Thursday, June 13, 2013


365 days ago I set out with a goal to circumnavigate the world. I didn't know where I would land on the map, how I would get to wherever and who I would meet along the way. I just knew I had to make it back to the place I call home. Back to 77 Maple Rd.
I got a little choked up on the bike ride home this morning. Not because the air was cool and the rain stung with every frigid drop that slapped my skin, but because I started thinking of the last 364 days that got me to this point. The days and months and thousands of miles that all added up to the last day and the last 70 miles of open road separating me from the completion of my year long saga.
I thought about my ever-inspiring Bike & Builders that were crazy enough to ride their bikes across the country despite having never really cycled long distances before. I though about the sailors in San Diego doing the dirty work so students could have a safe transit to Hawaii. I'm always thinking about how much fun I had with my family in Hilo and the truly epic adventures we embarked on. I thought about Kegan and the Kiwi hospitality, Mom in Malaysia, trains through Thailand and of the very holistic experience I got in Zimbabwe. I thought about the shear magnitude of this great planet and the billions of people that are spread throughout it.
I couldn't have completed this trip were it not for the help I got along the way. I'm not just saying that to say it either. Really, I couldn't have left 77 Maple if mom didn't give me a ride! I'm so grateful for the people that helped me make it around. The support of my family and friends and the hospitality of total strangers really meant the world to me. I know I've got a lot of "paying it forward" to do.
Growing up my dad used to always say, "you only go around once." It usually served as a sort of justification to buy a boat or a fancy dinner. I don't think he ever expected me to take it literally. I still live by that mantra and I hope I always do. It seemed fitting when I started conceptualizing this trip. If there was one thing I had to do before I died it was to circle the world. I had to keep peaking over the horizon in order to put my place in this world on a tangible scale. I had to go around, just once, I had to do it.
See, what used to consume my mind was the world beyond the great US of A. "What's going on over there?" "Who are those people?" I went crazy trying to guess so one day I said, "fuck it, I'm going to find out." I only hit a handful of countries along the way but I caught the gist of it. It's vast. Couldn't tell you about the majority of the world's 195 countries but I've seen some shit and met some people. I satisfied my worldly thirst. For now at least...
As I stand, I'm 22 years old, unemployed and on the verge of broke. Well I'm beyond broke actually if you count student loans. I don't know what's next. I don't have a plan. I don't even know what to do tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll make it to age 50 or if I'll see the sun rise on June 14th. And of the 8,322 days I've been alive, there is not one that I regret.
So I chased the sun for a year to see where it sets. To see what lies beyond. The further I went, the closer I got until one day I found myself right back where I started. Just like the sun.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Back To The Races

Just a week ago I was tracking lions in rural Zimbabwe. Now I'm in New York City. For those who say time machines don't exist; you're wrong. It's called an airplane.
I lost track of the total travel hours but between a five hour drive to the South African border, four hours to Johannesburg, train travel, wait times, eight hours to Qatar, layover, thirteen hours to NY, and a bus ride to Grand Central station, it took almost 40 hours to finally see a familiar face. Big shout out to my man Mitri for providing the smile.
Culture shock? Pfff, ya right. This is my country. These are my people. Try stabbing pigs in the rainforest. That's culture shock. Try hitchhiking a foreign country or witnessing an entire family sleep on a cardboard box next to a dumpster. That's culture shock. Try having a Buddhist monk make a move for you're private parts. That's fucked up, and very culturally shocking. Then try going to a country where the white man is a sharp minority, women walk around barefoot with babies on their backs, baskets on their heads and have a tiny mud hut to call home. Fascinating, but a shock to the senses.
I knew what I was coming back to. I knew what to expect. I had to take a few steps away to appreciate it but I knew damn well what America represented and continues to represent.
The journey's not complete until I touch down where I started but, for now, it's good to be back in the motherland.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When You Least Expect It

