Bicycling Around The World in 11 years? This is Daisuke Nakanishi!

Daisuke Nakanishi

What can you do with a savings of around US $ 50,000? Take a bicycle and travel the world. Sounds crazy? Well, Japanese national Daisuke Nakanishi, now 39, has been doing just that for the past 11 years! He’s been globetrotting with seven bags, which contain a makeshift tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, utensils, clothes, spareparts, tools and many other necessary items.Nakanishi was in the city on Wednesday, after covering 1,42,700 km and 121 countries. He plans to leave for Maldives soon, then proceed to Sri Lanka and many more countries, before ending his trip by the year-end. “My mother is worried about me and wants me to come back home (in Osaka).’’  He had started the trip on July 23, 1998, from Alaska. North America, South America, Europe, parts of South East Asia, Australia and Africa have been covered. He toured the Americas twice. Nakanishi is in India for the second time. “I covered North India first and then went to Nepal. Now I am here to see South India,’’ he said.  In fact, he had pedalled through India as a university student. India was among the 20 countries he visited during the course of his five trips outside Japan then.Nakanishi started riding a bicycle as a young boy and it became a passion to such an extent that he enjoyed finding new routes with new landscapes. “It was my dream to travel around the world and make many friends,’’ he said.After graduating in economics, he worked at a construction company. With the savings, embarked on his dream journey. The cup of memories of the 11-year-old trip simply runneth over. On the one hand, Nakanishi saw hospitality at its best in South America, met big names like Edmond Hillary, Pele, Heinz Stucke (the Guinness world record holder for pedal cycling around the world), Jimmy Carter and

Lech Walesa (former president of Poland) and became honorary citizen of Cajamaruca in Peru, of Paznia, Bolivia, of Upata, Venezuela and of Chisinau, Moldova. He has records and photographs to testify to all that. He fell ill on many occasions, the serious one being contracting malaria while touring Kenya. In Russia, rains tested him a lot.   In Namibia, he had a narrow escape from hyenas. The Brazilian headache was professional thieves.  The experience in Georgia was terrible. “Usually, before I go to a country, I collect all information related to the place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do so before going to Georgia and so was caught up in the war.’’ He had to abandon trips to Iraq, Algeria and Congo due to the problems there. And he is disappointed that he was not granted visa to enter Libya and Saudi Arabia. India has troubled him with bad roads and traffic jams. “Motorists always honk the horns, which is very disturbing.’’  So, how did the savings last all these years? “I carry the tent with me. And, even if I have to stay in a lodge or hotel, I opt for the cheapest one. I don’t spend much,’’ he said. And whenever there was shortage of money, Nakanishi looked for new ways of making money. “I started selling my stories, my photographs and my experiences,’’ he has noted down on his website, which was created for him by Adriaan van Nijendaal, whom he met in Belgium. Through the website, Daisuke has been able to raise some cash. The dream to travel has now taken shape into a mission. His website says: “It is my wish to contribute to world peace by making friends all over the world. If everyone would be each other’s friend, there would be no place for conflict and war. I figure that my contribution to world peace will be to make one million friends.’’  Once he is back home, Nakanishi hopes to write a book and also to take his experiences to schoolchildren news from – Daisuke Nakanishi World-travelling bicylist. Daisuke Nakanishi of Osaka, Japan is a traveler in search of new friends and world peace. He worked and saved his money for six years and then he started to ride from Anchorage, Alaska on July 23, 1998. Daisuke has since travelled more than 100,000 kilometers (or 65,000 miles) using nothing but his own power. Daisuke has visited almost 100 countries on all continents, all on the same bicycle.

