South African adventurer Angelo Wilkie-Page will head out on November 20 for an expedition that will last about eight years. His plan is to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe from east to west and pole to pole without the help of motors, sails, or solar energy.
The attempt, called Expedition 720°, will break four world records if successful. Wilkie-Page would beat Turkish explorer Erden Eruc’s current record for east-to-west circumnavigation, completed in five years. He would also be the first person to complete a solo human-powered pole-to-pole circumnavigation. Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Charles Burton completed that feat between 1979 to 1982 with the help of snowmobiles; Mike Horn is currently undertaking a motorless circumnavigation with a team. If successful, Wilkie-Page will be the first person to complete both circumnavigations using only human power and will have covered the most distance on a human-powered expedition.
Expedition 720° will also help raise more than $1 million for Heifer International. Wilkie-Page plans to join the organization’s projects, which aim to alleviate poverty and hunger, throughout his travels.
Wilkie-Page will start with his east-to-west circumnavigation, heading out from Los Angeles. “I have sold off properties and virtually everything I own to get this project off the ground,” he wrote in a recent blog post. Among the life experiences that qualify him to complete the journey, he wrote, are ultramarathons, Ironman South Africa, long-distance cycling expeditions, sailing, and climbing in the Himalayas. “I believe that one cannot spend years preparing for this,” he wrote. “I had to set a starting date, and now it’s time to get going.”