People told me it would be near impossible to travel by skateboard, carrying all my travel gear in my backpack. 1.5 years and 12,159km later, I had not only proved them wrong, I was also a Guinness World Record holder; for the longest journey by skateboard (as seen in the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records).
The journey started in 2006; to cycle 12,000km from Japan to England was the plan. Somewhere in the depths of Central Asia, however, I got the idea stuck in my head that travelling by skateboard would be not only more unique, but also potentially more convenient; my daily budget was around $5 a day, and wild camping with a bike was a hassle at times.
I made it to Switzerland on my bike, and there I switched to the longboard and never looked back. The remaining 1,500km from Switzerland to England was awesome; smooth separated cycleways along the scenic Rhine river. Keen for more adventure, I headed to the US (crossing the Atlantic as crew on a sailboat) to skate across that continent.
I broke the Guinness World Record half-way across the US, but still hungered for more. No one had ever skateboarded across China, so that, along with the knowledge that it was home to plenty of fresh new tarmac, made it the obvious choice. China did not disappoint; 5,000km of the most buttery, divine pavement on earth, wild deserts, high passes, and diversity of culture made it the highlight of the trip.
All up, I travelled a shade over 25,000km over 2.5 years before arriving back home in New Zealand. I bought my first set of Icebreaker garments for the original bike trip (GT320 zip top, 280 weight midlayer, and a few sets of 200 and 150 weight base layers), and they managed to last me those 2.5 years of abuse and sweat and heat and frigid cold. 21 days without washing was my record for anti-hygiene, and the Icebreaker merino-wool goodness lived up to the hype. Thanks Icebreaker for your commitment to great design and functionality.
- Rob Thomson (www.14degrees.org), Guinness World Record Holder and Icebreaker fan.