Thousands of people have summitted Mt. Everest, hundreds have rowed across the Atlantic, twelve have walked on the moon, and only two have circumnavigated the world from east to west, solely on human power. In 2015, no one has ever completed a circumnavigation from north to south without motors or sails.
South African Angelo Wilkie-Page is looking to be the first. On November 20, 2014, Wilkie-Page began his eight year attempt, which he calls “Expedition 720,” that will include two human-powered circumnavigations. The first, from east to west, will serve as a training period for his second, a pole-to-pole journey.
Wilkie-Page is also looking to increase awareness about hunger and poverty along the way. His goal is to raise over $1 million for Heifer International South Africa, which would take 2,500 families or 10,000 individuals out of hunger and poverty in South Africa.
Over the last year, he’s cycled from Los Angeles to Fairbanks and then kayaked, pack rafted, and portaged from Fairbanks to Nome. Along the way, Wilkie-Page has suffered from frostbite in the Canadian Yukon, had a close encounter with a grizzly along the Unalakleet River, and fought through the wrath of the Alaska’s unforgiving environments.
But, Wilkie-Page says, his journey from Fairbanks to Nome has been the best part of his expedition so far.
“Alaska has truly exceeded my expectations,” Wilkie-Page explained, adding that “the scenery changes around every corner, the weather changes, and it’s a pretty harsh but beautiful environment.”
He’s visited countless communities between Fairbanks and Nome and described the smaller villages like Golovin and Galena as “strong communities” with “incredible people living in those villages.”
From Nome, Wilkie-Page will row across the Bering Strait to Russia and then bike from the Far East to Cape Town, South Africa, to complete the second leg of his journey.