“February 16th up to the Arctic. 17th packing gear, 18th on the ice until let’s say until the 23rd, and arrive in Pangnirtung,” he rattles off, glancing up into space from his imaginary map to make a quick calculation. “On the 29th we arrive in Santiago, Chille, and head North. We leave from Peru and start riding through the Atacoma Desert and finish in Copiapo, right where the miners were, that’s where we finish.”
It only takes a moment, and a few casual swipes of his finger, to describe the most dizzying and insurmountable challenges you can imagine.
Translation: Ray and two partners, over the course of a few weeks, will cover more than 1,500 kilometers of the most hostile terrain known to man. Going from -50C to +50C, and completely unsupported, these adventurers, by foot and by bike, end their journey near the site where 33 miners famously survived 69 days underground after the earth caved in.
The odyssey has begun and you can watch his progress here: http://impossible2possible.com/arctic2atacama/home
For Ray Zahab, the adventurer, the philanthropist, the educator, this expedition is just another step in his lifelong mission to prove that anything is possible. This former pack-a-day smoker has swiftly become one of the world’s foremost explorers, and a visionary for childhood education and empowerment.
Peter Nicholson, the President of WCPD Inc. and GIV Bahamas Inc., recently met Ray 30,000 feet in the air, on a plane. By the time the wheels touched the runway, Nicholson, who is also the founder of the WCPD Foundation, decided to sponsor him on his upcoming journey.
“Ray is one in a billion and we’re proud to support his endeavors,” said Nicholson. “Between Exuma and North America, we also have some extreme temperature differences, from say -30C to +30C. That’s what made me think, maybe we can support his cause while also doing some good for the children in Exuma.”
Ray is the founder of Impossible to Possible, otherwise known as i2P, a charitable organization that uses adventure as a means of education and inspiration.
The charity visits some of the most remote schools in the world. It allows students back home to monitor their progress and experiences online. And most importantly, i2P offers, free of charge, Youth Expeditions so young people can push their physical and mental boundaries and achieve the “impossible”, whether it be venturing across deserts or navigating through jungles.
i2P has achieved 10 of these Youth Expeditions to date, and GIV Bahamas Inc. is proud to serve as a sponsor for the latest Arctic to Atacama expedition.
“So how many kilometers will you cover in total in the arctic?” Nicholson asked, sitting across from Ray at the boardroom table.
“250km. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a huge amount in the Arctic,” Ray said. “And then we run 1,200km across the Atacoma, which I’ve done once before. I had to wear long sleeves, gloves. I am dark skinned but I burnt to a crisp because there is no UV protection.”
He makes it look so easy, but even Superman has his kryptonite.
GIV Bahamas is joined by other primary sponsors: Canada Goose, Rubies (Disney affiliation), First Air, Manitoba Harvest, Felt and Air Canada.