Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Expedition 1000: Dave Cornthwaite Scoots His Way Around Japan

If you've read my blog with any regularity over the years, you've seen me cover the exploits of British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite on more than one occasion. About a decade ago, Dave came up with the idea of jumpstarting his life by undertaking 25 major journeys of 1000 miles (1609 km) or more by non-motorized transportation. Over the years, this has led him to undertake such excursions as crossing Australia on a skateboard, stand-up paddleboarding source-to-sea on the Mississippi River in the U.S., and paddling from Oslo, Norway to Helsinki, Finland. Along the way, he has inspired thousand of others to embrace a more adventurous, active, and open lifestyle as well.

Fast forward to 2016, and Dave has recently set out on the 12th of his 25 planned expeditions. This time, he has traveled to Japan, where he is riding a kick scooter for 1000 miles. He left Tokyo back on November 17, and is now undertaking a massive loop through the southern Honshu and Shikoku regions of that country. On this particular journey Dave has no set route, but has instead decided to let instinct and fortune take him where he needs to go. Ultimately, he'll return to his starting point in Tokyo on December 19, after having explored yet another part of the world under his own power.

Throughout the course of the trip so far, Dave has been posting regular updates, photos, and videos to his Facebook page. As I write this, he has arrived in Kyoto, where he has been overwhelmed by the history and culture of the place, but even more so by the vast number of tourists visiting the area. Most of his journey has been spent interacting with the locals, learning about the various places he is visiting from their perspective, and experiencing Japan in a more authentic fashion. In that regard, Kyoto seems to have been a bit too much of a tourist trap for Dave's liking.

Throughout the journey he's been spending roughly 5-9 hours on his trusty kick scooter – lovingly dubbed Swifty – making his way from one destination to the next. Nights are generally spent camping in the wild and even soaking in local hot springs. The idea is to immerse himself deeply in the culture, while exploring the countryside in a non-motorized way.

For Dave, this is his first Expedition 1000 excursion in a few years. He says that he hurt his back and left leg in 2013 and has struggled at times to undertake his ambitious efforts. But while hiking through Palestine and Jordan last year the injury got worse, forcing him to use crutches and a therapeutic boot on his foot for awhile. After two months had passed, he discovered that things started to improve dramatically, allowing him to finally get back into action. From that experience, the idea of scooting around Japan was born.

You can follow his progress over the next few weeks on Dave's official Facebook page. It is sure to be inspiring, amusing, and down-right fun to watch the remainder of the trip unfold.

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