Quixotic quest

Famed Venetian traveler Marco Polo still inspires old-fashioned style journeys. If modern versions of the intercontinental explorer prefer the fastest mode by flying, there are the likes of American Bob Barnes who chose land transportation for his leisurely cross-country tour.

The 52-year-old Uber driver took 359 days to visit all 50 states in mainland US.

“I pedaled through all 50 capitals of the United States, nonstop. It was hard core,” Barnes told Fox News after returning home in Syracuse, New York last 4 August.

Barnes’ bicycle journey started on 1 August last year and he logged in a total of 26,813 kilometers. It seems not enough as he is planning another cross-country cycle next year.

His “tentative plan is to ride his bicycle up through Michigan and over to Madison, Wisconsin, then swing back down south to the East Coast around North Carolina and ride down around the coast of Florida — before riding across the country to California,” according to Fox News.

Even tougher than Barnes’ feat is Chinese migrant Xu Zhixian’s cross-continental travel.

After 13 years of studying and working in Italy and Norway, as well as visiting almost every country in Europe, returning to his hometown in Heze, Shandong province, China popped up into his head earlier this year, the 32-year-old said, South China Morning Post reported, citing his interview with Chinese language Ziniu News.

Wanting to just do it, Xu started his journey from Lalin, Spain on 20 February and has reached The Netherlands so far. He averaged 30 kilometers per day in the 2,500-kilometer ride, spending nights in a tent and sleeping bag.

Before embarking on his journey, he trained how to ride a horse for three months. Xu then bought an eight-year-old purebred Arabian white male horse he named Huihui and kicked off his horseback trip, SCMP said.

“I told my family I wanted to ride on horseback to China, but they didn’t believe me until I bought a horse and started my journey,” Xu told Ziniu News, according to SCMP.

Xu complained that his progress, regularly broadcasted through his Chinese social media page, is slow, but blamed it on Huihui whom he said keeps on eating on the way and trying to elope with other horses.


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