Friday, November 4, 2016
Two Wheelchair-bound Adventurers Setting Off on South American Expedition
Explorer's Web has the story of how these two men met at a physical therapy clinic and began hatching schemes of adventure with one another. They wanted to show that just because they were confined to a wheelchair it didn't mean they had to give up on their dreams of adventure and exploration. On the contrary, it has spurred them on to show the rest of us just what they can do.
In March of this year, Maciek and Michal applied for – and won – the Anderzej Zawada Award, which includes a monetary prize to help support young adventurers with their plans to explore the world. In this case, the two men had to appear before a jury and were given five minutes to convince them that they were worth funding. From the account given by ExWeb, they were very convincing. The two men went home with the prize, which will now help pay for their upcoming journey through South America.
On November 9, Maciek and Michal will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina to begin their adventure. The two men will travel in a specially built 1996 Land Rover Defender 110 that is equipped with a roof-top tent for them to stay in, as well as plenty of storage for the gear and equipment that they'll take with them. The vehicle has also been modified from a manual to an automatic transmission, with both the gas and brakes now being hand-controlled. This will allow them to drive the Defender, even though they don't have the use of their legs.
The plan is to first drive to Cape Horn, the very tip of South America, and one of the most remote and wild area on the planet. The weather on the Horn is legendary, and sailors have gone out of their way to avoid that part of the world for hundreds of years. From there, they'll turn north and drive along the Pacific coast line up through Chile and Bolivia, before eventually turning their attention on Peru. They plan to visit the Amazon Rainforest while in that country, where they are even scheduled to meet with a local Shaman healer.
The entire journey is expected to take about six months to complete, although the two men are discussing extending it further. There is the possibility that they may continue to drive north to Costa Rica, and potentially all the way to the U.S. Right now, they're playing it by ear and seeing how things unfold.
This adventure will be a great travel challenge, especially for two men who have to use wheelchairs to get around. But, I love that their mission is to break stereotypes and prove to the world what they can do. Simply by setting off on this grand journey they are already accomplishing that goal.