Recipient of the 2013 Citation of Merit and the 2010 Vancouver Award, both from The Explorers Club, Erden Eruç is the founder and President of the Seattle based charitable organisation Around-n-Over. His mission is to educate and to inspire especially children. Human powered journeys provide the source for his dispatches from the field and, through Around-n-Over, he undertakes charitable projects toward primary education. He has already raised and applied about 100,000 USD toward these programs.
Eruç recently completed the first single human powered circumnavigation of the globe which took 5 years and 11 days to complete. He used a rowboat, a bicycle, a sea kayak, walking, and on three occasions traditional canoes for river crossings. He physically pushed his own body forward over a total of 1,026 days, only 242 of which were on land. What pushed him to start the circumnavigation journey was the tragic rock climbing accident which claimed the life of Göran Kropp in September 2003. Eruç was the belayer for Kropp on that unfortunate day.
One of the lessons that Eruç shares in his presentations is that when we set ourselves big goals, we have to take many steps in rapid succession or big steps each noteworthy in their own right. The circumnavigation was such a big goal that by the time Eruç returned to his starting point at Bodega Bay on 21 July 2012, he had covered a distance of 35,795 nm (66,299 km – 66% farther than the length of the Equator) after passing through 12 pairs of antipodes en route averaging a great circle. He had become the first to have rowed the three major oceans and the first to have rowed across the Indian Ocean mainland to mainland from Australia to Africa. He had accumulated a total of 876 days and almost 29,000 nautical miles on his rowboat, making him the most experienced ocean rower alive. He had taken over the record for the longest time at sea for a solo rower while on the Pacific: 312 days. His total of 5,465 nm over 153 days while rowing from Namibia to Venezuela, was the longest distance by human power on the Atlantic Ocean. He had also summited Mt. McKinley, Kosciuszko and Kilimanjaro after reaching them by human power to honor the memory of his friend Göran Kropp.
As a former engineer and a lecturer with an analytical mind, Eruç is at ease in front of large audiences when he shares the lessons from his epic journey. Having walked the talk, he conveys a message that honors mates and the kindness of strangers. He acknowledges dreams and emphasizes goal setting to reach beyond our comfort zone. He managed this multi phased project, built the team and delivered on his promises. He took calculated risks and survived because he had not left to conquer the world rather to be one with nature. This sense of purpose which guided his actions now makes him a candidate for advocacy in causes including conservation, the environment, health, wellness and human powered commuting.