Quick Interviews from the Edge of Adventure.
Adventurer Angelo Wilkie-Page
2015 is a great time for exploration and human achievement; with adventurers and organizations reaching new heights and accomplishing more than ever. I have taken on larger expeditions myself, and I try to grasp the challenge ahead of Adventurer Angelo Wilkie-Page. It's more than difficult. So in my opinion, I consider Angelo the most ambitious adventurer in the world.
At the time of this interview, Angelo had been bicycling north through Canada and on his way to Anchorage. He is on the first 6150 km leg of an eight year expedition that will take him around the planet twice…strictly on human power. First lap: crossing every line of longitude. Second round: crossing every line of latitude. Thats right, both poles are included. Moreover, this expedition will get him world-wide press and so he is using it to raise $1 million USD for Heifer International (H.I.). That lofty goal will be for the purchase of livestock, which he will give to H.I. South Africa, his home.
This interview should be considered Volume 1 of an ongoing interview for the next 8 years. I'll be watching this expedition very closely, as Angelo has extended an invitation to join him during a portion of it, but that story is for another time. For now, here is a brief insight and introduction to one of world greats. I hope you enjoy it.
Please feel free to follow his journey or donate to a great cause at: www.Expedition720degrees.com.
Mountain Folk Adventure: “World Firsts” are harder and harder to accomplish. So much so, it can be hard to even dream them up. How did you come to this idea of circumnavigating the Earth twice?
Angelo Wilkie-Page: I still believe that there are many “true world firsts” out there. Sometimes it takes a unique experience to inspire you to search for them. The idea for Expedition 720 degrees was born from my days sailing. I wanted to circumnavigate the world it was just a matter of how. Then I came across the human powered concept and was instantly drawn to it. In my mind the East to West part is training for the pole to pole.
MFA: I've travelled quite a bit, but never to South Africa. How is the adventure community there? Who are your biggest inspirations and heroes that helped you decide to take on such a challenge?
AWP: South Africa has a large outdoors community; I think it’s largely due to the climate and geographical position of the country. South Africa has produced some great explorers such as Mike Horn. No one inspired me or helped me decide to take on this challenge; this was my decision and idea from the start. What I will say is that since starting the project I have been inspired and drawn motivation from follow adventurers and explorers such as De Bruyn Jorubert and Erden Eruc.
MFA: The first segment of the trip is a 6150km ride. You have been going for over 2 months now. I know there is always a steep learning curve when starting any serious expedition. What has been the hardest and most surprising thing you’ve learned in your first 2 months on the road?
AWP: The hardest thing to date has been adjusting to the cold temperatures, prior to the expedition the coldest environment I had been in was winter in Bosnia, around – 15C, and British Columbia is producing temperatures far below -30C. I also think that I might have underestimated the amount of climbing in B.C. The most surprising factor has been the kindness and generosity of people.
MFA: I recently saw a picture of your frost bitten, blackened toe! How is it? Will it slow you down?
AWP: Yes, I managed to get a small dose of frostbite in my left toe due to failure of equipment. I’m taking a 2 week break in Vancouver to let it recover, I don’t think that it will be completely healed in 2 weeks, but I need to get on back on the road. This is a minor set back and should not affect the overall project or timeline.
MFA: For someone that isn’t familiar with Heifer International, give us a quick rundown on the good they do? And why is it important to you to help them?
AWP: Heifer International are fighting against hunger and poverty world wide. They run on the basic principle of teaching a man how to fish. Heifer go into the most neediest communities and help teach individuals and families to become agriculturally self sustainable buy giving them the tools that are necessary such as seeds, live stock and the knowledge to apply these skills. I chose Heifer International South Africa, as I believe in making a difference locally.
MFA: You want to raise $1Million USD worth of livestock for Heifer Int.? How’s it going? How would someone donate to the goal?
AWP: Yes it’s a very ambitious target much like the expedition. The fund raising efforts are still at the early stages and would love to encourage individuals and corporate companies to get involved as this is bigger than one mans dream and I need a much help as I can get to reach the goal. If the goal is reached we would affectively take 2,500 families or more than 10,000 individuals off the poverty line in South Africa.
MFA: You’re now biking north, through Canada, on your way to Anchorage, tell us about your bicycle? Tell us your favorite thing about riding through North America?
AWP: I ride a trek 29er MTB currently with metal studded tires, the bike has done extremely well and hope it holds out for the remaining 2500km. Ive had to change the back wheel as I had 4 spokes break in a single day, other than that I have been really lucky with the bike. My favorite part about North America was Big Sur, and the giant redwood trees in northern California. The Pacific north coast was very impressive, looking back now the weather was great!
MFA: My favorite question…what piece of gear has been the biggest disappointment so far on this adventure? Why? What equipment has been the best?
AWP: The biggest disappointment where the North45 cycling boots, they where extremely difficult to put on in the mornings took as long as packing away my tent, bad with moisture and did not hold up in the cold as expected. I have a few items that have exceeded my expectations 1. My electric heated gloves from Chaval make the world of difference and heat up my hands in a couple of minutes. My exped down sleeping pad, comfortable, lightweight, and easy to inflate and packs away with minimal space. The last has to be my Arkal rear panniers as they are compartmentalized and hard wearing with big zips that don’t freeze up.
MFA: Thanks so much for your time. I wish you all the luck in the world.