Angela Maxwell Is Walking Around the World for Women

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On May 2, 2014, with $12,000 saved, Angela Maxwell left her best friend’s home in Bend, Oregon, to start a five-year walk around the world. There’s no pre-approved path for the small ranks of pedestrian circumnavigators, the dozen or so people who’ve claimed they’ve walked around the world —so Maxwell devised her own route. She traveled the 175 miles to Portland, and then across western Australia. She next headed to Vietnam, where she hiked 60 miles from Da Nang to Hue and then spent three weeks recovering from dengue fever. A year into her circumnavigation, she arrived in Mongolia. One night, a two weeks’ hike from Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar, in a valley surrounded by mountains, a stranger entered her tent and raped her. “It was the moment that every woman is afraid of before they go out into the world,” the 37-year-old former business consultant says. After the attack—“it was over in minutes,” Maxwell says—her assailant left. Maxwell packed her gear, hiked a few miles

Eric Larsen Is Dedicated to a Life of Exploration

As a kid, Eric Larsen did a lot of camping and canoeing with his family in Wisconsin, so it makes sense that he’d grow up to be outdoorsy. But a ski-to-the-North-Pole-by-yourself kind of adventurer? That’s a level Larsen found entirely on his own. 

If you’re not already familiar with Larsen, here’s a quick highlight reel. One of the greatest polar explorers of our age, he’s fat-biked 700 miles to the South Pole and skied to the North Pole during summer, when the melting sea ice is especially treacherous to navigate—both first-of-their-kind expeditions. He’s been to the poles more than any other American and is the only person on the planet to have skied to both poles and summited Everest in the same year.

Of course, when you go as big as Larsen does, you’re going to have some hiccups along the way. Like in 2005, when he was a week into his first summertime expedition to the North Pole, pulling what he calls an “impossibly heavy” 400-pound sled across the southward-drifting ice pack. He ended up 30 miles farther south than where he started—and was forced to abort. More recently, in January 2019, due to heavier-than-average snowfall, Larsen had to abandon an unsupported solo crossing of Antarctica, a 700-mile journey he’d hoped to complete in just 24 days, which would have set a new speed record. “Doing difficult things that nobody has ever done before—the chance of success is pretty minimal,” Larsen reflects. “So I’ve probably failed more often than I’ve been successful.”

He’s certainly done lots of both. At 12, he got a paper route so he could afford a road bike and explore Wisconsin’s back roads—often 80 miles at a time. By college, he was getting lost in the Boundary Waters, moving without a compass, suffering through storms, figuring out the details as he went. At age 24, he was mushing teams of dogs across frozen Canadian tundra. “By the time I did my first polar trip, I’d busted my ass so many times that I was going from 95 to 100, not zero to 100,” Larsen says. “I still fail, but I’ve seen so much that I tend not to get terrified anymore.”

These days, Larsen spends more of his time closer to home, in Crested Butte, Colorado, educating people about the polar regions and setting out on multisport sufferfests across entire states (he calls them StateAthons). So far he’s done Wisconsin and Colorado. Next up: New York. But you’ll most likely find him exploring the wilderness right out his backyard with his wife, Maria, and kids. The latter, he says, is especially important. It’s through family camping trips and after-school bike rides that Larsen has seen his kids—Merritt, seven, and Ellie, four—glean many of the same lessons that have defined his life. And for an explorer-slash-father searching for balance, that’s validating.

“When you’re on an expedition, you remove everything from your life, and existence becomes very stark,” says Larsen. “But that’s when you more sharply realize what’s important. I don’t miss seeing a movie or eating a hamburger when I’m out there. I miss my family. They’re the most important thing in my life.”


Whether adventure is your life’s work or just a weekend pursuit, gear up with nothing less than the greatest exploration vehicle of all time: the 2020 Ford Explorer. Built to explore. Built Ford Proud. Learn more at ford.com.



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