For many, when they think of taking a year out to travel, it involves plans to see a bit of the world, get a job picking fruit, and generally putting off getting a full-time job for as long as possible. For Kevin Shannon, though, it’s going to be a little different.
Kevin is going to be embarking on a three-year Zero Emissions Expedition to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle and boat. As you do. He’s also aiming to raise £1 million for the charity Combat Stress.
And when I spoke to Kevin over the phone I was lucky to catch him. And not because he was rushing off to work either.
“The original plan was to go yesterday,” said Kevin. “But I've been delayed because a film production company have expressed an interest in doing a documentary on it. I’d definitely like to be on the road this side of Christmas but it could be early spring yet.”
Kevin, 23, lives in Mobberley in Cheshire and finished at London Thames Valley University last year. He’s currently working at a local bird park before he sets off on what will surely be the adventure of a lifetime.
“I’ll be cycling approximately 36,000 miles across five continents and sailing across two oceans, and arriving back on my doorstep around three years later.”
During this time he will face extreme sub-zero temperatures, scorching heat, thirst, hunger and physical and mental exhaustion, and he hopes to meet, interact and immerse himself in different cultures from every corner of the globe.
“My route will take me from the UK, through western Europe, eastern Europe and into Russia and across to Siberia, then through Mongolia crossing the Gobi Desert and
into China and Southeast Asia, and then crossing over to Australia. Then I will travel to South America where I will head north following the west coast until I enter the US. From there I plan to head towards the east coast of Canada, heading across the US, and then back to England.”
The idea came to Kevin last year after graduating from Uni. He said: “I've always thought of travelling since I was a kid and my dad was in the Navy and he would always tell me all about the exotic places he’d been to. But I didn't want to just fly into these places - I wanted to get a feel for every place."
“Then I saw a book in Oxfam about someone who’d cycled from London to Beijing, I bought it and it inspired me and ever since then I've been planning this.”
In fact the exploring roots have been in Kevin since his very early childhood days. “From the age of two I grew up in a small village in the middle of the Cheshire countryside and used to hear the stories about George Mallory, the village's most famous former resident, who died in his attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest."
"The tales captivated me so much that I dreamt of being an explorer myself. A few years later after living and studying in London I still needed to explore the world - I still wanted an adventure. This is my Everest.” In fact he has the explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Benedict Allen as patrons.
While the majority of the expedition will be on bike, Kevin will also be sailing some of the way. “My friend’s dad has a boat and he's showing me the ropes, and hopefully I can join a crew on a yacht or something. I might even canoe down a river, just to mix it up a bit."
The Combat Stress charity is for ex-servicemen and helps those who suffer from nervous and mental breakdowns. Kevin said: “The goal of £1 million was a sum put forward by the charity and they said they'd come on board to help.”
Kevin is looking for a corporate sponsor to help with the costs of the expedition and enquiries can be made through his website www.justgiving.com/becauseitisthere
You can also make a donation. He is also on Twitter, with the username @vuvu1986.