Best wishes from Rob Thomson (long distance skateboard world record holder)

3 Aug

This blog post is rather special for me as it includes the best wishes from one of my expedition inspirations, Rob Thomson. Rob achieved something pretty darn amazing and even got recognition for it in the Guiness Book of Records – A 12,000km unassisted skateboard journey, Wow!

It was back in 2008 while reading Rob’s deep, intellectual and philosophical blog posts where my desire to do a human powered expedition began. It is now in 2010 that a very humbled Hap shares with you Rob’s best wishes for my final continent expedition

Hap has proven himself a man of great determination and grit with his above-all-odds success so far in his unique working-on-all-continents-before-30 dream. And once again Hap has dreamed himself a worthy dream – cycling Africa. This is a dream that will bring great joy, fun, and enriching experiences. It is, however, also a dream that will cost him. It will cost him time. It will cost him physical pain. Mental agony. A determined mind. Most of all it will, more than any experience thus far, cost him his innocence and ignorance. The latter two costs are, in my view, the hardest but most rewarding things to pay when pursuing a dream such as Hap has conjured up. Any extended human powered journey in environments different to one’s own comfortable cultural and environmental bubble will leave a person changed. It will leave a person aware, enlightened perhaps, to the issues and challenges of our wide world. And with that awareness comes responsibility. A responsibility that I am thrilled to see Hap already embracing through his collaboration with Bicycles for Humanity and BEN Namibia. Therefore I wish him all the best for his journey. Hap’s dream is a reality. May it change many, and be the inspiration needed for many more to embrace their own worthy dreams.

ABOUT ROB (taken from my expedition inspirations page)

Rob Thomson was an ex-office worker who set out in July 2006 on a 12,000km journey on a recumbent bicycle (the ones that look like an armchair on wheels) from Japan to Switzerland. He endured -23 degrees Celsius daytime temperatures, cycled over 4,600m high passes, and put up with some of the most frustrating bureaucracies perhaps in the whole world.


Then his challenge changed and on the 25th of June 2007, almost a year since he set out from Japan on his recumbent bicycle, he sent his bicycle home and started out again on a long board skateboard. Little did he know that he was going to skate into the Guinness Book of Records. He skated solo and unassisted across Europe, North America, and China. On the 28th of September 2008 he finally arrived in Shanghai after skating just over 12,000km (7,500 miles). The previous world record for long distance skateboarding was 5,800km.


I was put onto Rob’s blog by his brother and my friend Tofa who was one of my 9 flat mates (at times 14) in our 3 bedroom house in Banff, Canada. Then 2 years later in 2008 when I was working as an exploration field assistant in the Australian outback Tofa put me onto Rob’s blog. I then followed the end of Rob’s trip as he skated his way into the Guinness book of records.


Whilst reading Rob’s blog posts I began to feel the desire that I had always had, a desire to do something more challenging, cycle, skate, kayak, something. I wanted to have an adventure, a real adventure, not just backpacking. I will always remember Rob’s words about travelling by bicycle, “it will change the way you see the world”.

If you would like to read about my other expedition inspiration, polar explorer Robert Swan, please click here

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