Cycling across South America for the DOT Challenge
Brent Hazell and Jason Smit are two brothers from each other’s mothers, as they described their deep relationship. The two men have decided to cycle across the length of South America, covering 11, 000km taking 7 months which would be average of 60kms cycled per day.
The purpose behind it is to raise awareness for the DOT Challenge and inspire many other to Do One Thing for the planet, initiative that Braam Malherbe, extreme adventurer, motivational speaker and conservationist conceptualized and started a few years back.
On September 3rd Brent and Jason departed from South Africa and they will start their journey in Ushuaia, the southern tip of Argentina. From there they will head north with the intension of reaching northern Colombia 7 months later.
Their tour will take them through some of the highlights of South America, including the ice caps of Patagonia, the beautiful ancient ruins of Machu Pichu and Charles Darwin's Galapagous Islands. It will give them the opportunity to experience a wide variety of different climates and environments in Spanish speaking countries.
Brent has recently quit his job to undertake this journey of self exploration and Jason is an aspiring development activist who wants to understand the world. Both want to become greater assets to this finite planet, our only home.
Originally they planed to embark on this journey primarily for self discovery, but after they attended Braam Malherbe’s motivational talk and heard about the DOT Challenge they decided that this is their purpose and that the last piece on the puzzle was found.
Climate change is a topic that both of them feel strongly about and they are going to help to reach the goal of getting as many people as they can to Do One Thing every day for the planet.
Along the way they are going to be completing challenges to try and grow as individuals. One of these challenges will be related to DOT, where they will do one challenge a day. Other sustainability challenges will include meat free Monday's (and then an extended spell of vegetarianism), limiting single use plastics, planting trees, local conservation projects as well as to educate the local communities about sustainable living.
Individual challenges would be a little more light hearted and include things like “learning to touch my toes, back flips, living off a dollar-a-day and learning to speak Spanish”, says Brent. They have taken a drone, a GoPro and a camera along with them in order to document the challenges. All of them will be posted on the DOT Challenge’s social media platforms.
“The place that we all call home is sick. We all have the power and the responsibility to make changes in the way that we live to create a more sustainable society. I look forward to sharing how easy and rewarding it can be to make these changes with Jason, the boy I moved next door to when I was six years old,” said Brent and continues; “social capital is knowing that the person next to you has your back. If everyone scratches each others back to preserve and conserve, the world can only become a better place”.
Jason has similar goals and is equally excited to embrace this journey with his best friend:
“Every action has a consequence. Somehow I have ended up here with one of my best and oldest friends and for a cause which every self-respecting human-being can identify with. Accumulative micro-action on a mass scale will make the world a better place. Nobody appears to understand pollution and what we are doing to our home. When you experience the wonders of nature you cannot help but feel a responsibility to protect it. I am proud to be behind a cause with a true homie. I am excited to experience what freedom of the bike can inspire. We are by no means pioneers in what we are doing, we are just friends trying to do better,” said Jason.
Braam Malherbe, the founder of the campaign, is an extreme adventurer himself and on May 9th he arrived back from his latest expedition, the Cape To Rio Row, where him and his rowing partner, Wayne Robertson, rowed, unassisted, from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, a distance of 8,100kms in 92 days to raise awareness for the DOT Challenge.
“After coming close to death and wondering why I was doing such a crazy thing, it truly gives me hope when I see young people, like Brent and Jason’s passion to embrace change and take positive action. In this case they are riding their talk”, said Braam.