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Wild for – Climate - Change

Wild for – Climate - Change

Feb 2016

Words & pics Bernie Theron

Tomorrow, 20 February, Nightjar Adventurer of the Year 2015, Bernie Theron, sets out on an adventure that he hopes will draw awareness to one of the pressing issues of our time.

Life starts in the most unpredictable ways. And I don’t mean child birth, but the stage in your life when you make a personal change and truly start living life. For me it was early 2014 when I jumped head first into the madness that is solo adventuring. I took my first baby steps feeling my way into the wild, experiencing my first night alone, first blisters, first mental breakdown and first time isolated from humans… 

You get overcome by childlike excitement: everything is new and untouched and you are overwhelmed by a feeling of bliss. Years of sitting behind a computer playing games had dulled my senses, which once were so strong. But now I was free and all I knew was that I wanted more.

I got my fair share of ‘more’ during 2014. It started when I won the Mountain Club of South Africa’s Supertramp award. With this sponsorship I headed to Iceland on a mission to trek across the whole of Iceland alone and unsupported. It took me 27 days of ice-cold wind, heavy rain and endless hunger but luckily I made it. For this odyssey I won the Nightjar Adventurer of the Year award 2015.  Before the year was out I ended up being sponsored by Rim of Africa on a mission to scout out a new long distance trail on the Western Cape mountain ranges. It was 53 days of absolute inner peace and shattered body. In that fynbos I discovered the beauty and attraction of South Africa and the hidden possibilities it has. Unbeknown to me then, this discovery would dictate my location for my next expedition.

Now, a year later I am finally jumping once more into the unknown. With the help of my sponsors I will be cycling from Cape Town through eleven African countries ending up where I started from; one very big circular route. The expedition will take me from the deserts of Kenya to the beaches of Mozambique, slowly discovering the continent we so seldom see. But I think cycling could get extremely tedious, so in each of the countries I will also attempt individual adventures. For example I will hike the Grand Drakensberg Traverse in Lesotho, row across Lake Malawi, trek across the Sau Pan in Botswana, climb volcanoes in Tanzania and so forth. This will see me cycling around 13 000km, hiking 1 000km and paddling 600km in around nine months. All alone and unsupported.

The expedition is called Wild for Change and I am dedicating the whole adventure to climate change, in the hope to raise awareness and funds for this critical cause. I have partnered with an organisation called Greenpop to achieve this goal. Greenpop is a social enterprise on a mission to (re)connect people with our planet. They plant trees in urban greening and reforestation sites - and have fun doing it. We hope to raise funds to plant 242 trees, each tree costing R120. I am also aiming to meet up with local environmental NGO’s in Africa to have a sneak peek into the business of saving our environment and ultimately our world.

The ideal for me is to make a small difference in the way humans see and use our world’s resources, and to try and make a small difference in the fight against Climate Change. If each of us changes the way we see life, each other and all living things we as a society can change for a better future. So here I am changing, will you?

A special thanks to the sponsors of this project: Mountain Club of South Africa, Rietmark, Wild Trails and Fish Eagle Bay Lodge! Please go and support these amazing companies! 

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