Thursday morning at 11 a.m., South Africa native Angelo Wilkie-Page, 29, will depart from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to begin an eight-year journey that could make him the first person to circumnavigate the globe from east to west and pole to pole using only human power.
That means no sails, no motors, and no solar power—just a whole lot of sweat and some serious determination. But that's something the Ironman endurance athlete and professional sailor is used to.
"To do this, I can't have any support," he tells GrindTV on the eve of his departure. "I can't have another person in the kayak or biking with me."
If Wilkie-Page is successful in his mission, dubbed Expedition 720⁰, he'll break four world records along the way, including becoming the first person to complete both circumnavigations using only human power by hiking, biking, kayaking, and manning a custom rowboat across some of the most challenging terrain in the world.
"One of the major potential challenges in being alone for extended periods of time," he admits. "I'm crossing the Atlantic for 90 days completely solo. I've never been 90 days on my own before."
Another potential roadblock? The weather.
"There are very small windows of time where some of my route is passable," he explains, saying the entire eight-journey will consist of a few different legs since continuous travel would be logistically impossible. "If I have bad timing, I could lose eight months, which will completely destroy my chances. It's very tricky."
Still, Wilkie-Page says extensive cold-weather training in Nepal coupled with his commitment to raise $1 million for Heifer International South Africa should help keep him fixed on his goal of completing the ultimate in human endurance and willpower.
"Why am I doing this? I could give you the generic answer, or I could tell you that I can't give you an exact reason why," Wilkie-Page laughs. "The 'why' will be discovered along the way."
As for his last night in Los Angeles? He'll be meeting up with his nephew for the first time ever before starting the first leg of his trip: a bike ride north to Alaska.
"And maybe just pizza and a beer," he adds. Follow his journey at expedition720degrees.com.
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