(By Kyle Henning) Dimitri Kieffer is on a mission to circumnavigate the entire planet using only his own body for power. Traveling in stages, and often accompanied by his wife Gulnara, the expedition has so far traveled through Alaska, Russia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and into Kyrgyzstan. They eventually plan to reach West Africa and row to South America before returning to the starting point in Alaska. To complete a true circumnavigation, the team must cross the equator twice and cross a pair of antipodal points on the Earth’s surface.
To date, Keiffer has walked, run, bicycled, swum, skied, and rowed from Knik Lake, Alaska to his current location in southern Kyrgyzstan. His journey began in 2005 when he ran the 1,100-mile Iditarod Invitational Race in Alaska on foot in 37 days. Soon after, he met Karl Bushby, a man on a quest to walk from South America to his home in England. The two joined forces to cross the Bering Strait from Alaska to Siberia in March 2006.
This summer’s planned stage will take Dimitri and Gularna from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan over the Pamir Highway to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. After visiting Afghanistan they will cycle to Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The entire stage is 1,718 miles and covers a portion of the ancient Silk Road that linked traders, armies, and nomads from the Mediterranean Sea to China for centuries.
Currently, the Kieffers are cycling toward Tajikistan and Afghanistan where they will explore Wakhan National Park in the far eastern Badakhshan Province. The 4,200-square-mile protected area was established earlier this year and has diverse wildlife that has already attracted tourists to the country after years of war. An agreement with the government establishes the local Wakhi and Kyrgyz inhabitants as co-managers, working as rangers and guides. The park’s philosophy of protecting people as well as wildlife aligns with the goals of the circumnavigation, which aims to ‘connect different societies, civilizations, and landscapes’.
Dimitri is seeking route advice for this stage of the expedition, as well as security and visa information about three proposed routes for the next stage. Contact can be made via his Facebook page.
Nexus Expeditions Website: http://www.nexusexpeditions.com/nexus.php
Nexus Expeditions Blog: http://nexusexpeditions.blogspot.com/
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