On October 6th 2007, Jason Lewis walked across the Greenwich Meridian Line to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe using human power alone. Planned to be a 2-3 year adventure of a lifetime, the gruelling trip instead lasted more than 13 years – that’s commitment! At the age of 26 and struggling to make a living cleaning windows, Jason and his college friend, Stevie Smith. craved for adventure. In 1994 they embarked on one of man’s last unconquered expeditions, crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line in London for the last time in 13 years.
Seeking to power their way around the globe entirely under their own steam (without motors or sails) they started by cycling through Europe, an expedition in itself! In order to cross the Atlantic into America, on the next leg of the journey, the pair had built a pedal-powered boat named Moksha (meaning liberation in Sanskrit). The remarkable 26ft (8m) vessel was designed to be self-righting, had storage for supplies required for months at sea and had a top speed of three knots. By taking shifts at the pedals and the single sleeping compartment they crossed the Atlantic into Miami in 111 days. Continuing across America on roller-blades, Jason was hit by a drunk driver, breaking both his legs! Never one to give up however, after nine months of recovery, he continued on to the West Coast of America into San Francisco.
After pushing on across the Pacific into Hawaii, Stevie had to drop out. 73 days alone at sea later, Jason navigated himself to the tiny coral atoll of Tarawa. Support came in a group of students and expedition supporters joining him in Australia. After cycling with the group across the outback, he paddled from island to island on a kayak before making it to Singapore. Travelling illegally through East Tibet, Jason was slowed down by malaria and altitude sickness but managed to cross the Himalayas into India. From there he crossed, via boat, into Africa and ventured through the Sahara. As if the challenge wasn’t tough enough, Jason was mistaken for a spy and arrested on the Sudan Egypt border! The fact that Jason completed his goal in 2007 is credit to both him and Stevie, his supporters and the spirit of adventure!
Jason has now written a book called Dark Waters and Kenny Brown has produced a documentary about the Journey, called ‘The Expedition’. You can find out more information about the project and give your support here: www.theexpeditionfilm.com.
Photos courtesy of The Expedition