Send Andrew to the Arctic On His Bike & Raft

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What I have today is just too cool not to be first in a series of posts over the next week promoting the work of others—since I’ve been promoting myself and my book so much lately, and so many have helped. I really hate the silly bromide “give back” (I didn’t take anything to give back), so what I’ll be doing is lending a hand to help promote some of the activities and books others are doing out there.

Did I mention how cool this first deal is? Do you ever wax romantic or nostalgic for the great heyday of exploration—where much of the world was truly unexplored and intrepid souls organized massive expeditions to explore, journal, and map what they’d found?

If you’d have been able to chip in with a little help or a hand back then, would you’ve considered it? Well, while this isn’t entirely original exploration, it does have many elements of original and first, and guess what? You have a chance to be a part of it.

FatBikeRafting The Arctic. Take a look at Andrew’s short and entertaining video.

The Kickstarter site for gathering pledges is right here and includes a lot of information in the form of images and explanations, including how every dollar of the $7,770 he’s raising will be spent (which is only about half of the total cost). The next cool thing is that as of right now, 116 people including myself have plunged varying amounts to help fund Andrew’s expedition to the tune of $6,251 or over 80% of the amount needed with only 10 days to go. That makes the average pledge about $54, so at that rate, about 28 additional pledges are needed and I hope you’ll consider chipping in for at least the price of a decent Paleo steak dinner.

Many of you already know Andrew as the bearded, kilt wearing, black finger-nailed, well read, intellectual evolutionary psychology blogger over at Evolvify. And here’s his post about the expedition.

Evolvify is all about theory and testing ideas, but adventure and the more visceral connections of our evolved selves to the environment we’re adapted to inspires me infinitely more. The taste of wildness in a padded world with rounded corners and warning labels and anesthetized everything is worth all efforts. The casting off of the moribund roles of indoctrinated industrialized agrarians is a necessary step, but only the first step. Are humans the only animal evolved to remain in the zoo after the gates have been flung open? Certainly not. The only flaw is that we’re evolved to imagine things that do not exist. There are no gates on this zoo.

Go outside and play.

Here’s a rough description of the expedition.

All I want is to do epic stuff across the face of our amazing planet, then tell you about it so you can do the epic stuff you want to do. Is that so much to ask?

In the last week of March 2012, I’m heading north to the Arctic Ocean on foot, fatbike, and packraft. The estimated duration of the expedition is 6-8 months, but may vary significantly due to ice, ocean, and ground conditions throughout.

  • 7,000 Miles
  • 7 Rivers
  • Zero Fuel
  • 2 Oceans
  • 4 Mountain Ranges
  • ANWR

The project is a film documenting the adventure. It would be naivete or hubris to pitch you a plotline before I’ve left. I’m confident that my mind will be sufficiently blown, and I’ll do my best to translate that into something that will inspire others to experience the sublimity of wildness and wilderness.

For more information on some of the dietary aspects of this expedition, see Andrew’s guest post up at Robb Wolf’s blog: Paleo Fueled Adventure.

As a final note, one reason why I’m so passionate about Andrew’s project stems from my love of flying hang-gliders, which can also be used to travel distances and reach extreme altitudes with only the use of solar power and gravity (gravity being what makes the airfoil move through the air, creating lift and solar being what makes the thermal activity we use to gain altitude and remain aloft). The added element of that is that once you step off into flight, you’re all on your own up there. I’ve been as high as 12,000 feet and gone as far as 15 miles, crossing the Columbia River Gorge in the process, from Chelan Butte in eastern Washington state. But that’s noting, really. Each year other pilots log 100 mile plus cross country flights and the record, set a few years back, is about 450 miles in a single flight, from a soon as there’s thermal activity in the AM, to sundown, and the benefit of a tail wind.

So I guess what I’m getting at is that though I’m not much of an environmentalist—often finding the science just as politically and big-corporation contrived as I find the science of nutrition. But that doesn’t mean I’m not for efficiencies, or the ethic of doing more with less. So color me excited about this and I wish Andrew all the best.

