Mike Horn began his expedition from the Yacht Club of Monaco, from which he sailed his boat southwards to Namibia. There he explored the world’s oldest desert, the Namib. His route then took him through the Okavango delta in Botswana, the world’s largest inland delta. On to Horn’s homeland South Africa, where Pole2Pole’s first project was implemented and executed: The Shark Project. The aim of this project was to banish the negative stereotypes associated with sharks, raise awareness on the global issues our oceans are currently going though, and to engage and connect with existing local South African programs.
Next step, Horn will leave Cape Town and sail to the Antarctic, which he will cross on skis via the South Pole. Crossing complete, he will navigate the Pacific through the islands of Oceania to Asia, where he will travel parts of New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Once arrived in Asia onboard Pangaea, a further overland journey will lead Horn to the summit of the virgin peaks in India, followed by a journey through the tundra in Kamchatka, before setting sails for the great north. The extreme athlete will then attempt another crossing, this time of the Arctic via the North Pole. Following this, Mike will cross over the world’s largest island, Greenland, after which he will conclude his adventure by navigating back to his point of departure, Monaco.
Mission & philosophy
In the course of 25 years of professional exploration, Mike Horn has had first-hand experience of the world. He has travelled to the remotest parts of the planet, braving extreme conditions and seeing the world change before his eyes. That is why Mike has decided to combine his knowledge of the world and its environment in undertaking an epic global challenge, one that has never been achieved before, circumnavigating the globe by passing through both poles: the Pole2Pole expedition.
Pole2Pole is what may be called Mike’s “retirement project”. Unlike his previous expeditions, Pole2Pole is not just another attempt at a world first: it is more about sharing all the elements, the extreme conditions and the things he experiences with his audience, carrying them through the journey with him.
His mission is to encourage and inspire people to step out of their comfort zone, to venture into the unknown, to understand the importance of the planet we live on and so to take action to preserve it.
The success of Pole2Pole rests on three fundamental pillars; adventure, environment and sharing. Adventure has been Mike’s passion, his motivation, and his whole way of life since he first acquired a taste for it in the bush of Namibia when still very young. Protecting the environment has been a growing concern for Mike. After years spent skiing across the Polar Regions and sailing many miles across the world’s oceans, Mike has witnessed the alarming effect of global warming. By sharing what he will see and experience in his journey round the globe and by highlighting its beauty, Mike hopes to open the eyes of people to the current state of the planet. Ultimately, he is trying to ensure that our planet is respected and appreciated by every future generation.
Mike's philosophy of life
The world and its elements have always been Mike’s playground, his lifeblood, and his passion. Mike is only really himself when confronted by the whims of nature or when he is in a situation where he has to push his abilities to the limit. He is the type of man who will go around asking provocative questions such as this: “On average a lifetime lasts only 30,000 days. What are YOU doing with those 30,000 days?” In this way he makes people think seriously about the way they are living their lives.
A professional explorer who is also a contemporary hero, Mike’s courage, determination, and endurance have pushed him to a level of his own. His strength goes way beyond his physical abilities: it is his mental strength which is challenged as he walks to the North Pole in the complete darkness of winter, or climbs mountain peaks of 25,000 feet and more without oxygen or assistance. Mike is a man who does not fear many things but the one thing which does worry him is time. He has so many plans, ideas and adventures going through his mind that he is afraid he will not have the time to accomplish all the things he still dreams of.
His past achievements as a professional explorer only reflect part of Mike’s true character. People struggle to understand the mysterious 50-year old behind the weather- beaten face which reflects his unique lifestyle. They do not understand him because he does not think like an average human being. Instead of asking himself “Why should I go on this adventure”, Mike asks himself “Why shouldn’t I?” He only cares about what he can do, not what he cannot. Mike believes that if you open up your mind to the world, there is a greater chance of achieving your dreams in life. But then again, as Mike often says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”.