His Bare Feet Bolster Bike Rides Across Several Continents
Kent State graduate Daniel James dreams of biking across all seven continents. It has taken him several years, but he is halfway there.
James has crossed three continents on his bike – North America, South America and Australia and he does so barefoot.
“You've got to have a dream,” said James, who set out on a bike ride through Central America after his 2022 graduation. “If any of you are considering going on a road trip, or backpacking trip, or visiting that country you always wanted to go to, do it. Don't wait, there is no perfect time to go. You will never be 100% ready. You will never have all the answers.”
Global Education at Kent State Florence
Before he graduated from Kent State, James took advantage of the education-abroad program in the Office of Global Education and traveled to Florence, Italy. Kent State has been educating students in Florence for more than 50 years.
Right after graduation, James continued his globe-trotting and set out on a bike ride through Central America. He says his ultimate goal is to eventually use the knowledge that he has attained at Kent State to teach around the world.
Caught the Travel Bug
James’ love for international travel began at 19, when he worked in Australia on a holiday visa. When he returned home, he knew he wanted to see more of the world, but he did not have the money to pay for a trip. He got creative and thought of a way to see the world on a budget.
“I had a tent, a few old backpacks, and a bike,” he said. “So, I hatched a plan to ride my bike coast-to-coast across the U.S. When I was 20 years old, I rode my bike over 5,200 miles from Maine on the East Coast, to Washington state on the West Coast. That is how it all started. During that trip, I came up with the idea to ride my bike around the world crossing all seven continents.”
Why barefoot? James biked, hiked and played sports sans shoes as a child and reinforced the habit in adulthood.
“I started doing it again as an adult in Australia and I really liked the freedom of it,” James said. “I like feeling every little thing in my feet. The wet morning grass, the slippery rocks of a stream, the warm desert sand, I just like feeling more connected to the earth.”
But his feet do take a beating from the elements during his around-the-world biking trips. “The skin has gotten very thick to the point where I can step on a scorching hot desert road and it's not too hot for me.”
James said his travels are invaluable and he encourages others to do the same.
“Don't wait, there is no perfect time to go. That is why you should take that trip you've been daydreaming about, whatever it is. You can always earn the money back again, find a new job, or get a new apartment. But you might not always be able to take the trip you wanted to do. Follow your dreams, you will not regret it.”