From Alaska to Mexico, paddling with your arms on a canoe

They went from Alaska to Mexico paying with their arms on a canoe, a crazy adventure. The protagonists of the adventure are the American twins, Casey and Ryan Higginbotham, who in 7 months have been grinding their arms in the Pacific Ocean for more than 3500 kilometers up to Cabo San Lucas. Theirs is an exemplary adventure: they left for fun, without sponsors, without money, just with the idea of giving up the things they know, of struggling and leaving everything behind. Now you’re working on a film about them.

From Alaska to Mexico with the strength of your arms

In an era of explorations sponsored by big brands (also because they were expensive), the American twins left alone without sponsors, without supporters of their enterprise. It all started in March 2015, in front of a couple of beers in their town of Pismo Beach, California. And from the idea of leaving to “forget all the bullshit”, as they explain in an interview with Outside.

So a year later, Ryan and Casey, then 23, decided to set sail from Ketchikan, Alaska and travel the entire stretch of the Pacific Ocean to Mexico. With life canoes in use by lifeguards on the US beaches (the two of them were beach attendants).

By Hand, the film about Ryan and Casey’s adventure

The Higginbothams were never rowing or canoe athletes, but Casey had run an Ironman. They decided to try it out and sold an old boat given to them by their grandmother in 1994 to finance themselves. They bought two boats and equipped them with rescue kits, satellite telephone, tent and sleeping bag and a 12-gauge rifle (for bears).

Ryan and Casey struggled over 3540 kilometres of sea. The great thing is that they had never done such things before.

Now, with the images taken in the 7 months, a film is being made, entitled By Hand, which also uses footage posted on Instagram by the guys. The trailer:

An adventure like Chris McCandless’s in Into the wild

Alaska, the desire to give up everything and leave, wild nature: their story has some traits in common with those of Chris McCandless told by Jon Krakauer in Into the wild, and then in the homonymous film directed by Sean Penn, which we have talked about many times.

But theirs is a happy ending, with the handshake of the border guards in San Diego complimenting the adventure. And then the decision to continue to Cabo San Lucas, at the bottom of Lower California, Mexico.

At the end, back home, a lot of nostalgia: “When you’re out there, you have a lot of time to think, and you build a narrative of what life will be like when you come back: what you’ll do, expectations about your personal relationships, if you’ll feel different,” explained Ryan to Outside, “Then once you really come back, this narrative never becomes reality.

And you get the urge to start over again.

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