73,000 km is a long way to go. By plane, it would be about five days of constant flying.
For Markus Pukonen, it’s taken him eight years.
The Tofino native has been on a wild adventure for nearly the past decade, circumnavigating the earth – but with an old-timey twist.
He hasn’t used a single motor for his entire journey to get him to his destination.
No planes. No trains. No automobiles.
“Not even an elevator,” he told CHEK News. “When I say I don’t use motorized transportation [it’s true.] I just, I like to be a man of my word. And it’s fun.”
His journey began with biking through midwestern Canada and setting sail from the west coast.
He then sailed across the Pacific Ocean, touching down just outside Hong Kong.
From there, he walked and biked across southeast Asia, then up through northern India, and back down towards Sri Lanka, where he set sail again.
This was the most challenging time of his trip by far; 40 days adrift in a tiny sailboat in the Indian Ocean had him questioning everything.
“There was no wind, and that was about six years into the trip, and [it] was the first time of the whole trip that I wished I could give up,” he said.
But he persevered; the wind returned, and he was off again.
Sailing with stops every so often around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, he then reached his last vast stretch of water, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Once across, he traded his boat for a paddleboard in Florida, then continued to hike and bike across the United States.
Now, he’s finally touched back down in Ontario at Niagra Falls.
“I just went around the corner, and I guess the thought that I was in my homeland just hit me, and I just started bawling my eyes out,” he said.
With only another 20 km to go, he’s nearly reached the end of his quest and is reflecting on what it has meant to him and others.
Throughout his travels, he’s documented everything on Youtube and his blog and given talks about travelling without a carbon footprint to many.
His primary motivation in all this was exploring ways to move away from carbon-producing methods of getting from A to B.
“What I am doing is inspiring the public and students at presentations and connecting with local non-profit organizations to share their stories and raise support for them… I think we are all part of the solution. It’s time we acknowledge our immense power to influence and change the world around us.”
For the last stretch, he’ll use some fun transport methods to pull everything together.
“It might be some skateboarding, maybe some rollerblading, maybe some roller skiing if that comes about. But I think mostly I’m just on foot and dancing. Lots of dancing for sure.”
He’s very much looking forward to getting some well-deserved rest and taking the train back home to Tofino.
You can follow the last of his trip online and see how far he’s come on his Youtube channel, ‘Routes of Change.’
Check out a summary of his epic journey in the video below.