Javi, Inaki and Mikel @(saltysoulproject)
“The biggest risk in life is not being happy and not living the life you want to live." - Inaki Ochoa de Olza, Spanish Mountaineer
Where are you right now? Reading this from an office downtown? Or on your comfy couch at home scrolling through your smartphone? How many hours have you spent outside this week? Do you interact with the people and the environment around you in a positive way? Has the path you have chosen for yourself led to a pure and authentic way of life, or do you feel stagnant? Are you feeding your appetite for adventure? Do you dream of reforming your life and eating the world in a radical way?
Javi Wild, Inaki Miramon, and Mikel Lopez are three friends living the life they want, and doing so in a responsible and conscious way. They all share a common passion, love and respect for the mountains, the sea and nature. Traveling, surfing and breaking with the common routine is their way of living. Through their world travels and time spent chasing waves they have met many people who have taught them a great deal about humanity and who have helped to give their path meaning. Being fortunate globe-trotters has allowed the three friends to recognize the less fortunate; seeing the suffering of others in different countries has fostered a compassion in each of them, coupled with a willingness to help those in need. Thus, the Salty Soul Project was born.
Bike the 1864 miles of coastline from Canada to Baja California, Mexico; surf the entire West Coast of North America; create awareness and raise money for children in Africa and Nepal through a crowd-funding website where donations would be made directly to two NGO's: Kubuka and S.O.S Himalayas (to learn more: http://saltysoul.es/en/ngos-we-colaborate-with/).
All of their gear arrived in Vancouver: 3 bicycles, 3 trailers, 5 surfboards and various other utensils. After five plus hours of set-up each man was ready to grease the chains and start biking, each of them towing 154 pounds of gear!
The first 43 miles of road were an extremely difficult ride which helped prepare them for the many miles ahead. What they were not prepared for was the unexpected kindness of so many strangers along the way. In La Push, Washington they stayed with indigenous peoples. Their first night in California they were invited to stay in an art gallery.
Of course many nights they slept under bridges, near lakes and rivers, or even on a pier with a plastic tarp over them. However, Javi, Inaki and Mikel were surprised and grateful by how often people offered them a place to stay in their homes or comfy cottages. Someone even let them sleep in an empty house with a fridge full of beer! People would occasionally stop them en route to offer them a nice dinner, or one time someone brought them chocolate to comfort them while they slept in the rain. Another person even insisted on paying for a hotel room for them to sleep! It seems you get what you give in this world; what goes around comes around.
"The United States is not just guns, hamburgers, and wars in the countries of the East, which is a bit with the idea we came over here. America, as they called themselves on many occasions, is full of charitable souls, people with great respect and love for nature and a great environmental awareness. And this is the beauty of traveling," say Javi, Inaki and Mikel. "from one moment to another (it) takes away your prejudices, the blindfold without warning. Because we have the habit of judging without knowing."
The Salty Soul Project began from Vancouver in March and finished in Baja California in July. Javi Wild, Inaki Miramon and Mikel Lopez raised $4,190.00 (or $2.25 per mile).