BY: ZOE MELNYK
After working for his father’s air conditioning company for the majority of his twenties, Keiichi Iwasaki decided to take control of his life before it slip through his fingers completely.
In 2001 at the age of 28, Iwasaki took his bike and about 160 yen, roughly $2, and set out to travel across Japan. However, his travel plans quickly changed and instead of going back home, he caught the ferry to South Korea and continued exploring Asia before moving on to Europe.
During the following eight years, he managed to cover 28,000 miles and 37 different countries. That’s more than the entire circumference of our planet.
Iwasaki completed most of his travels on his bike, or five bikes that is, since two bikes were stolen and two were broken during his trip. His other forms of transportation consisted mostly of the occasional ferry and his 35 mile trip through the Ganges River in India by rowboat.
To add to his list of accomplishments, Iwasaki also managed to become the first Japanese man to climb Mount Everest beginning at sea level without any form of transportation assisting him.
All of this traveling does seem to be extremely unrealistic with such a tiny budget. The truth is, even though Iwasaki left with only $2 to his name, he was able to make money along the way by accepting tips for performing magic tricks in the streets.
Loneliness or a longing for home may also be a common issue for anyone traveling for several years, but Iwasaki uses Skype and e-mail to keep in touch and has also been visited by friends and family throughout his adventure.
Iwasaki also created a blog with details of his adventure in order to keep everyone updated on his latest whereabouts. Posts on the page have exceptionally slowed down since 2012, but the most recent note from January indicates that he’s currently in Rome.
The blog also shows the itinerary of his trip and a profile for anyone curious about what it takes to bike across the world.
Like many nomadic travellers, Iwasaki has no thorough plan laid out and for the most part will go wherever the road takes him. However, he does have dreams to see the rest of the world.
Iwasaki hopes to travel through Africa as his next major destination, and then eventually bike through both North and South America.
Iwasaki is proof that the idea of leaving an unsatisfying life behind to explore every corner of the planet is possible and that it does not require a large bank account either.
Despite popular belief, it is possible to travel the world with nothing more than what you can carry and a few dollars to your name. It won’t be in resorts, you won’t be flying with commercial airlines, and eating at McDonald’s will start to seem like a luxury.
It’s moving around wherever you can whenever you can, volunteering, working abroad, cooking your own meals of pasta and vegetables or anything else you can scrape together.
It’s not glamorous, but it’s possible and Iwasaki is living proof of that.