Northern Ireland’s Leon McCarron was first mentioned in these pages almost two years ago as he took off from Bushwick, his home of many months, for a round-the-world bike tour. The daring 10,000-mile journey was multi-purpose; he was riding to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF, while also shooting footage and interviews for a documentary on the social justice theme.
He successfully reached his goal of Hong Kong within a year (taking no public transportation except during ocean crossings), but was far from done with travel. He decided to continue, flying to Paris and then biking to London, logging a total of 14,000 miles. He was 24 years old.
And then McCarron was picked up for a new journey, this time with a pal, called “Walking Home From Mongolia.” Rob Lilwall and McCarron together set out to tackle a 3,100-mile winter expedition through the heart of China. The journey is also a sequel to Lilwall’s acclaimed, televised three-year “Cycling Home From Siberia” expedition, from which National Geographic made a six-part television series using his self-filmed video footage.
The team has just hit the halfway mark, leaving 1,500 miles to go. A recent Facebook post on their page said, “Just when we thought our Mandarin was rather good, we ordered a chicken dish and a whole fish turned up instead. We’re sure it’s supposed to be delicious but we couldn’t really handle the multitude of bones…” (www.facebook.com/walkinghomefrommongolia).
The following is their most recent email update:
In the last few weeks our expedition has officially reached the halfway point! Stopping to admire the vast army of Terracotta Warriors, guarding the tomb of the first emperor of China, we trekked into Xi An and the luxury of a four-day rest. Exhausted in mind and body, we were nonetheless delighted to pass the landmark of 2,500km!
After some glorious relaxation, cooked breakfasts and general rest we pointed southwards once more and began the long walk home. Attempting to pass through the second longest road tunnel in the world didn’t quite go according to plan, but it did lead us into the magnificent and imposing Qin Ling mountains. These are one of the barriers the Chinese use to separate north from south, and in the last few days we have been treated to warmth and rain — both novelties for us, but things we must get used to now we are officially in southern China! Ahead lies the Three Gorges and seemingly endless mountain ranges… and undoubtedly many more adventures to come!
Our live tracking map can now be viewed on the iPad and iPhone — please do check it out to see what we're up to. [walkinghomefrommongolia.com].
We have now raised over HK$158,000 (US$20,256) for the children’s charity Viva, which is 15.8% of our HK$1 million target. Viva works in strategic ways to see children at risk around the world kept safe and healthy, given opportunities to learn and empowered to play an active part in shaping their own futures. Please do consider supporting us by giving to them — any amounts appreciated! Tax receipts available to taxpayers in Hong Kong, UK and US.
Thank you so much.
Rob and Leon