The South African-born Swiss explorer and adventurer has probably seen more of the world than any other person on Earth. He has swum the Amazon River solo, completed an unmotorised circumnavigation of the globe at the equator, walked to the north pole during the dark season (incidentally, more people have been to the moon) and has also managed to squeeze in climbing the world’s 8,000 meter peaks – all 14 of them. He recently returned from Pakistan after an attempt to climb and ski K2. Of course he has.
Mike’s list of accomplishments as a solo explorer are unparalleled so we are privileged to have him talk to us about the travel the changed him.
What region or what trip impacted you the most?
For its beauty, Greenland – specifically the southern west and east coasts. I’ve crossed Greenland on skis and sailed around it. It changed me because I saw nature with such divine beauty, so untouched by human beings, so savage yet so beautiful. Through my years of travelling I have learnt to never take nature for granted.
I was surprised by the huge satisfaction of sailing around the coastline and seeing the country from a different angle: being amidst majestic beauty of the icebergs, the colours and incredible wildlife.
Who were you with?
Some like-minded people passionate about nature.
Have you repeated the trip?
Yes and will do whenever an opportunity arises.
Do you still have a big dream destination you haven’t managed to get to?
To guidebook or not to guidebook?
No way! No guidebook!
Are you a planner or see-how-we-goer?
I must make some plans when going on an expedition but when travelling I see how I go.
Hotel or hostel (or camping)?
Under the stars is the only way to do it.
What has been your number one travel experience?
Any travel is amazing and there is always something to take from it. Remember, however, you must always give back to nature, as without it we are nothing.
It awakens your senses.
Mike’s account of his 2002-04 winter circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle, Conquering the Impossible is out now.