He tries to visit 120 countries before he goes back to Japan. Daisuke received prizes of honorary citizenship in several cities. He met ex-presidents several times and he has many great friends all over the world. He is a member of Japan Adventure Cyclists Club (JACC.) Before this world-trip.I was born in Osaka, Japan on March 6th, 1970. I started riding a bicycle at age 10 while in elementary school. In junior high school, I became very interested in cycling, also through the encouragement of my father. I cycled, together with my brother, to Kyoto and Nara.I cycled the 10 kilometers (one way) to my highschool every day and I enjoyed riding and finding new routes with new landscapes and different colors in every season. While in university, I joined a bicycle touring club and we cycled all over Japan. I did 5 tours in 20 countries, mostly during vacations. But travelling during vacations is stressful because the time is limited. I hated the stress before each trip. It was my dream to travel around the world and make many more friends. To see other parts of the world with my own eyes, to meet people in person. To experience the world.I am not a great planner but I knew I would need at least three years. After graduating from the university (in March 1992 – majoring in economics), I worked at an construction company (which sparked my interest in architecture). I saved all of my money, until I had about US$ 50,000.00.Finally, on July 23rd, 1998, I was ready. The stress of preparation was great (but only once). Many years have gone by and I am still travelling. I still am not a great planner, but I make many plans. It is my dream to make one million friends. During this world-trip.I started to ride in Anchorage, Alaska. A long list of places and countries would follow, taking me across all continents. I learnt to speak a few languages. As of 2007, I speak Japanese (of course), English and Spanish. It’s hard to tell about myself, but here are a few things: My physical challenges. Nobody does this kind of travel unscathed. Of course, there are the physical ups and downs, like: Malaria.In Kenya, I contracted malaria. The lethal kind. Fortunately, medical intervention came in time to save me. Rain. Cyclists get wet when it rains. Not just when they’re on the bike, also while they camp.Rain can be merciless. Long stretches of rain (like in Russia) are a test. Climbing. My ‘work’ is travelling.

My hobby is mountain climbing. Not just any hill, but also the type of mountains that kill (other people, like the one in South-America). I’m collecting a growing list of 5,000+ meter tall mountains that I conquered. The tallest mountain (so far – I have yet to go to the Himalaya) was the Aconcagua in Argentina with 6,962 meters. Rest and lounging. Sometimes, I can unwind in the company of good friends. Like in Basel around Christmas time (twice). It’s very important to let my body heal every now and then. Crime. Of course, many people help a lonely bicyclist. Some, however, try to steal from me, while another tries to hold me down, like in Romania. My mental state. The mental ups and downs are changing the way I look at myself and the world. Poverty. Anti-malaria medicine saved my life in a country where people (still) die. They die of lack of money. Seeing very poor people makes one wish that our wealth could be distributed more evenly. Hospitality. Being dependent upon others is the most important aspect of travel. Especially bicycle travel. It’s good that so many people help me, for which I am always thankful. It is striking that poor people in developing countries are more eager to share than some others. Determination. Crossing Patagonia on a bicycle, in that torrential crosswind, all to way from Tierra del Fuego, takes determination. Without it, I would already have been home. Peace. Travel offers new insight, but also questions and wishes. It is my wish to contribute to world-peace by making friends all over the world. If everyone would be each other’s friend, there would be no place for conflict and war. Celebrity. Remarkable people cross my path: Edmond Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, world reknown footballer Pele, Heinz Stucke (the Guinness world record holder for pedal cycling around the world), Jimmy Carter (ex-president of the USA) and Lech Walesa (ex-president of Poland). I am honorary citizen of Cajamaruca in Peru, of Paznia, Bolivia, of Upata, Venezuela and of Chisinau, Moldova. Salesman. I am slowly running out of money. So, I am looking for new ways to be able to keep travelling. I started selling my stories, my photographs and my experiences. Sometimes for a meal, a shower, bed and a breakfast, sometimes for money (whenever pictures or stories are printed or broadcast). Philosopher. Most people whom I meet is that they too, want world peace. I figure that my contribution to world-peace will be to make 1 million friends. After this world-trip. I don’t know. And I don’t want to know (yet)! news from

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