Zero Emissions Odyssey
Kevin Shannon set off a few months ago to circumnavigate the globe, here he drops us a line to let us know how he’s going and what it’s all about. He’s taken with him a Hunka bivvy bag and a Filo down jacket. You can follow his movements through his website Because It Is There
It’s been 4 months since i took one last look at ‘dear old Blighty’. I set sail from England on June 8th with the intention of circumnavigating the globe using only human and natural power, an expedition i’ve dubbed ‘A Zero Emissions Odyssey’. The expedition has two main aims. Firstly i hope to raise awareness and funds for the charity Combat Stress, an organisation that treats veterans suffering from the psychological effects left over from their time spent serving in the British Armed Forces. Secondly, i hope to highlight the environmental impacts we are having on our planet by recording the accounts of small villages along my route who have witnessed and been effected by these changes.
So far I’ve pedaled my way through 6 countries and covered about 6000 kilometers. I’ve cycled my overloaded bike through 40 degree heat along the Med, slept in sub zero temperatures, been attacked by wild dogs, hit by a car and even met the Mafia. Looking back now, it does feel strange to have traveled across an entire continent and through 2 time zones under my own steam, but then i remember i have 4 more continents to conquer, two (rather large) oceans to sail across and 55,000 more kilometers to travel before i arrive at my front door for a nice brew.
The highlights so far have to be the people i have met along the way. I was always told by people who had undertaken cycling expeditions in various places on the planet, that i would experience great generosity and kindness from total strangers and they were right. For example, a postal worker in Italy, after seeing i was on a long journey by bicycle, shoved a 10 euro note into my hand and simply said “for breakfast” and walked off - i never even caught her name. Another time, a man in a small village in France saw me looking for somewhere to pitch a tent and beckoned me over to a small park and indicated i should sleep there before nipping home to grab a bottle of red wine and two glasses to toast my journey; he spoke no english and i spoke very little french but this didn’t seem to matter. In Slovenia, a car slowed down next to me, an arm holding a can of drink came out of the passenger window, and then, drink deposited into my hand, it sped of again without a word. These are just three stories from a whole catalog of great memories i have stored in the old brain box.
So what’s next? Well i’m preparing myself for the next stage of the journey which is to China and Southeast Asia, via the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Iran and ‘the Stans’. Just to make matters worse i will be entering this part of the world in the middle of winter where temperatures can drop as low as -30 (good job i brought along my Filo jacket!). And to top it all off i’m running low on funds for the expedition due to the lack of finding funding through a financial sponsor. But for me this is all part of the fun - as a friend reminded me the other day when i expressed my concerns about the upcoming leg, “It beats a 9-5!