World traveller

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Norwegian volunteer worker cycling his way across the globe

Rune Monstad just felt like biking.

The 34-year-old Norwegian was working as a volunteer with orphans in Bolivia when he became interested in cycling. So he set off on Dec. 26, 2005, to see the world. Literally.

World traveller

Rune Monstad just felt like biking.

The 34-year-old Norwegian was working as a volunteer with orphans in Bolivia when he became interested in cycling. So he set off on Dec. 26, 2005, to see the world. Literally.

"I wanted to see the world before I get married, because when you're married it's very difficult," explained Monstad, during a recent stop in Maccan. "To see the world from a bike is the best way because you see everything and you meet all kinds of people, not just tourists."

The traveller has now logged more than 35,000 km and is not even halfway finished his journey. He started in Bolivia and has travelled through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Central America and Mexico before criss-crossing the United States and then entering Canada on the west coast. He cycled across Canada in the middle of winter.

"The Canadian people are so friendly," he said. "I've been here for six months and never had to pay for sleep. Only one month I spent in my tent, and the rest of the time Canadian people invited me home and gave me food."

People like Earl Hoeg in Maccan, who once put up a similar traveller from France in 1984, and wanted to do the same for Monstad. He not only took him in and fed him, but also took him to the legion in River Hebert for a night of dart playing with friends and family.

He has used the same bicycle for the entire trip although he has replaced almost every part on it, except for the frame. He has repaired 112 flat tires so far on the journey, and jokingly considers himself a professional at it now.

The cyclist now plans to head to Prince Edward Island to see Anne of Green Gables, as it has been a Christmas tradition for his family to watch the Anne movie each year. From there he will go to Newfoundland to see L'Anse-aux-Meadows, where the Vikings landed a thousand years ago.

In St. John's he will meet his twin brother, who has a sailboat, and together they will sail to the Caribbean before he resumes his cycling venture. He still plans to visit Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Russia and Europe, spending at least another three years on the road before finishing.

Through it all he has learned that the world is a much nicer place than most people give it credit for.

"One thing I've learned is to never listen to people anymore, as they are very scared today," said Monstad. "They're warning me all the time, like don't go to Colombia because they will kill you there for $5. In Colombia were some of the friendliest people I ever met. Everywhere I go I find friendly people."

To find our more about Monstad and his journey, visit his blog at www.vikingbiker.com.



awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Vikings

Geographic location: Bolivia, Colombia, Maccan Canada Peru Ecuador Central America Mexico United States France River Hebert Prince Edward Island Green Gables Newfoundland St. John's Caribbean Africa Middle East Asia Indonesia Australia Japan Russia Europe

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