HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Markus Pukonen is a man on a mission. In the past year he has pogo-sticked, canoed, trimaraned, handcycled, tricycled, kayaked, fat biked, skied, danced, and sailed his way 9000km from Canada to Hawaii — and he's only getting started.
"I've been amazed and inspired by the compassion and kindness of the people I meet along the way. Complete strangers become lifelong friends and then offer me a boat to sail or a cycle to ride. I don't struggle to find motivation to continue on."
The adventurer plans on spending 1,825 days circumnavigating the planet, in one consecutive trip, without ever using a motor. His goal is to raise $10 million for a sustainable planet. Today he celebrates one year on the journey. Recently named One of Canada's Top Explorers, Pukonen began his adventure on July 13, 2015. For the next five years, he will travel the planet using a number of unconventional means of transport. He will be using a canoe, sailboat, skateboard, skis, hand cycle and stand-up paddle board, and he might be spotted walking backwards, running or dancing along his route. As long as it does not involve a motor, it might be part of his journey.
He started his adventure in Toronto, in the Beaches neighborhood where he was born. His journey of 82,000 kilometers (51,000 miles) began at the bottom of Silverbirch Avenue, where the ashes of his parents are buried. Along the route he is partnering with small, non-profit organizations that are committed to building a healthy planet for generations to come. Each will share his common goal of creating social or environmental change.
Routes of Change is currently raising support for Alpine Edibles, Prevent Cancer Now, Clayoquot Action, The Pine Project, Atikokan Youth Initiative, Transitions in Kenora, The Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, and hundreds more local non profits to come. People can donate a penny per kilometer that he travels and follow @routesofchange on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or a live interactive map at routesofchange.org.
Pukonen was inspired to do this when he found out his Dad was diagnosed with Leukemia and given a few weeks to live. He asked himself "What would I want to be doing on this planet if I found out that I was going to die?". Born and raised in Toronto, ON, he is based close to his sister and nieces in Tofino, B.C., Canada.
"I didn't think I could actually Pogo-stick 10km but the hopping made my body and mind smile and feel strong."
"Lake Superior threatened to tear apart my boat and leave me floating in the frigid waters, the prairie highways left me accepting my own death by motor collision, skiing across the Rockies and BC tested my mental and physical strength to the limits, I rafted into an Ice Dam on the Kootenay River, twice!, but the most fear I have had on the entire trip was when I was told by ski patrol at a mountain resort that I would have to get on a snowmobile or have the RCMP come after me. I didn't want to go on the run from the cops in order to avoid the motor! Thankfully it didn't come to that."
Markus and a friend recently sailed on a 30ft boat from San Francisco to Hilo in 25 days. After a month on the Big Island, he has now arrived in Honolulu and will be exploring Oahu by bike, foot, and surfboard. He is in search of a sailboat to crew on and continue towards Asia.