A man in a bil­lion, he’s been ev­ery­where…

Saturday Star - - NEWS - RABBIE SERUMULA

BEDFORDVIEW-born explorer Mike Horn has be­come the first per­son ever to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the planet from its poles over land and sea in his ex­pe­di­tion called Pole2Pole.

He also be­came the first per­son to com­plete a solo cross­ing of Antarc­tica. His 5 000km cross­ing of the con­ti­nent is the long­est ever. Horn, 50, com­pleted his ex­pe­di­tion last month.

“I was told as a child that if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough,” he said. “I am ex­tremely proud to be South African. We have some amaz­ing peo­ple on the south­ern tip of Africa. To be a South African am­bas­sador is a pri­or­ity in my ex­plo­ration,” he said.

Horn be­gan Pole2Pole on May 6 last year from a yacht club in Monaco, on the Mediter­ranean Sea. From there he sailed to Namibia. He then trekked through the Oka­vango Delta in Botswana, be­fore com­ing home to South Africa . He then sailed to Antarc­tica, which he crossed on skis via the South Pole.

From there he nav­i­gated the Pa­cific through the is­lands of Ocea­nia to Asia. An over­land jour­ney took Horn through the tun­dra in Kam­chatka (Rus­sia) be­fore he set sail to the great north. He crossed the Arc­tic via the North Pole be­fore con­clud­ing his one-year ad­ven­ture by nav­i­gat­ing his way back to Monaco.

“Pole2Pole is sim­ply ev­ery­thing I’ve done in my life as an explorer in one ex­pe­di­tion,” said Horn. “I will al­ways stay a proud South African explorer.”

Horn left South Africa in 1989 to travel around the world and ended up in Switzer­land where he lives to­day. “I ended up in a small ski re­sort called Chateau d’Oex where I worked in a youth hos­tel and even­tu­ally be­come a Swiss ski in­struc­tor and river guide.”

He car­ries the mem­o­ries of home with him on ev­ery ad­ven­ture.

He trav­elled the length of the Ama­zon in 1997, fol­lowed by a 20 000km solo cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the Arc­tic Cir­cle five years later. He also trekked to the North Pole with a Nor­we­gian explorer, us­ing noth­ing more than skis in the Arc­tic win­ter of 2006.

Horn’s voy­ages to the planet’s most ex­treme re­gions have in­spired many. Chris Brin­lee, a bud­ding ad­ven­turer and pho­tog­ra­pher with The Red Bul- letin (an in­ter­na­tional men’s mag­a­zine), joined Horn on his three-week voy­age to Antarc­tica two years ago – when he at­tempted to be the first man to cross the con­ti­nent unas­sisted.

“I think a lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially mil­len­ni­als, feel trapped and un­der this pres­sure where they have ideas of things they want to do, but not nec­es­sar­ily the courage” said Brin­lee.

“Even tak­ing lit­tle steps, any­thing that pushes you out of your com­fort zone can give you the courage to do more,” Brin­lee added. Said Horn: “If more South Africans can be in­spired to be­lieve in them­selves, the pos­si­bil­i­ties be­come end­less.”

Mike Horn has been here, there and ev­ery­where in his ad­ven­tures.

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