Routes of Change founder in Alberni March 14

Markus Pukonen has spent nearly 250 days kayaking, pogo sticking and cycling across Canada, and he’s nowhere near stopping yet.

Markus Pukonen hops his way through a Winnipeg park on a pogo stick as part of his 1

Markus Pukonen has spent nearly 250 days kayaking, pogo sticking and cycling across Canada, and he’s nowhere near stopping yet.

Pukonen, who started his journey in Toronto, is raising money and awareness for small, local non-profits.

“The message that I want people to take away is that small changes can make a big difference,” said Pukonen.

“Local, small non-profit organizations are doing really great work and could use some support.”

He didn’t set out to make a stand against motorized transportation or to inspire people to give it up—though that has been a welcome side effect—but instead wanted his fundraiser to be something he was passionate about and something that would help the people close to him.

“I was taking a look at my niece’s life and how I could make it a better place for her on this planet,” Pukonen said.

He also realized that if he was going to make a stand, now was the time.

“At the same time I also got some bad news about my dad’s life, I found out that he was given two weeks to live with leukemia and all of that combined to make me think that life can be really short and that I shouldn’t waste it doing something I’m not really passionate about.”

Thus the idea for Routes of Change was born. Pukonen aims to circumvent the globe in 1,825 days using only non-motorized forms of transportation.

He’s almost 250 days in and some days have been better than others.

“The hardest single part was probably the transition from snow into the rain, which happened all in one day. It’s that transition of coming out of the cold and still being in the cold but then being wet was extremely uncomfortable and cold,” Pukonen said of his descent out of the Coquihalla Pass near Hope, B.C.

Recumbent tricycling was also physically challenging.

“Even though I had storms on Lake Superior and I skied in -20 degree Celsius and slept outside in -25 under trees, the hardest part and the most dangerous was when I was on a tricycle in the Prairies on the highway. You never know if people are paying attention or if they’re texting.”

Pukonen’s favourite mode of transportation ended up surprising him.

“My favourite mode of transportation was by far the pogo stick,” said Pukonen. He hopped for 10 kilometres.

“I thought that was going to be the most painful thing I did but something about the fact that it was forcing  me to smile and laugh at myself made my body feel better doing it.”

But the overall highlight of the journey has been the people.

“I’m just continuously meeting really amazing, inspiring people who are making really cool, positive changes on the planet,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s really small little things but it’s really inspiring meeting so many people who are doing so many cool things and who are super generous and kind. It just hammers home the point that we are all pretty kind on this planet and it’s just a matter of smiling and noticing that someone is there to get to know how amazing they are.”

Pukonen will speak about his journey when he cycles into Port Alberni from Tofino on Monday, March 14. The talk is in partnership with the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society and is at 7 p.m. at Char’s Landing with a suggested donation of $10. For more information, visit www.routesofchange.org.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

Just Posted

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Port Alberni council looking at nearly 4% tax increase for 2019

Policing, bridge rehabilitation and impending cruise ship visits all jostling for funding

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death has not been released

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Most Read