Could you cycle round the world on $3 a day – This guy thinks he can.
Ben Page, from the UK, left university on a mission. He didn’t have a graduate job lined up, or a definite career path ahead of him. He had a bike. A bike and a very long way to cycle.
Back in 2014, Ben got himself as far towards the other end of the world as he could imagine: Tierra del Fuego in South America. With a custom built mountain bike and a four season tent, he set off around the world without much pre-planning.
His route would evolve as he cycled. As did the kit he carried and the type of bike he rode on.
Many months and over 15000 kilometers later, he was alone in the Canadian Arctic… during winter. Snow and ice, freezing cold winds – not anyone’s idea of cycling heaven. In fact, if you’ve heard of Ben, it’s probably because of his movie: the Frozen Road.
Full of personal doubt and indecision he explores how tumultuous and difficult adventure can be. In a world where adventure travel is idealized on Instagram, it’s a refreshing reminder of the reality of exploration. You can see the trailer for Frozen Road below and other videos from his trip on Vimeo.
After losing and finding himself in the Arctic, Ben traveled East. Meeting up with three friends, he cycled across Asia from Beijing. He describes this phase of the journey in stark contrast to the bitter time in the north: light-hearted companionship.
At the moment, Ben is quite hard to track. His website, Another Horizon, marks his last known location as Nairobi, while his Instagram has him on the slopes of Mount Kenya in the snow.
Where did the idea for this trip come from? Ben says it was a growing conviction, forming itself out of his childhood and being realized during his time at university. He’d always loved reading about other people’s adventures as a kid. Eventually, he realized it was time to have his own. Cycling and camping were two outdoors activities he’d always enjoyed – and so it fell into place.
Many young Brits go traveling before and after university courses. It’s becoming a common way of getting world experience and working out who you really are. But, instead of the classic Gap Year or flash travel trip with friends, Ben went for something deeper. He decided that he wanted to challenge his mind and body, whilst seeing the world slowly. If it took him several years, then so much the better.
So why the $3 a day challenge? Unlike some other adventurers, he didn’t do this to make a statement or prove a point. It’s his budget; it’s all he’s got. That means he has to stick to it. During his time studying, Ben scrimped and saved as much as he could – from part time jobs and his student loan. He did well and started the trip with £9000 (approximately $11000) of savings to see him through. Surprisingly, it seems to be enough to manage comfortably in most countries, even with the stomach of a hungry cyclist.
The adventure that began in South America in 2014 is due to end soon. Ben predicts that he’ll be back home in Yorkshire, England by the end of 2017. He’s looking forward to his first cup of Yorkshire tea.
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Emily Woodhouse is a freelance outdoors writer, with a love for adventure and inspiring others. Her obsession with mountains probably started in Yosemite, age about 2. Born in the US but now based in the UK, she enjoys traveling in Europe and camping under the stars. Follow on Twitter: @TravellingLine
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