Sporty and passionate about nature since his early childhood, Thomas Destailleur, native from northern France and expatriate to Canada, wants to reconcile mankind with the planet through eco-friendly exploratory travels.
His adventure, called Open Your Wild, starts this summer in his adopted country, which he will cross from North to South by bike and kayak.
We met him to learn more about this epic adventure.
Hi Thomas, what kind of traveler are you?
When I travel, I need to be close to nature and surpass myself through sports at the same time.
It has led me to the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or the Mongolian steppes on horseback or more recently to the GR20 trails in Corsica.
I am the kind of person who runs away from touristy places and is more attracted to off the beaten track destinations and always on the lookout for discoveries and encounters.
How did the Open Your Wild project emerge?
My concern for the environment is not new. I grew up with values of respect for nature and stars in my eyes following the adventures of explorers like Cousteau or Nicolas Hulot.
Through my travels, I have had the chance to discover beautiful places on our planet, but I have also seen how much it can sometimes suffer.
They brought me to awareness and questioning. Especially about the way I travel.
Deep down, I have always had the will to get more involved without ever really daring to launch myself or know how to make it happen.
The current climatic emergency was the tipping point. Open Your Wild came from the observation that man has lost the proximity he had with his environment.
I’m planning on filming a documentary throughout the project. I want to highlight natural spaces in danger or those that are still preserved. I want to give a voice to those who are already impacted by the consequences of climate change and to those who are acting to find solutions.
Practically, what is Open Your Wild?
It is a sports and eco-friendly exploration of the world.
I’ll be doing several itineraries across preserved or degraded natural spaces in full autonomy.
The objective is to travel with as little impact as possible :
- I’ll be using clean travel modes: cycling, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding…
- My equipment will be sustainable, upcycled, or second-hand.
- I will pay the same attention to ways of consuming and living throughout the journey.
Everything will be shared live on social networks, but the ultimate goal is the film I will make that I mentioned earlier.
Tell us more about the first step in Canada
I called this itinerary Canada Across Water: it’s a 3,700 km journey from South to North, by bike and kayak.
I give myself 2 and a half months to achieve the itinerary.
I have always been attracted to the great outdoors, the nature and the variety of wildlife here in Canada.
I now live here in Toronto with my partner. So it was obvious for me to start the adventure here.
Can you detail the itinerary for us?
The departure date is July 3, 2019.
It will take me about three days to connect Jasper, Alberta by train to the Athabasca Glacier, which will be my starting point.
I’m going to follow the waters of the glacier to the Arctic Ocean.
First by bike, over 1000 km along the river to Fort McMurray.
There, I’ll trade my bike for a kayak to do the last 2700 km.
I will follow the Athabasca River then the Slave River to the village of Hay River, in the province of the Northwest Territories.
I will then go down the Mackenzie River, Canada’s longest river, to the Arctic Ocean and the village of Tuktoyaktuk, where my journey will end.
Beyond the adventure, what is your message?
My ambition is to raise awareness, challenge, and empower people about ecology and the environmental crisis.
In addition to making a documentary, what I want to do through “Open Your Wild” is to share advice, convey solutions, and promote responsible and sustainable ways of traveling, living, and consuming.
Holiable will follow Thomas throughout his first adventure and give you news.