© Mikael Strandberg
© Mikael Strandberg

Mikael Strandberg, from Sweden, has made some epic journeys including a 27,500 km bike ride from southern Chile to Alaska and an expedition in Siberia along the Kolyma river.


1. What made you decide to get involved in desert exploration, specifically in wanting to make an ultra long journey by camel?

Main reason is building bridges of understanding between the Muslim East and European/American West. And one way to do it is to connect the traditional way of the Bedu/Arab by camel travel which helped the Arabs and Islam to spread. And I also see this trip as a kind of a pilgrimage on a personal level. But for more background see: http://www.mikaelstrandberg.com/arabia/

I have passed the Sahara with a bicycle from north to south and I have passed a lot of deserts during my cycling days, when doing 90,000 kms on a push bike. So I love deserts, whether it will be tundra desert, mountain desert or sandy desert.

It is challenging, but peaceful and an inner journey.


2. What skills have you found the most useful when making your epic river journey in Siberia?

Communication between humans. I don´t do sporting adventures, I do connecting cultures and the issue of communication is the only way to succeed. This I learned a lot in Siberia. And enjoying eating raw frozen fish and having a dump in minus 60!!


3. In the Kolyma river trip there is a definite feeling of aiming for more remote territory than your previous trips. How much previous preparation did you do to set this up? 

Two years including studying Russian, sleeping two winter season in a tent outside my former house in Sweden and dragging tires on and off....however, I want to add i am brought up in the Swedish outback and knows how to fish, hunt and use an axe. Most polar explorers don´t have these skills....from the beginning.


4. How many expeditions have you mounted and what smaller discoveries are you most proud of? 

Six proper expeditions, more than half a year, the others our advanced holidays; and Siberia changed and destroyed my life. 


5. What areas of the world are most interesting to you as places for possible exploration?

Well, it is said the we humans only have documented about 5% of the flora and fauna of the rainforest's of the globe, so this is one area, but don't forget, even though we hardly have any white unexplored areas as such, life is forever changeable, so the Arab world I will pass through is very different to what Ibn Battuta saw and experienced. So exploring never stops!


6. What is, to you, the major significance of being an explorer in the 21st century?

Building bridges between cultures, educating, communicating, telling the truth, being objective and forward the positive sides of life!


For my full CV see:  http://www.mikaelstrandberg.com/cv/