My name is Furtemba Sherpa from Nepal. I have been cycling the world since 2003 promoting world peace, environmental protection and social harmony. My goal is to visit 151 countries by 2020. To date, I have achieved over 65% of this goal. I have already toured 100 countries so far and have clocked in over 101321 Km in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Caribbean, Central, South America and now onto my fourth continent Africa.. My aim is to challenge our communities and leaders to do as much as they can to create sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives to many of our current practices especially with transport initiatives.
I have traveled through many countries, including Nepal, and witnessed great pain and sufferings amongst people due to war and oppression â€“ families torn apart by their ideological differences. Insecurities have led people to distrust and lose harmony with each other. Through out my journey, I carry Lord Buddhaâ€™s peace flag his birth place Lumbini. I have come to the realization that a healthy environment and a peaceful world are deeply linked to each other â€“ we cannot have one without the other. I remind people I meet that each of us are world citizens transcending borders, gender, race, religion, and that what happens in one part of the world affects the rest of us. I had to overcome many challenges in life including homelessness.
At age 10, I ran away from home and made a treacherous journey to the capital city, Kathmandu. Leaving home meant one less mouth for my parents to feed. In the city, I had planned to find work and send money to help my parents feed and raise my six siblings. Instead, I faced homelessness, substance abuse, and was a constant prey to those who seek to exploit street kids. I quickly developed the instinct and skills to survive in the bustling city and found work washing dishes in restaurants and odd manual jobs. I also discovered the entrepreneurial side of me, and by 20s, I owned and ran a successful restaurant and a clothing store.
I noticed with every visit to my parents that the forest around the village and the glaciers on the mountains were disappearing. The river, once mighty, was turning into a mere meandering stream. In the countryside, there was war brewing that pitted siblings against each other and fathers against sons. Each night, the television screen was filled with gruesome images of people killed as each of the warring sides claimed a higher body count than the other, as if trying to collect the most trophies on a hunting expedition. I started asking how, in the land where Lord Buddha was born, can such slaughter of innocent people occur. Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha must become a peaceful country once again and bearer of peace.
Then on 25th of Dec, 2003, just like I did on that cold morning 13 years earlier, I decided to run away. But this time, I chose to take my passion for cycling and pedal around the world and promote peace and awareness of the environmental issues facing the Earth today. Along my journey, I am glad to meet people who are rebuilding their lives, families and communities after going through conflicts and wars. Their resilience is inspiring and further drives me to spread their message of hope, courage, and peace.
The journey has not been easy. I have endured injuries and danger along the route, including road accidents, extreme weather, food poisoning, thirst, hunger, and beatings by bandits. People wonder and ask why I am doing this. My answer is simple, â€œI must do it for my daughters and for children around the world.â€ One pedal stroke at a time, I hope my story will inspire people to act in their own way to make a greener Earth. I believe we can find solutions through mutual respect, dialogue and understanding rather than through violence.
I am grateful to all of the people I met for their hospitality, friendship and brotherhood and thankful for their encouragement. Iâ€™ve been very fortunate to have the support of the Nepali people both in Nepal and in other countries I have visited. They have welcomed me into their homes like a long lost relative.
Peace and harmony for you.
Furtemba Sherpa, World Cyclist