July 21 - First Solo Human-Powered Circumnavigation! What???

Posted on July 21, 2020

On this date in 2012, Turkish American adventurer Erden Eruç completed the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth.

The first person to do something is often celebrated! But there were a lot of words there explaining just what Eruç was first at! Let's break it down...

To circumnavigate the Earth means to go all the way around it. This is something that many of us have never done - and most of us have never wanted to do! The first people to circumnavigate our planet, as far as we know, were the remainders of an expedition originally led by Ferdinand Magellan who ended up where they started from in 1522. (Magellan himself didn't make it the whole way 'round!)

The first solo circumnavigation means, of course, going all the way around the world all by your lonesome! 

The first person known to have accomplished this derring-do is Joshua Slocum, who finished his trip in 1898.

In 2007 Jason Lewis completed the first human-powered circumnavigation. He did everything from pedaling wooden pedal boats across entire oceans to kayaking, roller blading to bicycling, and of course sometimes hiking - and with all those ways of traveling without horse- or steam- or gas-powered vehicles, he managed to circle the entire globe. 

But Lewis didn't do that massive feat alone. He had a traveling buddy during some of the ocean crossings and other companions during, say, the hike across the Big Island of Hawaii and the bicycle crossing of Australia. 

Perhaps Lewis inspired Erden Eruç to try a solo human-powered globe-trot? Who knows - but he rowed across several oceans, paddled a sea kayak and several canoes, biked, hiked, skied - and managed to circle the entire planet in just a little more than five years!


Eruç is still adventuring. He has set a goal of climbing the tallest mountains on six continents, and he has already conquered Denali (North America), Mount Kosciuszko (Australia), and Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa). Three down; three to go!

In 2003, Eruç's went to Alaska to climb Dinali, but first
he took a little time off to get married! His wife is also
a fan of adventuring!

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