ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Beyond The Horizon

The First Human-Powered Expedition To Circle The Globe

Foreword Review

During the summer of 2002, Colin Angus, a Canadian in his thirties, decided to make a statement about the overuse of fossil fuels and the urgency of climate change, and began planning the first ever human-powered circumnavigation of the planet. It took him about a year to find a traveling companion, plot a route, and gather the needed funds and equipment. During that year he met Julie Wafaei, the woman who would become his fiancée. She understood, of course, that Colin’s trip would take two years; she would wait.

In June of 2003, Angus and fellow adventurer Tim Harvey left Vancouver on bicycles. Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but Angus returned to Vancouver on schedule by way of Alaska, the Bering Sea (Colin and Tim were the first to row across it), all of Eurasia, the Atlantic Ocean (Lis-bon to Costa Rica, 156 days), Central America, Mexico, and the United States. By land, he traveled mostly by bicycle. By sea, he rowed in tandem. His partner for the last half of the trip, from Moscow to Vancouver, was Wafaei; Tim Harvey had dropped out of the expedition and was continuing his own trip around the world with someone else. Wafaei’s human-powered crossing of the Atlantic was the first ever by a woman.

Beyond the Horizon, Colin Angus’s account of his incredible 27,000-mile odyssey, ranks with bestselling true adventure stories like The Perfect Storm and Into the Wild. It will satisfy a broad spectrum of readers who love travel and the outdoors. Danger lurks at every turn in the form of bears, blizzards, bugs, temperatures as low as -40F, treacherous roads, Hurricane Vince, several near misses with ships at sea, and an assault by highway bandits in Mexico. Logistics, food and equipment, and money problems need constant attention. The trip has no lack of human drama, as readers follow Angus’ deteriorating relationship with Harvey, his growing love for Wafaei, and his accounts of many characters encountered on land and water.

Angus is slowed down by a kidney infection that lands him in a Siberian hospital, by invitations for dinner or a warm bed from kind strangers, and by an endless series of flat tires (he went through seventy-two inner tubes), but he is not to be stopped. His resourcefulness and persistence are inspirational; his stamina—through the “monotonous toil” of weeks or months of sixteen-hour days on the bike or at the oars—is awesome. With Beyond the Horizon, he documents his bold claim: “Mine is the first human-powered journey around the world.”

Joe Taylor