, Auburn Speedster Jr, Tall Bike, Traditional Panamanian "Kayuco", Buffalo Ice Bike, Ski Joering
THE LIST: OTHER ways to travel 1000 miles without a motor
Hobie Stand Up Pedal Board
Snow Kite (Ski or Snowboard)
Float (on a rubber ring)