ROUND-THE-WORLD adventurer Jason Lewis from Askerswell who turned down a six-figure advance from a major publisher to tell his story his way is reaping the rewards.
The Seed Buried Deep, part two of his trilogy has just been published following the success of the first book The Expedition: Dark Waters, which has sold at least 18,000 copies and won some prestigious awards in the independent publishing world.
The second book – which Jason will be in Bridport promoting in April - begins when he regains consciousness beside a busy Colorado highway, lower limbs shattered by a hit-and-run driver while he was in-line skating.
Jason Lewis is the Guinness world record holder for the first person to circumnavigate the earth using only human power. His journey took 13 years, two months and 24 days.
He set four records in total on his 46,505-mile journey across five continents, two oceans, and one sea, either walking, cycling, rollerblading kayaking, rowing, swimming and pedalling a boat.
In a sense writing about his 13-odysesy has needed almost as much of his resolve as the journey itself.
Jason said: “It hasn’t an easy way to make a living, there’s no stability but the last 12 months things have started to pay off as far as sticking to my guns and writing the story the way I wanted.
“I honestly didn’t know if I could write the thing and I had some serious dark moments thinking, did I do the right thing?
“But I had put too much of my life into this and I had to do it right.”
To supplement his income he’s also been doing a campaign with Johnny Walker whisky to promote its Blue Label brand.
He said: “The campaign was called ‘Celebrating a journey shared’.
“They wanted to associate their product with longevity – with someone who just keeps ‘walking’, literally to keep on in whatever form that might take.
“I did have a bottle on the boat when I was crossing the Pacific I chucked it in the sleeping bit and thought ‘I am not going to need this’ but then I got stuck in the doldrums for two and a half weeks pedalling on the spot and I was thinking of things I could look forward to every day – little psychological carrots – the next cup of tea in three hours, the next hot meal and then every day I would have a little nip of whisky before my dinner.”
For the future he is planning to take mini expeditions with groups of school children in Colorado.
He said: “They will be tied into who the weather is changing, trying to get people to understand how that is connected to our daily lifestyle choices which is something I have been banging on about for two decades “It’s the same message to the next group of decision makers and I think it is still valid, now more than ever.”
JULY 1994: The journey begins from Greenwich pedalling across the Channel.
From France to Portugal then across 4300-mile crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Miami then Florida.
June 1995: Jason in-line skates overland across the US bound for San Francisco.
September 1995: Jason run over by a car breaking his legs. Nine month recovery.
April 1996: 1700 mile bike ride to Colorado.
June 1996: finishes cross country skating to San Francisco.
Feb to June 1997: bike California Highway to San Diego, through Baja, Mexico, before crossing the Sea of Cortez to mainland Mexico by kayaks.
Through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Sept to Nov 1998: San Francisco to Hawaii.
May to July 1999: Kailua-Kona to Tarawa 2,200 miles to the southwest with added septicemia April 2000: Tarawa to the Solomon Islands 1,100 miles.
July to August 2000: Tulagi to pedal the remaining 1,100 miles to Australia.
July to Oct 2001: Cycling 3,000 miles through the Australian Outback.
April 2005: kayaking from Lizard Island to mainland Australia to keep the human powered circumnavigation thread unbroken – kayak is attacked by a 17-foot saltwater crocodile.
May 2005: pedal Moksha 450 nautical miles across the Arafura Sea from Darwin to Dili on the island of East Timor.
June to Nov 2005: 3,000 nautical mile island hopping by kayak and bicycle up the Indonesian chain of islands to Singapore. Jason is attacked by bandits.
May to Nov 2006: bikes through Malaysia into Thailand. Across the Himalayas into Nepal through India to Mumbai - 10,000kms journey.
Feb 2007: Mumbai and pedal 2,000 miles across the Arabian Sea to Djibouti.
March to July 2007: Ethiopia to Sudan, paddle a canoe or kayak across Lake Nasser to Egypt, then bike through Jordan, Syria to Istanbul.
Oct 2007: Oostend to England and the end of a 46,505 mile journey.
Jason Lewis has been a contributing author to such books as Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul (HarperCollins, 2002), Flightless - Incredible Journeys Without Leaving the Ground (Lonely Planet,2008), and The Modern Explorers (Thames & Hudson, 2013). A Fellow of London University, the Royal Geographical Society and The Explorers Club, he also writes frequently for travel magazines (Men’s Fitness, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Geographical).