"Why are two 18- and 19-year-olds setting off on this wild journey from Florence to Cape Town? Simply because we want to live a life of adventure, we want to tell great stories, we want to know and get in touch with the world we were born into."
On 10 October Dario Franchi and Oliver Kašpar started out from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence and cycled towards France. Afterwards they will head to Spain and finally get to Morocco, from where they will officially begin their long journey across the western backbone of Africa riding to Cape Town, the ultimate destination. The numbers of this adventure are quite impressive: 18,000 km, 2 continents, 25 nations.
Dario and Oliver are two friends from Tuscany, sports enthusiasts who share a passion for video-making and photography. The dream, which they have been hatching since they were schoolmates, became reality four months ago when they realised that, supported by the crowdfunding they had started and the many tips they had received from people who had already done such expeditions, this journey no longer seemed so impossible to make.
The simplicity of the mode of transport and of the approach to the road, the intention to experience every part of the land they will pass through, are the mantras that will follow them throughout their expedition.
Being used to sporting ventures - Dario comes from cycling, while Oliver is passionate about alpinism and climbing - they explain that they “are not afraid, but fascinated by discovery, by the idea of travelling slowly. We chose Africa because it is an unexplored continent on the two wheels”.
They expect to make it in ten months, "but maybe we will need a year, since between visas and unforeseen events, bad roads and geopolitical conditions of the countries we will cross, possible difficulties are just around the corner, and we don't know exactly how long we will take.". Dario and Oliver are not reckless, they have their heads on their shoulders, they have studied and planned their trip down to the last detail, aware of the challenges they will be facing.
An adventure under the banner of a minimalist philosophy, far from the chaotic world in which today's society is immersed, which will be shared on social media: Dario will mainly take care of the video editing part, Oliver of the photographs.
Sharing, awareness, friendship, and altruism: these are the keywords that will accompany them in their adventure. The environmental issue is indeed part of the message they want to bring with their initiative. Dario's sister, Alice, is one of the most committed activists of Fridays for Future Italy and has also involved her brother in the Green Wave's battles against inaction in fighting the climate emergency. Dario participated in the Torino Social Camp and, when he has the opportunity, takes part in FFF strikes. For this reason, the trip is intended to be a message of sustainability: to show how much can be done with a bicycle, a green vehicle, “and to show how we can try to travel with zero emissions, if we exclude a few ferries or transport that we will necessarily have to take”.
The philosophy that will guide their journey is about carrying as little as possible, always careful not to pollute and hoping for the hospitality of the people to have a shelter to spend the night, even if, otherwise, they have tents for camping. Discovering the world we live in in all its facets and, in the meantime, helping it, defending it: "The theme is above all that of sustainable travel. Travelling while enjoying the journey, going slowly along longer roads and talking to people, but with few things behind, the essential ones".
Now the boys are in Camargue, on the Southern coastal area of France. Over the next few days, they will travel the whole length of the coast to Barcelona, where they will arrive, more or less, next week. In Barcelona they will take a few days to have a little break, recharge their batteries and have some rest. They will then leave for Africa, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar.
"The trip is going great," Dario tells us, " gradually we are finding a balance on all the little mistakes we were making and are still making in these European days in which we have to take all the steps to get ready for when the adventure becomes much tougher and more interesting in Africa". The enthusiasm is the same as in the early days, but the concentration remains focused on the goal.
The journey is only just beginning and we will certainly continue to keep you updated via our blog and our Instagram profile!
To support 'em:
Follow their journey on social media:
Dario Franchi IG
Oliver Kašpar IG
Dario Franchi YouTube
Oliver Kašpar YouTube
Urkell Journal Team