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5 Adventure Travelers who Inspire Me

15 May 2020

As an adventurer and traveler myself, I follow several other adventure travelers on Instagram. They inspire me and make me want to go out to explore the wold myself. For those without Instagram, no worries, all five adventurers also have a Facebook-account.

Curious who I follow? Here are the 5 Adventurer Travelers that I highly recommend, but be warned, none of them are traveling on a motorcycle!

1. Victor Zichó - @zicho.hu

Victor is a Hungarian traveler, traveling from Hungary to Darjeeling in India on a recumbent bicycle. An adventurer at heart and a talented photographer. His pictures will certainly wake up that inner adventurer in you! He impressed me when he carried his bicycle across the majestic Hindu Kush mountains into Pakistan during wintertime. His stories of traversing the snowy Afghanistan mountaintops are truly unique and inspirational.

Victor: “I am following the route of the famous Hungarian philologist, Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, who was the first to write a Tibetian-English dictionary. The concept is as follows: I am following his path as punctual as possible, taking the least risk as possible. He went through Afghanistan, so I had to choose a route here too. I informed myself through different media about safe and risky places in Afghanistan. I found out that most of the routes were not viable without taking too much risk, except for the east part of the country.”

“So I entered at Ishkashim, and I asked locals for information about which route to take. Everyone said that the Kabul-Torkham route was occupied by the Taliban, so it was not the way that I should take. They advised me to take an alternate route, go through the mountain pass of the Wakhan Corridor, they said. I had the hardest bike ride of my life on pathless roads in the Wakhan over 200 kilometers. Then I started ascending to the border, mostly pushing and carrying my bicycle.

It lasted 4 days and I slept 2 nights over 3800 m asl. at -20 °C. There was NOTHING around me, only the snow-capped mountains. After I have reached the border, the descent was super fine. I found a trail made by yaks in the snowfield on the southern slopes of the pass, so I could ride my bike! It was an amazing feeling! I am entering Pakistan from a mountain pass, where there was nobody and I am rolling downhill on my recumbent bike on a snowfield!”

“I totally exploited my 4 weeks spent in the Pakistan prison: I was training myself, did a lot of yoga and learnt swahili language from my Tanzanian convict mates”

Viktor spent 4 weeks in jail in Pakistan while trying to cross the border into India. He had a valid passport and valid visa but they thought he was a spy. After 4 weeks of doing fitness and workouts in his cell, he finally got bailed out. One hell of a story and this wasn't the end of his struggles. Not much later, he got stuck in a hospital in India for 5 weeks during the lockdown because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook, search for @Zicho.hu

2. Topher & Bridget - @expedition.earth.live

New Zealand couple Topher and Bridget have been traveling for 709 days now. Their vehicle is a white Jeep Wrangler lovingly called “Gunther”. In three years time, they've covered 350,000 kilometers spread over 7 continents. They have mastered the art of drone photography and are able to find the most stunning places on earth.

Their latest adventure included exploring Northern Russia and spending time with the nomadic reindeer herders, the Nenet people. In an area where temperatures regularly plummet under -50 degrees Celcius, the Nenet people are possibly amongst one of the hardiest people in the world.

Bridget: “We began our journey on the Yamal peninsula from Salekhard, a small Siberian shipping port sitting on the polar boundaries of Russia's Arctic Circle. Strategically positioned in the delta of the Ob river, Salekhard is completely inaccessible by car outside the winter months. The only way in or out of the region is to wait until the rivers have frozen thick, forming ‘Russian snow roads'.

Having battled our way through the scorching deserts of northern Africa and the length of South America's Andes the year before, we were feeling confident we could tackle Siberia's snow roads in our now well-equipped Jeep ‘Gunther'. The Yamal peninsula is ranked as having the world's most volatile weather pattern so solo driving is extremely risky. We were accompanied by a local guide called Roman and his Jeep, which sat on 2-meter-high wheels.”

“We carried an extra 160 liters of fuel on the roof which would get us to our destination and back with some extra gasoline in case of an emergency. In the freezing temperatures, fluctuating between -25C and -50C, we felt comfortable knowing we had our Webasto heaters keeping the engine and cabin from freezing overnight. After 2 excruciating days of plowing through thick snow and ice, we crawled into our camp with our Jeeps. At 5 am, we were greeted by two men cloaked from head to toe in reindeer hide who ushered us into their Chums for some tea.“

With their population steadily decreasing, the Nenets people and their culture will soon be lost.

Topher: “As we entered the chum, we first noticed the smell. The Nenets people do not bathe during the winter months. There is limited ventilation inside the chum to prevent heat loss, so with a family of 4 living, cooking and sleeping inside the chum together, with their dogs, gives quite an odor. With a wood-burning stove in the center of the chum, the inside is at a comfortable temperature.

Exhausted after our long drive, we managed to catch up on some much-needed sleep. We found ourselves waking up in the night with the dogs inside our sleeping bags, also escaping the cold. Our time with the Nenets was spent with ice fishing through the 3-meter-thick ice sheets upon the Ob River, keeping an eye on their 400+ herd of reindeer and learning about their traditions and beliefs.”

You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook, search for @expedition.earth.live

Expedition life in Siberia, Russia

 

3. Zoë and Olivier - @weleaf.nl

This Dutch-Belgium left their home in 2016 on secondhand bikes, and have been traveling the world non-stop since. And it's not just traveling that they do. All of their travelings is done on human power, without an engine. They have covered a total of 37,000 kilometers by now! Along their way, they document their travel adventures not only with incredible photography but also write engaging stories about their travels and they give lots of tips and tricks to those who want to do the same on their blog (readable in English and Dutch).