I spent hours walking through the bush trying to spot a giraffe. Some days I would get up before sunrise and walk around the Save Conservancy to try and spot them on the morning commute. We took game drives throughout the day and tiptoed around the watering holes but still, no giraffes spotted.
Then one day we were driving back from town and boom! Smack in the middle of the road were almost a dozen giraffe just going about their day. All that time spent following giraffe footprints led to nowhere and now, with a beer in hand in the late afternoon, we stumble upon a whole heard. What a magnificent creature with a sort of magical aura about them. Just when you least expect it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Operation Rhino Pick-Up

Black rhinos are one of the most endangered species in the world and, as aforementioned in a previous post, continue to dwindle due to poaching.
We had the opportunity to take part in an operation to sedate and transport a baby rhino that had been shot and needed medical attention. The World Wildlife Foundation spearheaded the operation and brought in the Calvary to get the job done.
A team had been sent into the bush to track and dart the baby rhino. The problem, her mother was not keen to have her child taken by a swarm of people. Once the baby rhino was sedated the mother went astray and a plane circled above to make sure she didn't charge the operation while we were on the ground. Apparently the baby rhino was darted before and given antibiotics to heal a gunshot wound to the leg but the infection persisted and the leg was far from healed. We hopped in the trucks and offroaded to the sight of the rhino to see if we could lend a hand. I lent two trying to lift a heavy 18 month old rhino into a pick up truck. Glenton flew his leopard painted helicopter into the site incase she needed to be airlifted but his service was not needed. The rhino went with the government vet to a clinic to be further evaluated.
I've come to find out that this baby rhino was subsequently put down. Her leg was beyond saving and with and amputated leg she would never survive in the wild. I felt sorry for her mother that had to witness her daughter shot and captured twice by the men with guns. Perhaps one day the mother will be shot and dehorned as well but until that day, I hope she charges with all her fury at anyone who comes to try and take her too. What really sickens me though, rhino horns are regenerable. They are made of keratin, the same thing your fingernails are comprised of. You could dart a rhino, cut off its $100,000+ horn and find it in another two years with a horn of equal size. The problem, economics. Keep supplies low and stockpiled then the demand and price rise.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Walk In The Woods

Robbie and I did a bit of anti-poaching/game sighting in the bush of the Save Conservancy. I'm usually opposed to walking aimlessly in the woods. I'm just opposed to walking actually. But at the prospect if spotting lion, giraffe, elephants and various African wildlife, I was keen to romp around. Plus, Rob gave me a shotgun to carry around and a cutoff safari button up. What more could a kid ask for!
Rhino and elephant poaching is huge in southern Africa. Hence the reason rhinos have been rapidly climbing the endangered species list. Just a week before I arrived in Zim, a rhino was killed just a few miles from the Davy house and dehorned (that's all poachers want us the horn. Its a natural aphrodisiac and supposedly the Asians make medicines and wines with it. It must get them horny... Get it?). Anyways, the rhino was killed using an AK 47 automatic machine gun... The same kind the Zimbabwean military uses if you catch my drift. While Rob and I were getting locked and loaded he looked at me rather serious and said, "it's unlikely to happen but if someone starts shooting at us we need to split in opposite directions, find out where the shots are coming from and shoot back." In my head I thought, "ya I'm gunna split alright but I ain't sticking around for a shoot out with some crooked poachers. I'm gettin the fuck out of here!" In a more austere tone I replied, "Are we shooting to kill or to scare?" I was delighted to find out that any situation is circumstantial but scaring would come before killing. Fortunately for all parties, no poachers were encountered and no shots were fired.
Instead, we spotted some zebra butts as they ran away and a few fresh lion doodies next to a recently killed impala. We followed the tracks for a bit but never caught sight of any lions. The giraffes we saw were in the form of skeletons which are surprisingly impressive in and of their own.
We trekked for a few hours in the beautiful Zimbabwean morning, caught some rays, and learned a little something about African wildlife. Not your typical morning stroll but it definitely got the blood pumping.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A World Of Wonder

Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. As a world traveler, it only seemed right to have a look. I hope these pictures do it justice.