Please consider helping him out.

Update: Hopefully this post helped. When I posted, he needed almost a couple of thousand dollars. As of now, 2:30 PM PST on the 7th, it’s done. I have it on good authority that FTA readers not only stepped up, but did so with larger than average pledges. Thank you. You were probably just selfishly wanting to see this happen, like me.

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  1. “the record, set a few years back, is about 450 miles in a single flight, from a soon as there’s thermal activity in the AM, to sundown, and the benefit of a tail wind.”

    That’s amazing, never heard of that before. Time to google

  2. Between you and Robb thanks for the heads up on this… happy to kick in what I can… sounds like a fantastic trek…

  3. I live in Alaska and I have to say one thing.

    Really? and Why?

    This has been done to death and death has been done to more than one of these guys.

    I gotta say. This seems like more environmental wackiness. Why don’t we just turn the whole of Alaska into a big conservation and never touch it again.

    Oh wait, I know why. The Alaska Natives who live in this land and are a part of this land would be just as screwed. They never asked to be governed or changed in any way. They would still be living the paleolithic way if not white intervention. All we have brought them is disease and misery.

    The enviro’s are no better. All they tell the Natives is that they can’t live their traditional wisdom because it is killing all the animals.

    This guy is going to run into a lot of hostiles along the way. Wouldn’t be surprised if something bad happened to him.

    I wish him the best, but he won’t be getting any of my funds (not that he should care) to do something that has been done to death.

    • BigRob:

      I doubt it. Andrew in various places has talked about the how massive some of these expeditions were in current dollars.

      At any rate, he’s going it alone and I choose to support that and promote it.

    • Rob, you clearly don’t get what I’m about and I don’t feel any motivation to debate the mirages you’ve assigned to me.

      One thing: the coerced detachment of humans from wildness is way bigger than the last 150 years of Arctic history on the North American continent. We’re all born as numbers on the balance sheet of the self-proclaimed ‘authorities’ who lay claim to the ground we happen to drop out on. We’ve all been consumed by agrarian states.

      I grew up in Alaska. I miss it, and I want to come back. Perhaps you would be happier if I chartered a cruise ship or flew in on a 747.

      • Best of luck to you. I am just expressing my personal opinion. Which amounts to nothing most of the time.

        I wish you no ill will, just not willing to support more of the same however distinct you think it is.

        I know and hope others who think like you will support you though.

      • Are you bringing any guns along?

      • “We’re all born as numbers on the balance sheet of the self-proclaimed ‘authorities’ who lay claim to the ground we happen to drop out on. We’ve all been consumed by agrarian states.”

        This kind of pretentious bullshit just makes me want to punch Andrew in the face. Perhaps we’d get along if we met in real life, perhaps I’m just missing something, but I seriously doubt it.

      • Pesky facts… so pretentious.

      • Interestingly, I wolehartedly agree with Andrew and that was my favorite bit.

        He’s exactly right and what happens is that many people do well in spite of, most do not, are content to remain domesticated numbers on a spreadsheet in the zoo human.

      • Yeah I figured you, might, Richard. I guess I have always had a problem with the whole smug aspect. You are straightforward. Andrew is smug and extremely pedantic.

      • I have never for a second thought that. There was a time when I was miffed, but on a completely unrelated matter that’s past.

        Andrew would never force me to do anything, he’d never encourage anyone else to do so, and he’d never jerk off in a voting booth fantasizing about how his values get crammed down everyone’s thoats.

        I’ve met Andrew in person and I recoomend eveyone do likewise if they have the cance.

      • Sean, you strike me as a bit of a curmudgeon. Am I off-based? lol

      • Smug? WTF? Jealousy is more like it, I think. Way to go for supporting him, Richard.

      • Yeah, David, I’m being a big curmudgeon, sorry.

        I just find this Rousseau-esque white indian stuff irritating, but I probably ought to keep it to myself.

