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Now more than ever, we need to get back to basics.
Mike Horn

Mike Horn is an adventurer who set out on a four-year, world-wide voyage in a naturally powered yacht called Pangaea in April of 2008. Here at Faust A. G. we’ve been reporting regularly on his movements (see Recreating Charcot’s Celebratory Glass, Meeting the Kids in Yokohama, Japan , Three Star Lunch in the Gobi Desert), and now we’ve caught up with Horn for an interview while he’s stopped in New York.
What is the great explorer like? Here, Horn traces the journey from the Pangaea mission to his next project, and tells us a little about his philosophy of life both as a person and as a father.

From Faust A.G. Channel on [YouTube]
PANGAEA Expedition 2008-2012

Watch adventurer Mike Horn and his undaunted crew on their voyage aboard the Pangaea
★ This video can also be found on Faust A. G.’s YouTube channel. (Recommended for smartphone users)


The Pangaea is equipped with power technology by Mercedes Benz. The photo at top shows Mike Horn (left) and the Pangaea’s First Mate and Engineer, Jacek Proniewicz (right) at harbor in New York.
An expedition into snowy Swiss mountains as part of a youth project
A project that set up a water supply system in the Solomon Islands

We met up with Mike Horn in Battery Park City near the World Trade Center site, in an area surrounded with high-rise buildings facing the Hudson River. Moored in the small North Cove yacht harbor that sits right in the middle of all that is the Pangaea. The businessmen that gather on the benches around the marina probably have no idea that the compact yacht sitting there had spent over four years conquering the seven continents during the course of an important project he’s working on.
Horn, in a T-shirt, shorts, and sunburned face, looks somewhat out of place in this bustling urban environment.
“I’ve never been a city person. You can always tell when you’re close to a city by the smell,” says Horn. “The cities are full of ghosts and pollution, it all reeks of humanity,” he laughs. It would seem that Horn, who has spent his days surrounded by untouched nature, from glaciers, to jungles, to deserts, is somewhat uncomfortable in this urban environment.
This is perhaps in part what inspired Horn to begin the Pangaea Young Explorers Project (YEP), to take the youth of today, who have grown up surrounded by technology and information. No matter how much knowledge and information they have, they have a dearth of life experience. With so many parents out of the house working from early morning to late at night, there aren’t as many chances for children to learn and experience things by through doing some real work alongside their parents. Horn lamented that there isn’t enough being done for the spiritual growth and development of today’s youth just by taking them through a school curriculum.
“People in the past have always been far more connected to the earth and to nature, but now kids think see earthquakes, tsunamis, and other disasters, and they see nature as a danger, as their enemy,” explained Horn. “It isn’t nature that’s changed. It's just us that have changed.” That’s why I’m teaching them that they can live in harmony with nature, rather than fearing and shunning it.
The project teaches participants basic adventuring skills, from planning a voyage and raising a mast to methods for mountain climbing.
“How many fathers can teach that to their children these days? I mean there are plenty of fathers who will teach their kids to buy this or that car if they get rich,” Horn jokes.
Horn has now become something of a second father to thousands of young people all over the world. But his goals for the Young Explorers Project are more than just to allow young people to experience nature.
“When you get kids of different backgrounds together, once they start to understand each other’s cultures and see through to the one goal they all have, protecting the earth, they can all really come together to overcome obstacles. Couldn’t this be considered part of the process of uniting the world in peace? People have changed a lot over the last ten years. When it should be good enough to hope to have peace and happiness, without thinking too much about other things like money and status, we’ve got too many things on our wish lists. Now more than ever, it’s important to get back to basics.
Horn’s motto, both in adventuring and in life, is “simplify everything.” He explained that whatever it is, when things get big and complicated, you become unable to solve problems that come up. As if to prove his point, he continues to run his voyages with a small, sharp crew of only four. With the success of the Pangaea project being far greater than anticipated, he is beginning to consider establishing local camps in various locations around the world. He plans to continue the Pangaea project even after 2012.

