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Pedaling to Hawaii: A Human-Powered Odysseyby Stevie Smith
Synopses & Reviews
On the morning of June 26th, 1991, twenty-six-year-old Englishman Stevie Smith stared at the computer screen in his Paris office and asked himself a simple question: What should I do with my life? By the end of the day, that broad question led to an amazing, if not fairly ridiculous, notion. What if he were to embark on an adventure? What if he were to do something no person had ever done before? What if he were to travel around the earth using nothing but his own two legs to drive him?
Oh, sure. He'd never ridden his bike farther than the local pub. He'd never spent a night on a boat. He knew nothing about navigation. He was a bit out of shape. And he had no money.
But how hard could it be?
From one crazy idea a great adventure was born. Three years later, Stevie and his friend Jason began an incredible journey, to be the first people to circumnavigate the globe under human power alone. No wind, no solar power, no engines. Just legs and arms and will. Blundering but determined, with no sponsorship and a haphazard selection of equipment — including a custom-made pedal boat named Moksha (Sanskrit for "freedom") — they would learn to survive hallucinations, salt sores, a mid-ocean capsizing of their boat, and even each other — barely. Pedaling to Hawaii is a hilarious, warm, and refreshingly non-heroic account of a voyage in search of true adventure and a different kind of life. For anyone who has ever dreamt of breaking away from routine, this story reveals what is possible.
"In 1994, two English adventurers in their late 20s embarked on Expedition 360, an underfunded attempt, initially sans sponsorship, to circumnavigate the world using only human power. Instead of relying on sails, balloons and motors, Smith and his traveling companion, Jason Lewis, used bicycles, skates, kayaks and their 26-foot pedal boat, 'a ruthlessly Spartan composite of varnished plywood, plastic, and steel as cosy as a cheap coffin.' Crossing the English Channel that summer, they biked through France, Spain and Portugal, then set forth on a 'seemingly endless expanse: 4,250 nautical miles of ocean to pedal across at walking speed.' Pedaling through the Atlantic in two-hour day shifts and four-hour night shifts, the duo arrived in Miami 111 days later, and then cycled and skated across America, eventually pedaling the Pacific. Smith is an accomplished writer, contrasting evocative descriptions of dolphins, seascapes and beckoning vistas with stories of days of fatigue, boredom and his own wild fantasies. He interweaves environmental observations and his inner spiritual quest with powerful passages on the more harrowing moments. Neither man had previously spent a night at sea, and mentions of their oversights and inexperience add to the suspense in this entertaining yarn. Nine maps, 10 b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Smith explores their desire to achieve the seemingly impossible and documents the ambition, courage, and physical and mental endurance the journey required." Library Journal
"This has got to rank as the most warts-and-all account of an expedition I've ever read...talk about 'in over your head.' But precisely for that reason it's both fascinating and inspiring; if they pulled this off, what can't you do?" Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home: A Long Walk across America's Most Hopeful Landscape
"If it is crazy to follow your dreams, then Stevie Smith is crazy. But if you believe, as I do, that adventure is more important than security, you will find this uninhibited, hilarious, and sometimes terrifying account of an under-funded, human-powered trip around the world irresistible. I salute Stevie Smith, and hope for more!" Stephen Bodio, author of Eagle Dreams and uerencia
"If you're looking for ways to ignite your sense of adventure, pick up Pedaling to Hawaii. The physical and logistical challenges of human powered travel are great. Stevie approaches them all with that typically British sense of wry understatement. Pedaling a small boat across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans may seem like lunacy...and it is. Luckily, Stevie Smith's writing style allows us to get inside his mind and see the value, and especially the humor, in the whole endeavor." Conrad Anker
"If you believe, as I do, that we all have something extraordinary within us, this wonderful book will inspire you to begin your dream...and follow it through." Richard Branson
An amazing and deeply insightful account of how two normal guys decided to embark upon the unthinkable: an attempt to circumnavigate the globe using just human powered means.
On a rainy, miserable Monday morning in Paris a twenty-something bureaucrat decides there must be more to life than the United Nations project on which he is working. Stevie Smith tries to figure out what he could do of great significance and hit upon the notion of a trip around the world using only human powerno motors, no sails, no balloonsmaybe the last great first. With no experience, no particular expedition skills, and no money, the adventure begins.
A pedal-powered boat, a bike, in-line skates, and a lot of hilarious non-heroics take Stevie and his buddy, Jason, where no one has gone before. A bike ride through Europe by a guy who's never ridden much beyond the corner grocery; a pedal-boat trip across the Atlantic in 111 days by two guys whose combined sailing experience was a bout or two in a dinghy on the English coast; a bike and in-line skates get them across America; more pedaling to Hawaii
No travel writing has more accurately captured the old adage, "it's the journey and not the destination." Therein lies the simple beauty of this entertaining travel talea search for simplicity, integrity, and freedom. 12 black & white photographs.
About the Author
Englishman Stevie Smith, now a Buddhist priest and ferryman, is a former environmental consultant who conceived of the expedition to circumnavigate the globe under human power (now called Expedition 360) in 1991 while staring from his office window on a gray Monday morning in Paris. He continues to provide lectures on the subject around the world. When he's not traveling, he lives in Devon, England.
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