People travel in all different types of ways. Some enjoy all-inclusive resorts where the piña coladas flow, while others enjoy living off a set of essentials in a precisely packed backpack. Radu Paltineanu, however, prefers to endure the elements on his bicycle. The Romanian has spent years pedaling and hitchhiking — two forms of transportation people tend to avoid for safety reasons and the high level of inconvenience.
I had the chance to speak with Paltineanu about his most recent expedition — cycling from Alaska to the tip of Argentina. He was able to have a leisurely conversation with me while touring the diverse beauty of Brazil. I was left jealous for so many reasons:
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Deşi nu am avansat decât 122 de km, în ultimele 4 zile am avut de urcat peste 6500 de m. A fost una din cele mai lungi urcări de până acum (mă aşteaptă multe altele când revin pe coasta de vest în Ecuador). Din Bucaramanga unde în miezul zilei temperatura depăseşte 35°C, pe platoul andin la peste 3300 de m se lasă cu frig bine, mai ales după apus. Aş spune că a fost o pauză bine meritată de la caniculă. De aici mai am doar 80 de km pâna la granița cu Venezuela, țara cu numărul 12 a expediției #cycletheamericas .
I was reading that your big expeditions like this started a few years ago. Can you tell me about your first journey?
I’ve been traveling for awhile now. I was on and off traveling. I was a student at McGill University in Canada, so whenever I’d be free from school I would go on different expeditions. In 2013, I did another bike trip from Copenhagen to Romania. In 2014, I went hitchhiking from Paris all the way to Tehran in Iran.
Last year, on the 5th of August, I started this one in the north part of Alaska, attempting to cycle both Americas, basically from each extreme. From the North part of Alaska all the way to the South part, that’s Argentina.
How long have you been on the road now?
I’ve been traveling for the past year and five months, almost. When I started the trip, I thought it would be over in nine months. I was really like, “Oh, I’m going to do it fast, I’ll cycle this amount of kilometers a day so I can get from there to the other side in this amount of time.” It didn’t happen and I decided to slow down and get to enjoy the places a little bit more. I also decided to cycle through all the continental countries, at least, of the Americas. When I got to Columbia, instead of keeping going down to Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, I went eastwards into Venezuela and now I’m in Brazil. I’m zig-zagging through South America, basically, to see all the countries, as well.
Do you have a new predicted time when you’ll be finished, or are you just trying to go with the flow?