      • Aaron Curl says:

        I have read this blog for over 3 years and see you, Sean, post here a lot! What I don’t get is how you don’t understand the overall condition of the human being. Richard has covered everything on his blog, it’s not all about the food you eat, that’s the tip of the iceberg. The real point is to free your mind and understand WE ARE ANIMALS. We have forgotten this. Andrew is doing what each human should experience. I have dreamed of doing what he is going to do and I think it’s awesome.

      • I had an exchange with Andrew a long time ago in this comment section and he struck me as incredibly pretentious, using lots of big words in a very convoluted manner. So I never bothered to read his blog but lots of people seem to like it and I wish him luck, perhaps it was just a bad impression on my part. Not to mention that I’m a curmudgeon. And apparently jealous 😉

        I don’t have a problem with acknowledging that we are animals but I’ve got a big problem with Rousseau.

      • I had some issues of my own with Andrew way back. I met him in person—actually, he introduced himself to me with no hint of my animosity. This was at AHS and I witnessed his pretty humble behavior over 2 days, how he loved being with friends and so on, and I shelved my own shit as my own problem.

        That’s my story.

        I also don;’t deny that I have a selfish interest here. Part of my want to admonish Andrew about the serious risk involved in being all alone in hostile areas, with no support, save for a sat comm, but many hours could pass if shit hits fan.

        If he’s willing to risk that sort of exposure, loneliness, risk, tough endurance then I’m damn well willing to set aside any and all petty critiques I might have with his approach.

      • This.

      • looks like we’ve reached the end of the nesting! my last comment was in reference to Aaron’s comment.

      • Okay, Richard, well-stated.

        Andrew, I apologize, I was being a petty asshole, and again, best of luck in your endeavor.

  4. I wish you all the best. I noticed myself becoming very interested in your expedition when I saw the post on Robb Wolfs blog. I would love to do something like this myself but have no idea where to begin.

    I do have something in mind that is not nearly as extreme but kick ass. I just have a general idea and no set plans. I hope the primal community helps me make plans.

    The gun question is a good one… are you bringing any?

    • Something to consider is a raft-supported river expedition, either in kayaks or smaller rafts. The big raft carries the food, stove, tents, water purifier etc., that way you can travel light. All the food is fresh because obviously you have no power. I went on one in Central America back in the day, spent a week on a river. Howler monkeys, Toucans, Macaws, the whole bit.

      • Kayaking is a great way to carry a bit more gear and get to some amazing places. I paddle a folding TRAK kayak. I can just stow it aboard the sailboat, drop it over the side, and go. Because of the particular characteristics of that boat, it’s useful on rivers, lakes, and ocean. I wrote a little about it a few years ago. I had to switch to the packraft to be able to bike/hike with the boat, but the TRAK is pretty cool in some cases.

  5. I found Andrew’s website very early in it’s creation and have enjoyed reading his ideas. There have been times I have been surprised by his take on things, but I do enjoy being able to hear new well spoken opinions especially when they cause me to rethink my own. I only wish I had developed his exploratory nature before I got to old to do so. I have found my place in the human zoo and now prefer the comfort of my cage. I envy his adventurous ways and appreciate all the new words I have learned reading his site. Win…win for me.

  6. Richard, for some reason the first video on Andrew you post doesn’t show up on your blog in the UK? would there be a reason for this? There is just a blank space. I thought it might be a momentary connection problem but checked in again today and still no video.

  7. This post was a huge help indeed. The metrics provided by Kickstarter are somewhat limited, but enough to say for sure that you guys came through. Thanks again to Richard for the post, and thank you all for your support!

    I felt like I passed my spamming threshold a few days ago, but one final note for a while: The project is still live for 9 days. The minimum number was definitely a bare-bones calculation. Every additional cent will go directly to the expedition project.

    • “Every additional cent will go directly to the expedition project.”

      I have not a single doubt that that is the absolute truth.

      ….And the last government accountant I death with hit me up for $12K.

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