SOCIETY

Motivating people to set lofty goals

Alastair Humphreys is an explorer, cyclist and writer; an adventurous type who believes himself to be quite normal even though he?s circled the globe with his bicycle, among other extreme endevors.

But, above all else, Humphreys? greatest achievement is that he is a motivating force for people who underestimate their potential. And, he argued, there are many such people.

Through his website (www.alastairhumphreys.com), speeches and books, the Englishman urges people to set ambitious goals in life and not to hesitate in achieving them. ?Trust. Smile. Boldness and relentless passion will be rewarded,? he writes in ?Ten Lessons from the Road,? which recently circulated in the Greek translation and is illustrated with photographs he has taken on his globe-trotting journeys.

Kathimerini met up with Humphreys while he made a stop in Athens. He spoke of the excitement of anticipation, the difficulties of new beginnings and the frustration of waiting for the next step. And, of course, about the journey for the journey?s sake.

The title of Chapter Four of ?Ten Lessons? is ?We Walk Alone: You are the only one who controls your potential.? Humphreys has a beef with loneliness, though his brand of loneliness is different to most. ?I spend most of my time alone,? he told Kathimerini. ?I don?t always enjoy it, but at the end of the day, it does give me a great deal of satisfaction. The good thing is that there are 7 billion people in the world. And almost every one of them has a story to tell.?

Humphreys? next project is a four-month journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, in commemoration of the first time man stepped foot in Antarctica. ?It?s a very expensive trip, and we?re looking for sponsors,? he said, explaining how it has been budgeted at around 1 million euros, mostly because of the cost of transportation and equipment.

Humphreys? dreams, however, are normally much more economical; cheap in fact. For his four-year, round-the-world bicycle trip, he only needed 7,000 pounds, which he had managed to save up. Last year, when he decided to walk across southern India, he only spent about 800 pounds, 500 of which was spent on airfare. ?I never let cost get in the way of my dreams,? said Humphreys. ?I wouldn?t say that my trips have any major significance in and of themselves. What is important is the contact I have with people who describe how radically my books have changed their lives.?