A US teenager who reported being robbed and even hospitalized while spending more than a year bicycling from northern Alaska to southern Argentina is now mulling plans for a similar trip from Europe to Asia.
Liam Garner and his trip across the Americas, which he completed in January, has drawn headlines from international news outlets including CNN, Insider and the BBC. But he is insisting he’s not done with his efforts, which he says demonstrate that one doesn’t have to be rich to travel internationally.
He told Insider in an interview published earlier this week that he embarked on his Pan-American journey when he was 17 because he “wanted to do something so absurd” after graduating from high school.
“I feel like people just need to know that they are capable of incredible things,” Garner said in the interview that Insider published on Monday.
Before setting off on his trek in August 2021, Garner spent about a month gathering equipment: a mountain bike, extra parts for it, a tent, a sleeping bag, batteries and a medical kit. He flew to Alaska and initially departed from Prudhoe Bay with about a day’s worth of food and water as well as $8,000 in savings, according to CNN and Insider.
He aimed to spend no more than $450 a month because he figured nobody could tell him he was spending too much on the trip if he kept his expenses cheaper than the price of car insurance back home.
The ensuing route offered up its hardships. As described in the Insider interview, he was robbed in southern Mexico. He lost his wallet and cellphone and – in scorching temperatures exceeding 100F – had to make do without connections to the internet or a global positioning satellite application.
Garner reportedly crashed in Colombia last summer, hit his head and was hospitalized for a few weeks. He made about $8,000 while on the road from posting updates on the social media site TikTok and soliciting donations on the fundraising platform Patreon.
Some of the other countries which he crossed included Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Chile and Peru before he arrived at his final destination in Ushuaia, Argentina, on 10 January.
Garner admitted to CNN that his parents, who are separated, weren’t entirely happy with his cycling plans. But he has made it a point to say not every interesting experience he had on the trip was a misadventure. He has said in his interviews, for instance, that he reconnected with family in Mexico and Panama while becoming one of the youngest people ever to complete such a journey.
He also told Insider that the trip convinced him international travel doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive to be fulfilling.
In a video posted on TikTok in late February, Garner said he planned to spend five months backpacking from Argentina home to Los Angeles with his partner, Chloe. A video from late March showed him in Chile.
Besides gearing up to possibly cycle from Europe to Asia, Garner told Insider he also intends to write a book about his travels.
“If I managed to pull it off somehow … I would never be able to doubt myself again,” Garner said of his trip to Ushaia in another video he made after getting there. “I know that this was the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
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