Some people enjoy travel, others love it. For an adventurer, travel is everything. It's their route from one place to the next, a journey that never ends.
For some, it is about conquering and claiming, proving oneself against the elements. But for the adventurer Mikael Strandberg, it really is more to do with understanding and reaching out to others.
Considered as one of the world's 50 most important and famous explorers by The Royal Geographical Society, and now blogging here, he shares with us his remarkable experiences so far:
I explore to understand the meaning of life. I am looking for an answer regarding the eternal question: Why on earth did we humans end up here, dominating the planet the way we do, but not fully understanding it ?
And, I believe that to be able to understand fully, you have to realise the basic values of people, who everyday live very close to nature.
I feel I have a mission to get people to better comprehend each other, and to help them face the unknown and misunderstood. Basically, a builder of bridges between cultures.
My greatest challenges so far
Living through a Siberian winter. The most demanding part of my expedition along the Kolyma river, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, led me to the Siberian settlement of Kolymskaya. Arriving there was the happiest moment of my exploring life.
I had, together with my assistant Johan, spent most of the past five months in near constant darkness hauling 660 pounds of necessities. I experienced terrifying cold, with average temperatures around -50°F, day and night.
Ice froze our fingers and skis through; in the end we were forced to walk the final miles.
When the village came out to greet us we saw Chukchis, Even, Yakuts, Yugahirs and Russians. And what a welcome! The customary Russian warmth thawed our bones, as we shared fresh food with villagers dressed in their traditional costumes.
My next adventure will be Expedition Arabia.
The main purpose of the expedition is to build bridges of understanding and knowledge between the Arab countries, and also between the Islamic east and the European west.
This is perhaps the most important mission of our time, as the gap between the two cultures is widening, and fear and fanaticism are growing stronger.
With years of adventuring, Mikael's CV and achievements are impressive and too many to note here.
1986-1987: Mikael went by bicycle from Chile to Alaska, a distance of 27,500 km. He crossed the El Darién Jungle, 800 km of virgin rainforest between Panama and Colombia.
1989-1992: He went by bicycle from Norway to South Africa, a distance of 33,000 km, passing through the Sahara Desert.
1994-1996: Mikael went by bicycle from New Zealand to Cairo traversing Asia, a distance of 90,000 km.
1997-1998: Patagonia: 3,000 km by horse through an isolated, windy and painfully cold part of the world - a trip that doubled as his honeymoon.
2000: Mikael walked through Maasailand in eastern Africa, exploring all clans of the Maasai people.
2004: Mikael explored the unknown Kolyma river in north-eastern Siberia. An expedition that is regarded as one of the coldest ever in the history of exploration.
Mikael is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers’ Club, Travellers Club and the Long Riders Guild.
He was also voted 'Explorer Hero' 2002 by National Geographic.