‘America Extrema’ journey brings French traveler to Nome
A Frenchman from the region of Burgundy, France has walked, biked and kayaked his way to Nome, and not by accident. Florian Gomet is on a journey from the easternmost point of North America, Labrador, Canada, to the westernmost point, Wales, Alaska.
As Gomet continues on what he is calling America Extrema, he must rely on strangers’ hospitality or else camp out in a tent by himself. Gomet says he prefers interacting with people in each place he visits, otherwise his mental and physical health suffer.
“If I leave a town without speaking with people, I am sad and I am not very strong to keep going,” said Gomet.
In Nome, Gomet has met many people, including local Harvey Miller who opened his home to the weary traveler. Gomet was asking for water and happened upon Miller on the road, or, rather, Miller happened upon him, and so it began.
Miller finds the nature of Gomet’s journey remarkable, especially since Gomet has no guns or safety equipment to protect him from the wild animals he may encounter. Gomet says he travels like this because he trusts in nature, he trusts in “life.”
“I understood as I was on this trip the most important thing in life is to trust in the life, that’s why I don’t carry a gun and I don’t carry a filter for the water,” Gomet remarked.
America Extrema was envisioned to take a year and a half. Gomet started about 14 months ago, and it looks like he will finish on schedule, since he cut his “hibernation” period short. Rather than waiting out the winter before re-continuing his journey, Gomet started traveling again in March and arrived at the Rocky Mountains in Canada in the midst of winter weather conditions.
Traversing the Rockies was one of the most difficult challenges Gomet says he has faced thus far; he admitted that he almost died in the mountains.
In order to maintain his motivation through those difficult times, Gomet delved into his books, but it was one specific book that got him out of the Rocky Mountains. Gomet said it was Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield that would cause him to think to himself, “tonight, you will have your book, your food, your good stove, and it will be fine.”
Gomet left Nome Friday, July 15 on two wheels, headed for Teller and then his final destination of Wales. After his America Extrema is finished, Gomet will return to the Nome airport for a flight back to his home in Bourgogne, France.
He has already started to plan his next trip to Tibet, which he will pack even less for. It’s a trip that he says will make America Extrema seem like a holiday.
“(I will travel) without anything, without shoes, without paper, and without a backpack, and stay one year in a cave in Tibet to meditate,” said Gomet.
In about a week, Gomet will be leaving the North American continent to immediately begin his five-year preparation of body and soul before he journeys to Tibet.
This story originates from KNOM Radio Mission and was published with permission.
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