Monday, November 08, 2004


Many of my personal heroes are of the adventurer sort, particularly the scholar-adventurer sub-type. Not all were exemplary human beings (for example, Sir Richard Francis Burton was a racist; Bruce Chatwin and Ibn Battuta seem to have made up a lot of stuff), and some are completely fictional (for example, Jean Luc Picard). Many are not well known (Gertrude Bell, George Schaller), and some are best known for their failure (R.F. Scott). But there's something wonderful and extraordinary about people who take the road less traveled, and then have the intelligence and imagination to tell their story well.

A good friend of mine started a really cool website called PristinePlanet, which has information and reviews about environment-friendly products. She recently added forums to the site, and one of the forums contains posts from a man named Riaan Manser, who is attempting to become the first person to circumnavigate Africa via bicycle. More info about Riaan can be found at his website. I've only met Riaan virtually, but i greatly admire what he's trying to do. I'm a fairly avid cyclist, but i consider hardship to be getting two flats on the same ride. The fact that he's riding so far, on sub-optimal roads, and still managing to stay in touch with a virtual community is inspiring. And like all great scholar-adventurers, he writes well. Check out the log of his trip at his website or PristinePlanet.

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