Don Sup World Paddler has heard of your exciting adventures and the chivalrous deeds you do along the way. We’d love to learn more!
Your spirit of adventure is evident on your website. Your call to service is noble. What motivates you to do these trips?
The world is a complicated place (for some more than for others) but it will be way better if more people were willing to make a small difference! Sometimes people get overwhelmed thinking how they can make a huge difference and they end up doing nothing (and just a tiny thing for 1 person is better than doing nothing). I always recommend fellow travelers to take a small water filter & solar light for their next trip, and to give it away to a local family before returning Home. The small investment will be redeem by the end of their trip and will still make a HUGE difference for that local family.
Your amazing pictures tell us a story of your travels and the people you meet along the way. Does any particular person or place hold a special place in your heart?
After 6 years on the road it’s hard to choose just one place or person, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the family from my first family portrait. A few weeks after I made their image I returned to the area and I was invited to get a hot beverage in their kitchen… and when I saw the little 4x6” print I gave them as the only decoration of their mud walls, it made me realize all my effort was worth it.
We see you like to bike - alot! Also, some pictures show you have had experiences on the water too. Do you like to paddle?
I prefer to travel by bicycle because it lets me cover more ground (reach more communities) and carry more donations, but I also travelled by packraft, by foot and the combination of all of those options. I love packrafting because when combined with bikepacking (bike-rafting) I can get almost anywhere. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to spend as much time paddling as I wanted (I’ve an epic bike-rafting Expedition planned for Venezuela) mainly because I couldn’t afford a dry-suit and it’s not safe to paddle without one at Patagonia. Last summer a young British bike-rafter died from hypothermia down here and friends & family made a crowdfunding campaign, in order to donate bikes for kids in developing countries in Tom’s name: https://www.gofundme.com/f/
As an adventurer, food is important. What do your typical meals consist of?
When I travel I usually start my day with coffee and oats (with milk, honey, & dry fruits), I get a bar at mid morning and for lunch cheese & salami (or noodles made earlier that morning and carried in an insulated bottle). For dinner I usually get rice or pasta with dehydrated vegetables, olive oil, and cheese.. and for dessert dark chocolate (at least at the beginning of the trips).
We hear you will plan to go to Venezuela when things normalize again. How can someone help you help others?
Last February I went to Venezuela, but after a couple of weeks there I had to cut my trip short due to COVID-19… so I’m planning to return there with more donations, as it’s currently the place where assistance is needed the most at South America. According to UNHCR, by October 2019 approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans had left the country for reasons of insecurity & violence, lack of access to food, medicine, fuel, essential services, and loss of income due to the political situation.
People can help me to travel further and reach more people, buying prints from my website (www.theironlyportrait.com/prints) or making a small donation through Paypal (www.paypal.me/theironlyportrait)