Jake Wilcox is a hardcore adventurer who jumps in with both feet whole hearted. It’s something he’s dubbed Venture 500, a worldwide quest to complete 50 expeditions, each 500+ miles, unmotorized or by humankindness. These aren’t just walks through daisy-filled fields with sunny skies and sugar plum drops. In the end, these adventures will add up to equal a circumnavigation of the earth at the equator, each with a focus on global sustainability and the impact of human interference.
“Someone once told me we have on average 30,000 days to accomplish everything we ever dreamed of. When this realization sank in, I was 24, and about 9,000 of those days were already gone. I needed to start chasing my dreams and I needed to start now. So, I did.” – Jake
Often, we’ll come to a fork in the road when we have to pick a direction that will guide us through the rest of our lives. After serving in the Navy out of high school, Jake didn’t have a direction for what life had in store. Born and raised in Washington State, he’s always been surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors. So, what better way to explore the world than by diving in to see what it has to offer?
“The first 3 things you need for any adventure are a backpack, a good knife, and a camera”- Jake
He holds 2 world records, one for the first solo swim of Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River, and the second for his recent transcontinental bike trip across South America. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Since 2014, he’s crossed North America by bike, volunteered in Haiti for three months, trekked to the Arctic Circle solo, walked the Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain, climbed Mt. Rainer solo, and has been a volunteer firefighter. Even after cycling across the United States, he decided to give his bike to charity in Washington D.C. only to make his way to down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by foot with nothing but a bag of clothes on his back.
When Venture 500 all began, Jake didn’t know how to tune a bike, swim down a river unsupported, or solo climb a peak. As his curiosity grew, so did his knowledge. He set out with a smile, a positive attitude, and a goal of self-sufficiency. And guess what? He’s made many friends, memories, and learned from his experiences with plans to continue a life full of adventure.
It’s impossible to tell Jake’s entire story in one sitting. The stats on his website currently show he’s completed 16 of his 50 expeditions, with a total distance travelled so far of 15,446 miles! In 2017, the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, Jake will be starting his third non-motorized transcontinental crossing from Sydney to Perth, Australia. Staying true to his goals, he’ll be raising funds for the World Bicycle Relief. A great organization that empowers students and healthcare workers in poverty stricken areas by providing bicycles in area where distance is a barrier to education, healthcare, and opportunity.
“I’ve learned, or relearned, that the planet and its people are mostly nice. The majority of the population all want the same thing: happiness, love, and their family safe. The media portrays a lot of negativity, but from what I’ve seen first-hand, people are always willing to help out strangers.” – Jake
This guy has really got the right idea, and we’re happy to have him as a part of the Burley Pro Team! Check out this quick teaser for his upcoming Australian transcontinental trip, and visit his site jakewilcoxexplore.com to follow and learn more about his adventures.
Written by Jay Tuttle