I grew up with a lake in my backyard. My relationship with water is intimate.
I’ve been swimming since I was in diapers. Water-diapers, I guess. We had a rowboat, and that was where my paddling began.
After numerous day-trips over the course of my life in everything from dubious inflatable kayaks to top-of-the-line sea kayaks, I was inspired to do a major trek by kayak.
In April of 2014, shortly after breaking the world record for Longest Unicycle Trip, I set out to cross from Panama to Colombia. Englishman Nicholas Gault and I chose to kayak through the region of Panama called Kuna Yala (or the “San Blas” Islands). We chose this arduous, bug-infested route to bypass a dangerous and slightly more arduous and buggy region known as the Darien Gap.
We chose to paddle 160 miles (250 km) along the eastern coastline of Panama not in a top-of-the-line composite kayak but a solid wooden dugout canoe. This traditional “cayuko” has been used by the indigenous Kuna Yala people to pass along the islands for generations. Of course, for their long journeys these days, the locals use speedboats. But we were adamant to do it the “traditional way.” (Filmed on my GoPro 3 prior to it getting stolen in Colombia.) Watch our journey in four parts:
In 2016 my unicycle journey will take me down the west coast to Los Angeles. From there I will turn inland and north to the source of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. In August, I will begin kayaking North America’s longest river, all 2,350 miles (3,800 km) of it. At Pilottown, Louisiana, where the Mississippi terminates, I will turn east along the Gulf Coast to Florida. I will kayak around the coast of Florida to West Palm Beach. In January of 2017, after necessary preparations, I will embark on the Caribbean leg.
This will take me through over 15 countries and territories, ending with the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela at Guiria.
From there, it’s back to unicycling for another 10-15,000 miles through every country in South America and ultimately to the end of the earth–Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. The southernmost point on the continent.