The goals for the project to go forward

“For one thing, we’d like to get a bigger vessel. On a personal level, I would like to be able to do some expeditions where I can climb mountains or walk on the South Pole.”
Even after 20 years of taking on every kind of adventure challenge imaginable, Horn is still hungry for more adventure in the wildness of nature.

The project is free of charge to the young people chosen to participate
Adventures happen under the seas at least as often as they do on dry land

“At times I get a feeling like déjà vu even in places that are in fact completely new to me, but I’ll never get tired of adventuring. I can promise you that. If I were to finish with all that and spend my days not learning anything, I would consider it a meaningless existence.I’ll never stop adventuring as long as I live. Adventuring lets you feel your own life. That’s why I’m fine spending a month without food on the ice at fifty below. I know that regardless of conditions, if I am alive, there is a reason for me to live.”Listening to Horn speak of his reasons for what he does, I pictured him putting his all into his adventures, relishing the fact that he is alive as his reason to live.
While others limit their worlds to the inside of a tiny box, never venturing to unknown places or taking on new challenges, Horn takes flight into unknown worlds outside of his comfort zone. But where in the world does motivation like that come from?
Horn says that for him, it’s the support he receives from his family. Incidentally, the amount of time he is able to spend with his wife out of the year is a mere three or four days. Without an extraordinarily strong bond of trust, few marriages would be able to weather such severe conditions.
“The confidence I gain from the support of my family is the most important sustenance I have during an adventure. I’m very grateful to my wife. I’m not really perfectly suited to being a husband. Especially since I’m only around at the holidays,” he chuckles. “As a father, I have a little more confidence, though. I’ve been able to give my children the present of experiences above and beyond those that just anyone could by buying them iPads and bicycles and whatever else.”
Having actually taken his own children with him down the Amazon when they were small, and across the ice of the North Pole, Horn’s message of strengthening commitment as fathers to the education of children is pretty persuasive.
“My parents never told me I couldn’t do anything. Because they gave me so much freedom, I want to do the same for my kids. When I was a boy, I would always ask my parents all kinds of things about nature. My sister, on the other hand, would always ask questions about what it’s good or bad. And can you guess what she does now? She’s a judge! I think that really shows you how important it is to grow children’s talents from the time they’re small.”
Horn’s daughter Annika, now 20 and finished with college, has joined her loving father and the current crew on their journey. She cuts quite a figure, and though most her age would rather party with friends, she gallantly proclaims that she prefers the adventuring lifestyle. It’s obvious to look at her that Horn has been an incredible father. He narrows his eyes at his grown daughter. “It seems like she’s had some experience, but for now she’s still here in the same boat with me so I’m not too worried,” he says with a fatherly laugh.
Horn considers all of the young people from around the world who have participated in the Young Explorers Program his children as well.

“I love nature. And more than anything else, I love to go to places I’ve never been to wrestle with myself.”
Horn has got to be the coolest dad ever.
His lifelong youth makes his appear unstoppable. This man’s intrepid exultation in the glories of nature with full body and soul, in all conditions across the wide seas and to the tops of snowy mountains, surely provides inspiration for other men who would do intrepid deeds.

From the Gobi Desert to Greenland, the Pangaea carries the world’s hope for the future
Check in on Horn’s movements regularly!




Mike Horn


Mike Horn is a South-African born world adventurer. Insisting on using absolutely no motorized vehicles, Horn used only natural power to traverse the South American continent solo in 1997, and then in 2000 completed a 40,000 km journey around the globe at the equator. He followed that up by sailing solo around the Arctic Circle in 2004, and then in 2006, together with Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland, he reached the North Pole during permanent darkness (the dead of winter at the North Pole, during which time the sun never rises) without the use of any dogs or motorized vehicles. This was a historic feat for humanity. From 2008 to 2012, Horn has been engaged in the Pangaea Project, exploring the seven continents with only natural power. In addition to adventuring, Horn has also formed strong ties to the Indian cricket team as a motivator, even contributing to their Cricket World Cup win, and garnering support in a variety of fields.



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