Markus Pukonen, The Man Traveling The World Without Motorized Transport

Markis Pukonen is a Canadian firefighter who’s due to arrive back in his hometown of Toronto this summer after spending the past seven years circumnavigating the world without motorized transport, and just utilizing his “muscles and some wind.” 

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Throughout the past seven years, Canadian firefighter Markis Pukonen has been traveling around the world without utilizing any motorized transportation. Instead, he opted for walking, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, tricycling, skiing, rowing, rafting, paddleboarding, and sailing through 29 countries as a means of showing his support for a greener, more sustainable future. 

Before he started his journey, Pukonen was fighting wildfires in Canada when his dad called him to let him know that he only had a few months to live. After spending the final months with his father, he decided to take the risk and travel the globe. 

“I basically asked myself what I would want to be doing if I found out that I was going to die in a few weeks. How can I live my life without regrets?” Pukonen told CNN. Before his journey, Pukonen founded Routes of Change, a nonprofit organization aiming to raise awareness and funding for small social and environmental organizations that he would find throughout his trip. He then began his journey in Toronto, on a walk to a canoe. 

“I started from the street where I was born, and from that moment on, it’s been pretty crazy. The tension that has been building up completely dissolved into the air. No matter what happened, I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing on the planet.”

“People forget that 150 years ago, nobody used motors at all. So the fact that what I’m doing is such a crazy, astonishing thing [to some people] is really, really bizarre to me. How quickly we’ve forgotten our recent history. We survived perfectly fine and got on with our lives without motors [before],” Pukonen explained to CNN Travel. 

Throughout his journey he was able to meet many individuals and organizations supporting his mission. “My biggest supporters are people who I just met [during the trip] and were super inspired by what I was doing. They’ve been sort of my angels in helping me out when I needed help, and it’s been pretty special,” he explained

Out of all the creative modes of transport he’s taken on throughout his trip, he explained how traveling on water has been a highlight of the whole journey.

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“Being on the water is just super peaceful. Stand-up paddleboarding is sort of my preferred way to travel on water, because I don’t have to be stuck on my bum. It’s a good workout. As long as you’re not going into the wind, it’s great.”

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Pukonen is now only a few months away from completing his journey back in Toronto, where he’s planning on having a welcome home party. After he’s back, he’s already thinking of his next steps in life. 

“I’m planning the party for early July. I’ve just got to walk really fast to get to it, I generally like to live in the present moment. That’s why I love traveling so much. Because it’s much easier to live in the present moment while you’re traveling.

I just sort of wake up and decide what I want to do and sort of survive off instinct as opposed to a predetermined plan or societal plan for me. [With that,] I have trouble really taking credit for anything that I’ve done now, because I feel like I’ve just been sort of surfing a wave that has been created by other people or the energy of the universe, and I’m just sort of flowing with it.

“I don’t really feel like I have any pressure to succeed or to make things happen. It’s just sort of working out for me. And I just need to keep moving and keep fueling my body healthily. I am seven years older than when I started the trip, so I do feel that a bit.”

I don’t want the journey to end when I finish the trip in Toronto. ’d like somebody to continue it. And I’d like to help somebody to continue the Routes of Change in their own sort of style and manner.

So if anybody out there who’s reading this is really keen and wants to do something similar, they should get in touch,” he concluded.”