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Around the world in 13 years

OCT. 9 — Neither sleet, nor storm, nor blood poisoning could stop Jason Lewis from pursuing his dream. At exactly 13 years, 2 months, 23 days from the start of his journey around the globe, Lewis arrived at the River Thames to the Prime Meridian in his 26-foot paddle boat Oct. 7, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lewis was 27 and had just graduated from the University of London when he and his friend Stevie Smith decided they weren’t going to let life pass them by.

“What I see, day after day, are captured lives, half-lives, dedicated to a mirage of fullness that never comes,” Smith told a reporter. “My greatest fear is of mediocrity and of a slow, unremarkable acquiescence to society.”

They decided they would circle the world using their own power: bicycle, pedal boat, kayak, skates and walking. While Smith dropped out of the adventure five years in, Lewis kept going, suffering all manners of catastrophes along the way — capsizing in two oceans, surgery for two hernias, blood poisoning when 1,300 miles out to sea from Hawaii, getting hit by a car in Colorado, and arrested as a spy in Egypt, to name a few.

Lewis only stopped to work odd jobs to raise money for the trip, but kept right on going, even saying goodbye to true love, according to the report. He also hired the odd crew for various points of the trip, but managed to pedal his boat for 72 days across the Pacific. Smith reportedly was in a waiting crowd when Lewis finished the last leg of his journey.

“Thirteen years, coming to an end,” Lewis told the Times reporter. “It’s been a big, long journey. It’s good to be back.” 

— Elizabeth Ellis