Zoë and Olivier left The Netherlands on their bicycles, but besides cycling for 27,000 kilometers, they've also hiked 1300 km, canoed more than 1000 km, and skied for 900 km. When skiing to Newfoundland, they both pulled a trailer of more than 40 kilograms each and slept in a tent with temperatures far below the freezing point.

Zoë: “We had never slept in snow, we never skied before and still we decided to do a three- month ski adventure during the Canadian winter. The past three years have learned us that trying new things isn't scary, but a challenge. We cycled 28.000 kilometers, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and did a 1.200-kilometer canoe trail, all without experience. We knew this winter expedition would be our greatest challenge as everything would be new to us. But we also knew the stakes were in our favor, we love snow, we prefer cold climates and enjoy physical challenges.”

The first nights in the tent temperatures dropped below -30 degrees”.

Olivier: “In our sleeping bags we are cozy and warm, but we know we have to get out and start the new day. Getting out of the sleeping bag, packing the gear with freezing fingers, eating oatmeal before it freezes, and then squeeze your feet in frozen boots. Every handling takes double the time from normal, especially the first mornings we had to develop a new routine. Once we start skiing we warm-up, our feet thaw and we can take a layer off. We smiled when we realized what we were doing, being surrounded by a white landscape in the middle of nature. There are many more challenges to come, but we take them step by step, motivated to learn new skills along the way.”

You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram, search for @weleaf.nl

4. Matthew Payne from @matthew_payne _adventurer

Matthew is a true overlander, photographer, videomaker and truck builder. He built his own custom truck to travel the world. He called his truck Mathilda, who is a red Leyland DAF T244 ex British Army truck. He left the UK with Mathilda on an expedition to Mongolia in May 2018 and returned in October 2019.

Traveling through Siberia in mid-winter meant that it was often below -30°c. He had to use his diesel heaters constantly to keep warm but when they failed, and it was so cold that the engine didn't start, he had to set a fire under the truck to start Mathilda's engine again. Talking about harsh conditions!

But the best feature of Mathilda is the special crane on top of the cabin. This means that Matthew can travel with a motorcycle, and use his own crane to lift the bike on or off. Whenever he spots some nice motorcycle trails he goes out and explores the area on two wheels, before returning to his house on four wheels!

Mathew: “Having such a big slow truck, I also wanted the ability to travel short distances in a more mobile way.  Whether it's to pop to the shops, having set up camp, or to explore the surrounding area. Matilda's motorcycle can be put either on the roof rack or on the front of the truck for severe off-roading.

Having the bike is also a great back up if something goes wrong with Matilda. On two occasions I have used the bike to head to a border in order to leave a country and re-enter to renew my visa. On both occasions, I could not use Matilda.”   

 I've not needed the motorcycle in an emergency but I have suffered some mechanical problems and I was very pleased to have another means of transport while waiting for parts

“Another time in Irkutsk, Siberia I had 2 cats that I rescued from the snow. They had been living with me for 2 weeks while I found a suitable home for them.  I found some wonderful people who ran a shelter where the cats would be cared for and found a home.  At that time, my truck was parked by the river while I was waiting for a clutch master cylinder to arrive from the UK.  Having the bike gave me the freedom to explore, as well as take the cats to the shelter. I put the 2 cats in my backpack and rode to the shelter on the Suzuki.  The cats didn't mind being in the bag but did want to see what was going on.  It was a sad day as the cats and I had really bonded.  They would have made great travel companions but my Russian visa was going to expire before I could get their documents.”

Matthew's next projects include circumnavigating the African continent, a solo expedition to reach the geographic North Pole using a self-built solar-powered vehicle, and a UK Tour.

You can follow Matthew Payne's adventures on Instagram and Facebook, search for @matthew_payne _adventurer

5. Tom Turcich from @theworldwalk

Tom is traveling the world without any vehicle: he is walking! He decided to do a five-year trip with the goal to walk in all 7 continents. During year one, he walked 4500 miles in North America. In year two, he did 5000 miles in South America and Antarctica. Year 3 he continued with hiking through Europe and Africa (5000 miles). He is now in his fourth year and heading towards Mongolia.

Although he started walking alone, he is not now anymore. After four months of walking, he adopted a cute puppy in Austin, Texas, and named her Savannah. In the beginning, he would push her along in his cart, but now she is an experienced walker and easily walks 30 miles per day with him.

Tom has an exceptional eye for photography and the photographs of people and places he sees along the way are fantastic.

You can follow Tom on Instagram and Facebook, search for @Theworldwalk

Those are my 5 favorite adventure travelers, not traveling on a motorbike, that I follow on Instagram. If you have any recommendations for other inspiring and amazing adventure travelers, please let me know by commenting on this article below.

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Dear Noraly, just one more: Ed Pratt from the UK: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLocRYksAqGOJnr-Y0eyP87P5banlFicp4. He unicycled the world. Alone with the same energy and finding his way in traveling, filming and problem solving along the way as you do. And with a lot of scenery and encounters with local people. You're both a big inspiration for me. With long covid for 20 month I am, thanks to you, an inspired virtual traveler for now, but my bike is patient and my time will come. All the best to you!

FrankOtV  | 

Started watching(following) when the videos were 5 minutes (long/short). It's great to see how far you have come. Wish you the best rides of all!

Somanna  | 

Still itchy?

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