Biker and author visits The Bookworm of Edwards to share epic journey from Alaska to Argentina
- What: Joy Ride with Kristen Jokinen
- When: Thursday, September 14, 6 p.m.
- Where: The Bookworm of Edwards (295 Main Street C101, Edwards, CO 81632)
- Cost: $10
- More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormofEdwards.com/events
The Eagle Valley is no stranger to bikers and adventures, however not many can say they’ve biked 18,000 miles from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Bahia Lapataia, Argentina; Kristen Jokinen and her partner can. Jokinen wrote a book about their unbelievable trip and will be at the Bookworm to share her story, show a short video, and have time for Q&A.
Jokinen and her partner, Ville, seem to be drawn to these kinds of extreme adventures because they help them feel alive. “We chose to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail and bike from Alaska to Argentina because we are so fortunate to be able to do these incredible adventures,” Jokinen said. “We wanted to live, really live, to travel the road less traveled, to see parts of the world not yet seen, and to live our lives to the fullest. We travel through many places along our journeys where we meet people with far less than we have, and that makes us grateful for what we do have.”
As the pair travels the world, they use these experiences as a form of personal growth. “Discomfort is a catalyst for change and growth,” Jokinen said. “Ville and I get complacent easily and know when it’s time to dive into something new. We thrive when we pick an adventure we have limited to no experience with, gather the basics to get started and dive in without a plan. Most people will spend their lives waiting to live their dreams, or spend so much time planning that they never get started. We know life doesn’t go according to plan, so we believe in planning less and diving in!”
They definitely dove into this biking trip as neither were cyclists when they chose to ride from the top of the world to the bottom. “This was Ville’s first bike in ten years,” Jokinen recalled. “He wanted to ride through South America and I wanted to see Alaska which was why we chose our route. I had no idea that Prudhoe Bay, Alaska was so far north there were polar bears, nor that the weather was so hostile we would battle snow, wind, rain, and muddy roads. Because we were not avid cyclists before we started, the learning curve was drastic and the beginning was one of the greatest challenges we faced on the entire journey.”
Despite the many challenges they faced, the most memorable parts of the trip were when they were met with incredible kindness. “Ville and I are travelers that love meeting and connecting with people,” Jokinen said. “We make an effort to speak the local languages, which opens so many more doors for connection. We were continually met with kindness, which connects us to our shared humanity. We were welcomed into houses, fed, and taken to quinceañeras, first birthday parties and lucha libre. People had potlucks for us, introduced us to their villages, and we attended masses. When I got sick while in Mexico, staying with friends of friends, they made me special foods, took me to a doctor on their day off and were even sad when we left.”
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Jokinen hopes that in sharing her story, she can share the kindness and the lessons that she learned during this remarkable trip with others. “We believe that for all the kindness that has been shown to us and positive things that have happened to continue, they must be shared,” Jokinen said. “We owe it to the people that have done so much for us. Also, humans need to see the potential to know anything is possible. I wish someone had come to my high school and shown me all these things were possible, so I, in turn, want to show it to others. I hope we inspire others to walk the path that is true to themselves. Especially in an era of cell phones, internet and social media, we want to inspire kids to get outside and get active, to see the world and make friends that are different than they are. In a time that feels so divided, we need to remember, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.'”