Italian Rider Stefano Mangini Begins Pan-American Adventure

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Categories: HFL, Guest Blogger, Travel

Italian Rider Stefano Mangini Begins Pan-American Adventure

Italian adventurer and inventor of the Jekt jacket-backpack Stefano Mangini has a unique and poetic view of life and has offered to send us a few reports from his travels. Here is his first report.

Fourteen years ago, I packed my motorbike with a bunch of maps and some equipment, and wrote a letter to friends informing them I was coming home to Italy.

I had been living in Shanghai up to that point and now a dream was coming true. It was the beginning of a journey – longer, much longer, than the 25,000 km that I covered so far in my riding career. I had no idea the trip would change me so much, and that it would lead me to this very point in life.

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Now, the time has come once again to hit the road: to leave things behind, to discover, to live, and this time, to make the trip a bit more of an adventure. True to the old ways, I have again packed a bunch of maps and books that will guide me. Twenty are the countries I will visit this time, all the way to the end of the world.

I'll be riding among the Mesoamerican civilizations that have been in contact with the universe since well before the Renaissance. I'll travel the the thin strips of land that prevent one ocean from devouring the other in an eternal balance of gravity. Down, until the road ends in jungle, forcing a quantum leap on the sub-American continent: the land where the most dangerous highway of the world snakes through endless mountains.

I will ride to reach the deserts where mankind scans the skies in search of “someone else out there”, waiting for a sign. I'll climb again, up Machu Picchu, where mankind was gazing at the stars thousands of years ago, wondering: “Where do we come from?” Then onto the plains of Argentina before entering the maze of the Patagonian mountains. On and on until, at the end, there is one more step to take, one more piece of land to touch, one more world to visit: Antarctica.

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Along the way, a mission awaits me: something I always wanted to do. I will stop in schools along the way and teach kids how to communicate through photography. Using PORTALS (small digital books made of 30 photos to tell of a place that I have visited) I'll be able to share with the children far away lands that they have never seen before. And together we'll create a PORTAL about their very own special place, so they can see through different eyes the beauty of where they live.

To succeed in my mission I teamed up with Do Good As You Go and its foundation. I will stop in their schools along the Pan-American Highway. Together, we are running a Generosity Campaign to raise funds to provide the kids with the cameras needed to do the workshops. (Learn about Portals and the Generosity Campaign)

Fourteen years ago, when I set out on my first grand adventure, my close friends followed me through the scattered emails I was sending out from internet cafés. This time around, things will be a little more interactive and open to all restless travellers. I want to share the journey with people who, like me, have a passion for discovering: restless rravellers for whom travelling is not a hobby, a status symbol, or an escape, but it is a way of being. People for whom, travelling is part of them, if not life itself.

The plan is to start from San Francisco, on September 1. As a dear friend of mine once told me: “Scientists can prove that the hornet cannot fly. But the hornet doesn’t know it. And he flies anyway!”

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