English adventurer Mike Perham popped into the Yukon Territory on his journey to wrap around the globe three times in the name of adventure and fundraising.
Perham, who’s just 20 years old, has already sailed around the world once. By himself. Now he’s driving around the world, and next year he plans to learn how to fly a plane, so that he can fly around the world in 2014. By then he’ll be able to say that he’s the first person to travel solo around the world by sea, land and air.
The guy is crazy for adventure – and for firsts.
“I want to do it three times because no one else in history has ever done that,” says Perham. “That’s the main reason. Because it’s never been done.”
By age 14 Perham had already caught the fever for doing things first. At that age he earned the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person to cross the Atlantic solo in a sailboat. Then in 2009 at the age of 17 he became the youngest person to sail around the world solo.
Those trips must have had his parents wringing their hands, but now that he’s 20 years old and driving around the world, they’re not as worried.
“They’re finally getting used to it,” says Perham. “After so many years, they’re finally getting to, ‘Okay, this is just how Mike is. But I don’t tell them everything that’s happened.'”
There have been points along his journey that Perham thought were a little “risky”.
“Like driving on a very narrow cliff edge road through China and dangerous areas in Russia,” says Perham. “There’s a lot of crime in certain places in Russia.”
And then there have been the high points along the trip that fuel him along.
“A really good recollection is when I was driving across Mongolia in the Gobi Dessert and nobody was around and all I could see was sand, sand, sand,” he says. “That was definitely a high, because it was so abstract.”
Passing through Haines Junction on Oct. 23 and Whitehorse on Oct. 24 would fall in the category of not that risky, comparatively, but it is geographically memorable.
“I wanted to come to this part of the world, where it’s very cold and very far north and the scenery is just spectacular,” says Perham. “I’m a big fan of mountains and there’s lots here – and I like the big scenery that makes you go ‘Wow’ and you’ve got that here. When you throw some snow into the picture, it certainly makes it beautiful.”
Now he’s on a downhill slide back towards home, having spent three-and-a-half months on the road and traveled through 18 countries. His trajectory is headed down through the bulk of Canada and then he’s going to make a left turn and head for New York. From there, the plan is to catch a ride across the Atlantic and return to Potter’s Bar, in County Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, for the start of the Christmas season.
By the time he’s back home he estimates he’ll have traveled 24,000 miles and his goal is to raise one pound sterling for every mile he travels. All of the money he’s raising – 100 per cent of it – is to support the disaster relief organization ShelterBox, which provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters. The kits contain such items as a tent for shelter, a water purification filter, a stove and cooking implements and blankets.
Perham has seen first-hand how people have reacted to receiving ShelterBoxes during an emergency. On his trip around the world he visited four locations where ShelterBoxes were given to locals following a disaster. In Sichuan Province in China, Perham spoke to villagers who received ShelterBoxes following the 2008 earthquakes that killed 80,000 people. Other locations he visited include Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; and Christchurch, New Zealand.
Whitehorse resident James Paterson is a big believer in ShelterBox. Paterson, a Rotary Club member, has become an ambassador for ShelterBox. Paterson arranged for Perham to speak to Whitehorse’s three Rotary Club branches about his travels. By the end of the day, the Rotary Club supported Perham’s cause with a cheque for $2,000.
“The three Rotary Clubs in Whitehorse have donated approximately 70 ShelterBoxes for relief efforts globally, with a huge majority going to Haiti in the past few years,” Paterson says. “It’s very important that we get the word out there about the work Mike is doing.”
To learn more about ShelterBoxes, to sponsor Perham’s fundraising, or to track where he’s at, go to his website at www.MikePerham.tv