Not many people would know who Karl Bushby is but it won’t take too long to be captivated by his amazing story. Not too long ago I was in fact one of these people, unaware what this former British Paratrooper was doing, unaware of his feats and of his courage, discipline and unmatched will.
Bushby has been, and still is, attempting to walk around the world with unbroken steps, a journey that has taken him from the Southern tip of South America in Punta Arenas, Chile, through Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, across the Darien Gap, through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, United States, Canada, Alaska, across the Bering Straits and into Russia.
Known as the Goliath Expedition, Bushby began his journey on the 1st of November 1998, with only $300 to his name, and was expected to finish it by 2014 arriving in his home town of Hull England having walked over 36,000 miles. Already quite the journey of perseverance and unrivalled dedication, Bushby was forced to face another uphill battle. After trekking nearly 2,000 miles into the gruelling Siberian tundra, the Russian government placed a five-year visa ban on Bushby, halting the expedition to which he has already dedicated a third of his life.
Now, quite incredibly, Bushby is walking from Los Angeles to the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. with his visa application in hand in hopes of overturning the ban and continuing the amazing journey he began sixteen years ago. After already crossing torturous terrain across South and Central America, Bushby will now persevere through the Western deserts, over the Rockies, across the Great Plains, over the Appalachians and onwards to the U.S. Capital.
Karl really is the embodiment of perseverance, dedication and unwavering commitment. When interviewed by the longestwayhome.com we got a better insight into what exactly drives a man to depart on such a crazy and unknown adventure. Bushby said, “It’s like the man said ‘just do it’. So many people ponder on making a move but don’t act upon their dreams and ideas. More often than not it’s out of fear; it’s a lack of self -confidence. Our addiction to safety and over abundance of caution can stop us from being the best we can be, can stifle the human spirit. Man has to realise he got where he is today because he was willing to take risks and he will have to take risks again.”
Bushby talks of the inspiration he drew from the Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Shroud crossing of Antarctica on foot in 1993, he talks of the fire that was lit and smouldered in the back of his mind for years unable to be put out with only one option left - to just do it. It’s crazy to think of the adventures Bushby would have encountered on his travels by foot, avoiding being gunned down by Columbian Guerrillas, the snow storms, the freezing temperatures, day after day of no food, cultural barriers in secluded lands, the loneliness, lack of sleep and the fear of the unknown.
If we can take one thing from Karl Bushby it’s not necessarily the adventure and the walking around the world but his advice to “just do it.” To stop thinking and pondering and start acting on your dreams, start acting on your ideas and forget about safety and caution. Look inside and find the confidence and be the best you can be - a little risk could change your life forever. We are going to get rejected, knocked down, have many failures, but as long as you know why you're truly doing the things you're doing you can keep on going, keep on enjoying the process and get to realise your dreams before it is too late.
For a more detailed look at his journey Bushby wrote a book about his walk titled Giant Steps.
By Evan Sutter